Students plan career assistance

Bethel University senior Ben Hernes and his sister Anna Substad, a 2019 Bethel graduate, are preparing to launch a platform […]

Substad and her Aunt Ruth

Bethel University senior Ben Hernes and his sister Anna Substad, a 2019 Bethel graduate, are preparing to launch a platform to help individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities jump-start their careers. 

The online job board, called RecruitABLE, will offer individuals with disabilities creative ways to showcase their talents and expertise beyond a traditional resume or cover letter. 

“In today’s market, there are a lot of obstacles to overcome for people with IDD to get a job, and to get a job that they like,” Substad said. “It’s risky to disclose if you have a disability, and from the employer’s side of things, sometimes it’s actually illegal to ask an employee directly if they have disabilities.” 

In June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an employment-population ratio of 17.5 percent for persons with a disability, compared with an employment-population ratio for persons without a disability at 59.7 percent. 

RecruitABLE aims to combat these obstacles by offering employers a place to post jobs a candidate with a disability could thrive in, and offering candidates a curated list of potential job openings with the ability to filter their job searches by required accommodations. 

RecruitABLE users will be able to create a profile similar to those on LinkedIn, featuring more interactive content like automated video interviews, photos and video of the candidate working and curated questions that reveal the candidate’s strengths, interests and personality. 

Hernes and Substad have an aunt with Down syndrome, someone they say inspired their commitment to helping individuals with disabilities at an early age. 

The siblings from Fairmont were involved in Bethel’s Inclusive Learning and Development program, a two-year postsecondary and residential program that began in 2015 for students with intellectual disabilities. 

In June, Hernes and Substad’s RecruitABLE pitch won the 2020 Destination Medical Center Assistive Tech Challenge through the Mayo Clinic. With the $5,000 prize, they plan to license the software for RecruitABLE and build a team. 

Substad said the team hopes to launch the pilot program in late August or early September. 

(Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press) 

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