Ryan’s Story: A Profile of Achievement
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Ryan’s Story: A Profile of Achievement

The following is a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the program’s website.

By Kati Strong, Career Development Instructor

Ryan - Profile of AchievementI would like to introduce you to Ryan Rucci. Ryan has been a student at CLE Austin since August of 2009, when he first began his post-secondary education at Austin Community College. This December, Ryan expects to graduate from Texas State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management with a focus in Human Resources. As he prepares to search for his first full-time job in Human Resources, Ryan reflects back on some of his past employment experiences and the goals that he has for himself in the future.

Ryan is a success story. When he first came to CLE Austin, he took classes at Austin Community College but his ultimate goal was to transfer to a four year university. In fact, he was so focused on the end goal of a bachelor’s degree, he didn’t even realize he had earned an Associate’s Degree along the way until he received the degree in his mailbox! “I called David [Ryan’s tutor and student advisor] and told him that I just got a degree in the mail!”

Ryan’s work ethic and focus is reflected in his work experience as well.

When he was still in high school, he got hired for his first job as a “cart pusher” at Target at the beginning of the summer after his junior year. By the end of that same summer, Ryan had been cross-trained in other departments and was able to transfer from his parking lot position into a cashier position in the store. Ryan demonstrated within three months of being hired for his first job that he was capable, reliable, and responsible enough to be depended on in a money-handling position. If that is not enough, Ryan has worked a weekly volunteer job throughout his time in college as a way to contribute to his community and continue developing work experience. It is this solid work ethic and commitment to success that will continue to serve Ryan well as he takes his next steps down his career path.

As a student in the field of Human Resources, Ryan provides unique insight into topics being discussed in his Career Development “Jobs” group at CLE Austin. His educational background allows him to share information with other group members from the perspective of the hiring managers who will be considering them for positions. When asked about what advice he might give to CLE students who are about to begin their first job, Ryan says, “I would be up front and clear about things you are able to do and expect to do. I would remember that they hired you because they thought that you were the best fit for the job… being confident in yourself and your skills can go a long way.”

Ryan is currently working as a Human Resource intern at Emmis Communications, a diversified communications and media company. As he learns some of the concrete ‘hard’ skills related to his profession, like payroll processes, interviewing, and promotions, Ryan has also had the opportunity to develop some of the more difficult-to-define ‘soft’ skills that are so valuable in the workplace. He says that he has become more comfortable with talking to his supervisor about things, like asking for more hours to meet his university program requirements or requesting a day off. Additionally, he adds, “working in an actual office has helped by giving me confidence.”

Ryan is already working with his career development instructor at CLE Austin to prepare to apply for full-time jobs soon. When he graduates in December, he plans to move back to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and has a goal of beginning his first full-time job in Human Resources.

Although October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we do not view Ryan as an employee with a disability. Ryan’s history and accomplishments so far demand an expectation of continued success. We expect and anticipate that he will earn his next employment opportunity after graduation, and that all of the knowledge he has earned through his academic achievements, with the support of the CLE program, have empowered him to advocate for his own success as he progresses into the future. Ryan is an employee with many varied abilities, and there is no doubt that he will continue to embody success as he makes the best use of those abilities in his chosen profession.

Newsletter Articles – October 2014

career development services

You may remember in the July Newsletter, Celebrating Great Outcomes, we released our 2013-2014 student academic accomplishments. We have been overwhelmed by the response from our readers celebrating these remarkable successes with us. Thank you for taking the time to pass along your kudos!

Albert Einstein

October is National Disability Employment Month which aims to increase our awareness of individuals with disabilities in the workforce. Obtaining and keeping a job is tough for most of society and can be even more challenging for someone with a disability.

Put your disability awareness knowledge to the test. How much do you know about reasonable accommodations, celebrities with disabilities, and a variety of other disability factoids?

letter to employer

As of 2012, “Autism Speaks has found that 9 out of 10” individuals with autism “are either are unemployed or underemployed, regardless of their IQ or education level (Autism Speaks, 2014). There are a lot of different reasons for this very concerning phenomenon. As an individual with autism searching for work, I feel that one reason could be due to what I call “soft discrimination.” I worry that when I disclose my diagnosis to a potential employer, I become a liability or a less attractive candidate. I also feel that, as a person with autism, I take pains to understand where my employer is coming from relative to me. Below I have written an “open letter” to employers to share my perspective and perhaps aid in better understanding each other.

volunteering

There are many benefits when it comes to volunteering that extend well beyond the altruistic nature of the act. College Living Experience (CLE) believes in paying it forward, encouraging all of its participants to get plugged into their communities. Here are five global benefits of volunteering that make the experience meaningful not only for the individual, but also for the community that they call home.

Job accommodations - Bobby working at the science museum

If you choose to disclose your disability in the workplace, there are no requirements about how much you share or whom you share this information with. Don’t be overwhelmed by all staff knowing your personal information, think of this as a decision that can be made on a “need to know” basis. One of the largest benefits of disclosure is giving you, the employee, a chance to have an honest discussion surrounding what will make you the most successful on the job. An individual in the Human Resources department can frequently be of best assistance in helping you to communicate with your direct supervisor.

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