A year ago, it was “suggested” that my institution should be a host site for the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP). I was new to my position and knew nothing of WRP but not being one to back down from a challenge, I cheerfully accepted. It wasn’t long into my investigation that I realized that I absolutely could not make this program successful without some creativity and collaboration. I had to forge some new relationships and fast.
What is the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)?
WRP is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities. WRP defines eligibility as an individual with an intellectual disability, a severe physical disability, or a psychiatric disability.
Through this program, a student will self-identify their eligibility by signing up for an account on the WRP website. Campus coordinators, like myself, approve student accounts and then assist students in developing their resume and documenting their skills. A federal recruiter then interviews students to document their skills and desired career path. This information goes into a database which is then available to participating employers desiring to hire candidates with disabilities. The program offers both internship and job opportunities.
Identifying Eligible Students and Recent Alumni
The challenge of WRP came in identifying participants who were eligible for the program. Aside from your typical banner array around campus, we needed to find a way to actively and discreetly provide information to students about WRP. Because legally I could not (and did not want to) gain access to a roster of students who have a disability, I quickly forged a partnership with both our “Access and Accommodations” and our “Counseling and Psychological Services” offices.
My office created posters and flyers that could be shared with students when interacting with these partner offices. I encouraged staff in each office to provide information to the student’s registered/seeking services and asked that they provide my contact information to any student who wanted further information. We also used electronic platforms, like listservs and job boards, to promote the program during the student registration period.
Reflections 1 Year Later
As we begin another year, I have reflected on accomplishments and needed improvements to make WRP successful on our campus. This year we will be providing scripted emails to our partner offices so they can email students directly. Our goal is to make the partnership seamless and to make this program accessible and well-known for all who qualify.
The WRP staff makes implementing this program a breeze. I highly suggest that every institution consider if this program is right for your campus. If even one students benefits from your work with WRP, then you have been successful!
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Servicesfrom ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Paige Erhart at firstname.lastname@example.org.