The HDS Foundation, which is known to have strong ties to the special-needs community, was asked by the College Living Experience (CLE) to assist in giving mock job interviews at the CLE Fort Lauderdale location to individuals with disabilities looking to soon become parts of the working world. CLE hosted this event in efforts to provide support to students with disabilities who wish to progress professionally, socially, and educationally.  Specifically, CLE aims to assist these students in developing skills related to four specific areas that affect life in many ways: academics, independent living, social skills, and career development. Through careful instruction pertaining to the previously listed topics, CLE hopes to sufficiently prepare its students for their futures of independent living, away from parental control and college. It is no wonder the HDS Foundation partnered up with CLE – both entities possess, essentially, the same overarching goal.

So, on April 18th, 2016, members of the HDS Foundation and Housing and Development Services made their ways over to CLE Fort Lauderdale to help deliver mock interviews. Each participating student chose which jobs they wanted to interview for beforehand, and each interviewer had a script to read from, providing instruction about the questions to ask and the quirks to watch for in relation to the responses provided by the students and the mannerisms they employ. There were two interviewers in each room, and the students rotated rooms after each interview to answer questions that applied to a different job than the one they had previously dealt with. Before each rotation, the interviewers offered individual feedback to the students. Such pieces of constructive criticism included the need for some to maintain stronger eye contact with the interviewer and for others to appear less tense. After all interviews were complete, everyone met in one large room to have lunch provided by CLE. During this time, the students talked about the experience and how they felt about it overall.  Many felt more comfortable with the job interview process as a whole and were glad to have gotten constructive feedback. In the end, the activity was highly beneficial for the participants. They had the unique opportunity to gain understanding about and prepare for job interviews, which, because of the large part they play in entering the work force, are daunting for many of the students. HDS is glad to have been able to work with CLE, and a number of other such organizations, to make a real impact on the lives of those in need.