Job fair connects students with disabilities to top Lima employers

May 3—LIMA — Recruiters from top Lima employers talked with students at Lima Senior High School Wednesday about careers available for students with disabilities.

The career fair, hosted by the high school and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, drew about 70 juniors and seniors enrolled in specialized education plans or IEPs, who met with recruiters from Procter & Gamble, Crown Equipment, The Ohio State University-Lima, Lima Memorial Health System and Mercy Health-St. Rita's Medical Center.

There, students learned about in-demand jobs available locally and the dos and don'ts of a job interview.

"You can't slouch or listen to music," said Preston Williams, a junior enrolled in the high school's agriculture program who attended Wednesday's job fair. "You have to dress appropriately."

Williams, who likes working outdoors and working with heavy machinery, took keen interest in job offerings from Procter & Gamble and Crown Equipment where he could "rebuild equipment or run forklift."

Bianca Pierce, a senior at Lima Senior High School, was looking for a job where she can organize or socialize. She found a few possibilities after talking to recruiters from Procter & Gamble, Mercy Health and Lima Memorial.

"I love talking to people," Pierce said.

Recruiters promoted job openings and shared tips on the hiring process directly with students who will soon be graduating. "We are really working on diversity and inclusion, and that includes people with disabilities," said Bev Schweller, a registered nurse for Procter & Gamble who spoke with students Wednesday.

Wednesday's job fair was hosted in conjunction with in-demand jobs week, an initiative from Lt. Gov. Jon Husted's workforce transformation office introducing students to career pathways that lead to in-demand jobs — this time with an emphasis on students with disabilities.

"Our goal is to make that connection between employers and the students and help them find what's next after graduation," said Jacob Karnes, a business relations specialist for Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities.

The state office works with adults and students as young as 14 years old, connecting them with counselors who can help find employment, assist with disability determinations and other needs.