Posted by Cathy Bisaillon on Jan 31, 2019
What do Rotarians do when faced with two challenges?  We combine them to achieve outcomes, of course! Nationally and locally, we face a labor shortage in practically every field. At the same time, unemployment for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities is at an all-time high.
 
On January 31, District 5030’s Partners for Work program was introduced to the Silverdale Rotary Club in the style of a hands-on project. Seven job seekers from Kitsap County who have disabilities joined our meeting for the opportunity to meet Rotarian business people and benefit from a half-hour mock interview.
 
Pictured: mock interview
 
“The buzz in the room was exhilarating,” stated Cathy Bisaillon, Silverdale Rotarian and CEO of Easterseals Washington. “I am not sure who enjoyed this experience more, the job seekers or my fellow Rotarians.”
 
At the conclusion of the mock interview, each table’s spokesperson introduced a job seeker to everyone in the room with the goal of matching the candidates with potential employers. These job seekers are not short on talent, experience or personality – they just need a chance.
 
Pictured: on right Rotarian John Oliver introduces the job seeker from his table
 
“I have a strong resume, but I haven’t worked in a year and a half,” implored Jennifer when she was offered the microphone. “I want to work, I really do.” Rotarians and guests agreed that the session opened their eyes to the challenges that people with developmental disabilities face. They commented that these are their neighbors, their fellow community members. They need to reap the benefits and challenges of having paid employment just like we all do.
 
Pictured: mock interview
 
The program was a resounding success thanks to the many disability employment agencies in the room and Issaquah Rotarian, Debbie Moore, who works for WISE https://www.gowise.org/, an agency that provides assistance to businesses and organizations to promote supported employment.