New program offers career guidance to students with disabilities


Mara Byers

Mara Byers

Students at The University of Akron (UA) have many things to think about beyond textbooks and assignments. They also have to think ahead to a future career. The thoughts of getting “career ready” – creating a resume, interviewing for a job and networking for a future career – can seem overwhelming, especially for someone with a disability. Fortunately, there is a program in place to help alleviate some of that stress.

UA is one of 15 universities in the state of Ohio involved with College2Careers, a program, in partnership through Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD), that assists individuals with varying disabilities with employment, career goals and job-search skills. It is designed to help students prepare and polish these skills before beginning an active job search.

Some of the ways in which College2Careers prepares students for a future career is by conducting mock interviews, securing internships and connecting them with an employer network. College2Careers is currently hosting virtual weekly information sessions on topics such as resume writing and networking. There are no fees associated with taking advantage of the program.

Students in all stages of the college experience can benefit from College2Careers, whether they are a first-year student or someone who is closer to graduation. Services are also available to alumni who recently graduated.

Mara Byers, of OOD, is UA’s College2Careers counselor. She works alongside other UA offices, such as the Office of Accessibility and Career Services, to complement those services and add an extra layer of support to students with disabilities. Since the program started in the fall of 2019, the caseload has grown to 23 students getting support through College2Careers.

Wide range of help

“OOD offers a large range of services, allowing us to help students regardless of where they’re at on their career journey,” Byers said. “If they just started classes and they are still thinking about a major, we can provide some career exploration services. If students are more toward the middle of their college career, and they just want to start looking for internships, we can help them start that process. And if graduation is near, we can work with them on job placement.”

A student will first meet Byers to determine eligibility, and she will then create a plan tailored to the student. Because each individual is different, the frequency of future meetings can match their needs. Byers noted some students have recurring appointments to touch base on career and employment-related topics. In addition to recurring meetings with Byers, students can engage in a weekly live virtual Career Development College2Careers information sessions.

Students interested in the program can visit the UA’s College2Careers webiste. Byers can also be contacted at 330-972-2163 or by email at College2Careers can also be found on Facebook and on Twitter and Instagram with the handle @OhioC2C.

Media contact: Cristine Boyd, 330-972-6476 or cboyd