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Columbiana County ESC recognizes student workers with disabilities this month

Sarah Gamlin is assisted by transition student Paetyn Howell at the Columbiana County Educational Service Center's Reach for the STARS gift shop in Salem. (Submitted photo)

LISBON- During the month of October, the Columbiana County Educational Service Center proudly recognizes individuals that have disabilities, classrooms that provide education to help prepare students for the workforce and employers that partner with the classes as well as businesses that hire individuals with disabilities. National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a nationwide initiative that recognizes the fact that all people who want to work should be able to do so and if needed, have access to necessary resources and supports to assist them in becoming an important part of the workforce.  

One of the many ways the Educational Service Center addresses this issue is by providing programming through “Reach for the STARS,” which is both a gift shop and training program for students with disabilities located in Salem. Students work in the store and learn how to run a successful business. They learn how to maintain the store’s cleanliness, how to count and restock inventory, plan and set up for special events, plan and decorate the stores display windows, wait on customers and much more. The store features items made by students, local artisans and Ohio- based companies. One room, the Art Gallery, boasts the work of skilled, local artists. Items such as photography, paintings, woodworking, ceramics and handmade jewelry are just a few of what is found there. The store not only offers well-made, interesting gifts and “school spirit” apparel for all occasions but, they also offer a friendly ear and are welcoming to all who enter its doors. Help celebrate NDEA month by stopping in and visiting the store and while there observe the students in action.  

Other current community partners who assist in fostering the students’ employment goals include the following: Salem Regional Medical Center, Salem Public Library, Salem Community Center, Marc’s, Courtyard at Lexington, Greenford Church Big Reach, Goodness Grows, Best Western Plus, Columbiana County Board of Elections, Lepper Library, Columbiana County Educational Service Center Office and Bus Garage.

Interested employers in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its message during October and throughout the year by visiting www.dol.gov/NDEAM.

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