Noted ADA expert advises disabled students about preparing for the workforce

James de Jong

A disability expert advised an audience at Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods to be comfortable in their own skins.

Great Plains ADA Center Executive Director James de Jong spoke before about 30 people on Oct. 18 at the campus’ Arbor Room.

The event, “Employee Empowerment and Equity: Disability in the Workplace,” featured de Jong, who provided tips and advice for disabled people seeking employment.

De Jong said that the job process “starts long before you get the interview.”  Job seekers need to assess their skills and understand what they are capable of accomplishing.

“Become your own advocate,” de Jong said.

De Jong is also the principal investigator at the center, located at the University of Missouri School of Health Professions.

He was instrumental in working with Congress to pass the original Americans With Disabilities Act.  He has received the Leadership Award from the U.S. House of Representatives Task Force on the Rights and Empowerment of Americans With Disabilities, as well as the President’s Award from the National Rehabilitation Association.

The event was hosted by the Maple Woods campus’ Career Services and Disability Services departments.