Workers with Disabilities: Talent for a Winning Team - August 2008
D'Arcee N. - A Workforce Recruitment Program Success Story
Born nearly 3 months premature at 2 pounds, D’Arcee N. has challenged stereotypes of many kinds throughout his life. As a both a minority and person with a disability, he has faced racism, attitudinal barriers, and an often inaccessible landscape. As the sole person in his family with Cerebral Palsy, his parents encouraged him to look past the indifferences of others and pursue whatever he wanted.
Choosing to use the adversity as motivation, he finished high school a year early and started his studies at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke just two weeks later. He graduated in May, 2008 with a bachelor of arts in English and two minors in Creative Writing and Musical Theatre.
It was during his return from a semester-long study in Germany that he learned of the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) hosted by his school’s Career Services Center. The WRP recruiter who interviewed D’Arcee was so impressed with him that she offered him a WRP summer job at her agency, NASA, where he worked in the Office of Public Affairs. A year later, fueled by the success of his NASA experience, he was hired for a summer position by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).
Working in ODEP’s Policy Communications and Outreach office, one of D’Arcee’s most significant projects has been to reshape the logo for the WRP. “The WRP is a wonderful program. It has challenged me to think creatively while working at NASA and ODEP, and it’s a fantastic start for all of the things I have yet to do. I can’t be thankful enough,” he says.
Coordinated by ODEP and the U.S. Department of Defense, the Workforce Recruitment Program is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private sector employers with highly motivated postsecondary students with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs.