On the evening of Thursday September 22, 122 people gathered at the Miron Construction headquarters in Neenah for a community conversation facilitated by Lisa Malak of Local 5 Live in Green Bay. Leaders from local advocacy organizations, the Fox Cities Chamber, and Miron's representative on the Business Advisory council at the St. Elizabeth's Hospital Project SEARCH met numerous times to plan the event. They reached out to employers in the Fox Cities, school personnel, families and youth, and service providers to attend the conversation. Representatives from six legislative offices attended. The event had many corporate sponsors as well, and Zuppa's (a restaurant that employs a young adult with a disability) of Menasha provided a discounted rate on dinner, so attendees were well fed and had time to network and view videos of Wisconsin youth working before the conversation started.
Tania Hanford, Promise DVR Counselor, and Leah Eide, a Promise youth who had her first work experience last summer, told her employment story to the audience. Employers in attendance included Kwik Trip, Coca-Cola, Kimberly Clark, Thrivent Financial, Gulfstream, and others. Conversation at every table was lively; information was exchanged. Employers wanted to know how to get the word out to those not in attendance , and already connections among employers, teachers, and job developers look promising in the community's efforts to help youth with disabilities and other barriers get jobs in the Fox Cities community.
One exciting example of a connection made at the event: Lisa Malak offered a job shadow at the Local 5 Live station to a Promise youth. Stay tuned for more on that story!