Finding Employment after Interning

January 19, 2012 | AAPD Power Grid Blog Team

2011 AAPD Summer Intern Zach Holler discusses taking a proactive approach towards employment opportunities.

My name is Zach Holler. I was an AAPD Congressional Intern during the summer of 2011. I worked for the Administration on Developmental Disabilities. I am currently a senior in Rehabilitation Services at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio preparing to graduate in June, 2012. I want to share an exciting journey that began for me just recently. While in D.C., I was strongly advised to begin my search for career employment six to nine months prior to graduation. Also, while working for ADD, I did research on Independent Living options and policies as part of my job duties. I decided I wanted my first job to be related to Independent Living. In October, I sent my resume to one of my colleagues, the Director of the Access Center for Independent Living in Dayton, expressing my interest in working for an organization like his and if he had any open positions. I was invited for a job interview for a position on the Community Partnership Team. I moved quickly to contact my VR counselor to request sign language interpreters to accompany me to the interview.

Two weeks later, I was offered the position in writing through email. I will work part-time while I finish college and hopefully continue after graduation. I am currently preparing for a meeting with my new employer to negotiate salary and accommodations. This process involves working closely with my BVR counselor to ensure a smooth transition to work and acquisition of proper assistive technology for the workplace. It also involves researching Medicaid buy in and waiver policies regarding salary limitations to help me prepare for salary negotiation. I am learning just how beneficial it is to be autonomous and informed. It is my responsibility to gather information necessary to ensure a smooth transition to work. As a responsible BVR client, I also must communicate my needs to BVR, and when I need them, instead of waiting for my counselor to initiate the process. Students and BVR counselors often wait until closer to graduation, or even afterwards, to start the job search process. I knew that if I was going to jump to the competition for jobs and receive a job in a timely manner that I would need to initiate the process earlier than normal. In today’s economy, self autonomy and prior planning have proven to be a key to success. My experience with AAPD helped me realize that.

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