DDS Partners with Wethersfield High School for Disability Mentoring Day

Mentoring Day
Left to Right:  Daimar Ramos, DDS - students- Latasha Bagley; Laryssa Budas; Michael Byndes; and Special Ed Teacher Kim Fitzner.
Three Students from Wethersfield High School spent the morning at the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) headquarters in Hartford for Disability Mentoring Day. The nationwide effort promotes career development for students with disabilities through hands-on career exploration and is held each year on October 17th. 
The Wethersfield students, Latasha Bagley, Laryssa Budas and Michael Byndes were welcomed to DDS by Deputy Commissioner Joseph Drexler and received an overview of DDS services from Director of Family Support Strategies and Advocacy, Robin Wood. Human Resources Specialist, Daimar Ramos and Director of Human Resources, Gerry Daley then provided a hands-on demonstration of how to use the computer to apply for state jobs.  The students spent the majority of the morning job shadowing Case Manager Kenneth Smith, Case Manager Allison Hummel and Administrative Assistant Dianne Gill.  The students, accompanied by their teacher, Kim Fitzner were able to experience a typical day on the job and learn to prepare to enter the working world.
Student, Latasha Bagley, stated, “Remember this face!  I wanted to work in psychology, but after today I might come to DDS and work with people with disabilities.”  
The goals of Disability Mentoring Day are: to enhance internship and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, to promote disability as a central component of diversity recruitment for a more inclusive workforce, to dispel employers' fears about hiring people with disabilities, to increase confidence among students and job seekers with disabilities, and to launch a year-round effort to foster mentoring opportunities.