MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Several members of the local community joined employees at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point for a chance to preview a career in federal service, June 11.
During Cherry Point’s third annual Protégé Day, individuals with qualified disabilities in Carteret and Craven Counties shadowed Department of Defense civilians here to gain a better understanding of potential roles at Cherry Point.
Michael Arkin, the air station equal employment opportunity specialist, coordinated this year’s program. He sees benefits for both the air station and for the perspective employees.
Protégé Day gives Cherry Point the opportunity to engage with the local community, says Arkin. It opens the door for qualified disabled individuals to seek possible employment at Cherry Point.
The program allows those individuals with disabilities to come into the workforce and show managers the kind of potential that the employees could offer, says Arkin, who sees this program as an opportunity to dispel stereotypes and myths.
Participants of Protégé Day, who got the opportunity to participate through the Vocational Rehabilitation Clinics in Craven and Carteret Counties, have counselors who help by identifying skills sets and matching individuals with compatible career fields. Preparation, including Protégé Day, helps improve a participant’s chances of landing a job.
“You’re going to face a few more obstacles than the average person but finding a job for anyone can be difficult,” said Daniel Fischer, participant. “As long as you prepare yourself and go into an interview and work hard, you will be able to find a job. Especially with resources like Protégé Day and with the help of the Vocational Rehabilitation Clinic, they help you get your foot in the door to gain experience.”
Since the start of the program, four participants from the Vocational Rehabilitation Clinic have been hired.
“Individuals with disabilities can be a vital part of the workforce,” said Arkin. “The goal is to get people back to work. Focusing on their ability to perform the tasks required despite their disabilities.”