Bridges From School to Work — Philly Brings You Interview Tips for Teens with Disabilities

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During the summer, I had the great opportunity to visit the Marriott Bridges From School to Work location in Philadelphia and meet with the enthusiastic and bright staff there. Bridges from School to Work engages employers, schools, community resources, youth, and their families to help businesses meet their workforce needs while offering young people with disabilities the opportunity to learn, grow and succeed through employment. I believe Bridges does an amazing job preparing youth for employment and creating partnerships with employers. The organization’s success rate is top notch because the staff really investigate the keys to their success. Nationally, the organization believes in finding staff who are energetic and make things happen.

My visit to the Philadelphia location reinforced my feeling that Bridges is walking the walk. You could hear how much the staff cared about the work that they do. I asked them a lot of questions about the different roles within the organization and what their day-to-day work includes. The staff is motivated to identify the right participants, maintain their contacts in schools and with employers, build relationships, assess the needs of the youth, and coach the youth on what is necessary to succeed in employment. As the needs of the youth are different, the staff has to be prepared to address individual needs. They work to keep the youth engaged and on task toward the goal of employment.

The enthusiastic and ambitious staff of the Philadelphia office took the time to write a poem filled with useful employment advice for youth with disabilities. Read, absorb, and reflect on the messages provided by their team.

Interview Tips for Teens with Disabilities

An Acrostic Poem from Bridges Philly

B: Be yourself! An interview is a conversation, relax, and stay true to who you are.

R: Radiate energy: A positive attitude shows an employer you will be a pleasure to work with.

I: Impress! Arrive early on interview day.

D: Dress professionally.

G: Give a firm handshake and greet with a smile.

E: Express your experience and skills; share specific examples.

S: Show confidence and communicate clearly.

P: Picture yourself as the hiring manager. What qualities would YOU look for?

H: Have several copies of your resumé and references handy.

I: Inspire trust. Answer questions thoughtfully and truthfully.

L: Learn all you can about the company before the interview.

L: Listen carefully and ask questions.

Y: You want this! Tell the interviewer how much!

You can visit the Bridges From School to Work page to find out more details or visit the page on AFB CareerConnect about the organization.

Share your employment tips for youth with disabilities with us in the comment section.