UofM Job Fair Hosts Hundreds of Mid-South High Schoolers with Disabilities

UMID Transition Fair

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis Institute on Disability (UMID) hosted nearly four-hundred Mid-South High Schoolers for a job fair on Thursday. These students all have intellectual and/or physical disabilities, and the hope from the fair was to highlight the opportunities that could be waiting for them after graduation.

“Transition is complicated,” said UMID Director Chrisann Schiro-Geist, PhD. “What we’re doing with this transition fair is providing resources so that our young adults… have an extra boost in their decision-making, and it can only be made on a person-to-person basis.”

Forty-six vendors from across Memphis and the State of Tennessee set up shop at the Maxine A. Smith University Center, many giving in-depth presentations about how these students could find a place in their workforce. UMID’s two programs, Tigers Learning Independence Fostering Education and Employment Program and the College Campus Transition Program, which is a partnership through Memphis Shelby County Schools, have collectively instructed hundreds of disabled students and boast high rates of employment for program graduates, 71% for UMID and 81% for CCTP.

UMID TigerLIFE Students

“We’re just a small part of (transition),” Schiro-Geist added. “Not everyone is going to go to school. The most obvious thing is for them to get a job, and that’s why we’ve brought these vendors and employers. (Students with disabilities) have a right to have the same information and accessibility as everybody else.”

This was the first time since 2019 UMID has hosted a job fair of this kind, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the years, Schiro-Geist said vendors and school partners alike were itching to come back to campus. She said their numbers, students and vendors doubled this year compared to 2019, and she feels confident those numbers will continue to grow in the years to come.