In a bumpy year with many struggles and many setbacks, TheCIL’s college-to-career program, Accelerate, has been an overwhelming success. It exists to help recent, and future college graduates with disabilities learn the skills they need to compete in the workforce and find a fulfilling job in their field.
In the last year, TheCIL partnered with several local universities – among them CSU East Bay, UC Berkeley, Holy Names University, and Chabot College – to provide students with workshops and panels on topics such as writing cover letters, networking, and understanding their employment rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
For most of its history, Accelerate has been focused mostly on direct placement into jobs and internships. While we’ve certainly had success using this model, we decided in the fall to shift our focus to building up students’ job search skills so that instead of just placing a few students in organizations, we send out a huge group of empowered, informed, hungry young people who have the tools they need to land that dream job and thrive.
Even with COVID, Accelerate hasn’t cooled off a bit. The team has been hard at work producing sleek, engaging online panels and workshops to provide the same great information for our graduates from the comfort of their homes.
Our most recent webinar, titled “Disability and Employment: Seeing Yourself in the Competitive Workplace,” featured professionals from companies like Microsoft and Disability Rights California and was a big hit. In a time where finding a job is even harder, the information Accelerate provides is essential.
Most importantly, we’d be remiss not to mention our most important Accelerate update – Camden! TheCIL brought on Camden Stein in October to head up Accelerate and our other youth programs. His biggest takeaway from Accelerate in the last year has been the growth of Accelerate itself and the faith TheCIL has placed in it.
“That there was enough of a positive response to merit expanding the program and investing more time and energy in it is a testament to its success,” Stein said. “I’m incredibly excited to see what Accelerate becomes in 2021.”