Campus Career Connect (C3) was created with the intent to aid transitioning young adults with disabilities from school to work and connect them to mentors within their desired career field. By promoting job readiness, inclusion, and advocacy trainings and advice, C3 mentors help make the transition from school to employment positive and socially impactful. Mentoring on C3 can be found through the platform’s use of online events, local job listings, networking, resume building, soft and hard skill coaching, and an interactive forum space for questions and advice.
One year ago with funding from Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) announced that it would partner with UMass Medical School’s Work Without Limits initiative to launch a new online group mentoring program to support community college students with disabilities with the goal of improving employment outcomes. Additional funding from The Milbank Foundation enabled PYD to expand beyond community college students in Massachusetts to include students with disabilities in any type of higher education institution across the nation.
Designed to be user-friendly and accommodating to any specific needs a mentee or mentor may have, C3’s aim is to bring group mentoring to a national level for those looking for a more remote and flexible presence. C3 members participate in monthly webinars geared toward discussing pertinent employment-related topics such as financial literacy, resume building, and interview skills. Users also have access to disability-friendly employers through a partnership with Work Without Limit’s job board, and can seek advice and support from one another through private messages or group discussions.
Mentors come from companies such as:
Carroll Center for the Blind;
Clifton Larson Allen;
Department of Children and Families;
EPI-USE America, Inc;
Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston;
Maine State Chamber of Commerce;
MA Commission for the Blind;
Metrowest Regional Transit Authority;
National Ability Center;
National Organization on Disability;
Our Space Our Place;
Partners for Youth with Disabilities;
UMass Medical School;
US Department of Transportation;
Work Without Limits
“C3 organizes additional information and provides a way to connect through the internet and also allows for communication beyond the in person meetings. The accessibility is great.” (Massachusetts Commission for the Blind; mentor)
How It Came To Be
C3 was designed to address the root causes in the current statistics showing that people with disabilities continue to face large barriers to schooling and employment, especially during the college to career transition.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that:
- In 2016 the unemployment rate among people with disabilities was 10.6%; more than double than people with disabilities at 4.6%
- 70% of 25 to 64-year old adults with disabilities are not participating in the labor force (not actively seeking or have been denied access to search for careers)
- Students with disabilities are just as likely as their peers without disabilities to attend post-secondary classes, but they are significantly less likely to receive a degree
- Students with disabilities that graduate with a post-secondary degree are two to four times less likely than their comparable peers without disabilities to find a job
- If they do find a job, according to the American Institutes for Research, people with disabilities on average receive 37% less pay than their co-workers without disabilities—and that pay gap only gets larger the more higher education they have!
These disparities are huge and need to be addressed now. C3 was designed to specifically bring support to college students with disabilities that are seeking employment.
Back in October 2017, we heard from our users that C3 has helped shaped their confidence in finding employment. Our C3 mentoring staff was excited to share the success story of one of our mentees. Based on the tools and resources shared through the C3 along with their one-on-one career mentor, one mentee reported that they were more confident and ready for the job market. The mentee recently applied and was hired for a full-time position working in human services, their field of interest. They have credited the C3 network with equipping them with the skills and support to pursue their passion.
What Users Are Saying
“I like being able to connect with other volunteer mentors on C3 and read their profiles/stories. They’re very inspiring and motivating.” (mentee; University of California, Berkley)
“I’ve enjoyed the relationship I’ve built with a mentor and the communication part that was crucial to build the relationship.” (mentee; University of California, Berkley)