PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–The Arc of the Bay hosted a Job-A-Palooza Friday. It was an opportunity for students with intellectual differences to learn about what it takes to enter the job market.
Students and mentors filled the Gulf Coast State College Student Union. The event was for students in Bay and Gulf Counties that have intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“We teach individuals life and job skills, helping them be more independent and more productive in life just like you and me,” said Ron Sharpe, the Executive Director of The Arc of the Bay.
Employees from TJ Maxx, Roussos Air Conditioning, the Lynn Haven Fire Department and many more set up shop. They had the opportunity to teach students what it takes to work at their places of employment
“With the skills we’re teaching, they can use it any job they can get no matter what industry they decide to go into,” said Darrell Hernandez, Assistant Chief of the Lynn Haven Fire Department.
Students also had the chance to do interviews and learn about the hiring process. Those participating said they enjoyed learning about local opportunities.
“My favorite part is the Pizza Hut thing. I learned that if you try your best, you can get it,” said Patricia Smiley, a student.
Another student agreed, saying his favorite station was ‘Two Men and a Truck’.
“It’s really cool experiencing these different jobs and stuff that I can do and yeah it’s really cool,” said Jaylan Jackson, a student.
The Arc of the Bay says they have one goal: inclusion.
“What we teach individuals with disabilities, they give back more than we could ever, they teach us more than we can teach them believe me,” Sharpe said.
The students finished up the day by participating in a friendly competition, getting the chance to showcase what they learned.