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Hawaii Celebrates Disability Employment Awareness Month with Reverse Job Fair

Hawaii hosted its second annual Reverse Job Fair in conjunction with the National Disability Employment Awareness MonthTHE RIGHT TALENT, RIGHT NOW event started with an employer event featuring First Lady of Hawaii Dawn Ige and Lt. Governor Josh Green as guest speakers as well as employers’ testimonial on disability hiring. It was then followed by the Reverse Job Fair. The Reverse Job Fair was attended by over 90 employers and 75 job candidates with disabilities. The Right Talent, Right Now is the theme of the 2019 National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

At the Reverse Job Fair, the employers came to the candidates. A Reverse Job Fair is a divergence from the regular job fair. At a regular job fair, employers display information about their companies, and job candidates approach employers to drop off their resume and perhaps answer a few questions. A Reverse Job Fair approach offers a different perspective where the spotlight is on the job candidates with disabilities. Job candidates set up tables with display poster board to highlight their education, skills, abilities, accomplishments and other things.

Employers attending the Reverse Job Fair walked around to meet the job candidates and spend time with candidates to understand the type of talent these candidates have to offer.

Employers from both the private and public sectors were present at the event. Before the Job Fair on a panel, Hard Rock Cafe, Executive Office of Aging, Department of Transportation, and Y. Hata & Co. sent HR representatives to share their experiences and stories on successful disability hiring at their organizations. In total, the event aimed to change employers’ perspectives when it comes to hiring people with disabilities and stimulate changes in attitudes and hiring practices toward youth with disabilities.

The event was organized by Employment First Hawaii and Disability:IN Hawaii. Employment First Hawaii is a consortium of state agencies that promotes employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Disability:IN Hawaii is a business-to-business organization created by business leaders to share best practices in hiring, retaining and marketing to people with disabilities. This event exemplifies the unique partnership and collaboration between the public and private sectors. The experience the event provided to employers, students, teachers, counselors, and legislators with a very positive collective experience that resulted in jobs for young people with disabilities. The event was covered on all the major TV news outlets in Hawaii.

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