Job Fair Introduces Students with Disabilities to Federal Agencies

  • Surtee stands in center wearing professional clothes and carrying portfolio, booths in background.

    CSUN student Shahina Surtee poses with her portfolio before meeting with representatives at the Federal Employment Fair on April 6. Photo by Alex Ramirez Canales

  • Several booths with representatives from federal agencies speaking with student in the Grand Salon at CSUN.

    Twelve federal agencies recruited students with disabilities at the Federal Employment Fair. Photo by Alex Ramirez Canales

  • Barlow shakes hand of male NASA rep, female NASA rep smiles in background.

    CSUN student Camerron Barlow meets with representatives from NASA. Photo by Alex Ramirez Canales

  • Man stands hidden by lighting equipment as female photographer takes his picture, another woman looks on.

    Attendees had the opportunity to have a professional photo taken for their LinkedIn profile at the Federal Employment Fair. Photo by Alex Ramirez Canales

  • Man and women stopped at booths for the FAA and NavAir.

    Attendees speak with representatives from the agencies to learn more about available career opportunities at the Federal Employment Fair. Photo by Alex Ramirez Canales

California State University, Northridge students with disabilities met with top federal agencies at the Federal Employment Fair on April 6.

The job fair, which is the only one in Southern California solely for students with disabilities, gave attendees the chance to have their resume critiqued, take part in mock interviews and learn the importance of sending thank-you cards — before applying these skills with the federal representatives on hand. Students also had the opportunity to have their photo taken by CSUN photography students, for use on their LinkedIn profile.

The FBI, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Secret Service were some of the agencies that visited CSUN to meet with potential applicants.

In 2010, President Obama mandated that as the largest employer in the nation, the federal government must be a leader in employment for people with disabilities. As a result, many agencies are actively recruiting employees with disabilities.

The employment fair at CSUN is coordinated by the Workability IV (WAIV) program, which helps place students with disabilities in internships and prepare them for jobs. The WAIV program is dedicated to decreasing the unemployment rate of graduates with disabilities, which currently hovers around 72 percent.

Now in its sixth year, the fair has helped land jobs for several students with agencies such as NASA and the Department of Veterans Affairs.