‘Expanding EAGLES’ initiative focuses on local employment, creating awareness

September 21, 2020

The EAGLES Program at Auburn University is a comprehensive postsecondary transition opportunity for students with intellectual disabilities aged 18-26. Through either a two-year or four-year residential program, EAGLES students work to become contributing members of society by combining university classes, on- and off-campus employment, volunteer experiences, and on-campus collaborations. The program is comprised of five major components: Academic Enrichment, Independent Living, Employment Preparation, Interpersonal Skill Development, and Health and Wellness.

The Employment Preparation portion of EAGLES provides on-campus practicum sites, integrated employment residency, job coaching, and College-to-Career Recognition upon the completion of the program. EAGLES students prepare for employment through a series of employment assessments and evaluations to place them at a job that reflects both their interests and strengths. In order for these students to increase independence as contributing members of society, it is crucial that the work-based training jobsites are both informed and trained to support individuals with disabilities.

In order to provide such training, a new initiative is being launched to both increase community awareness for the program and to promote hiring individuals with disabilities. The new platform is called Expanding EAGLES. Its mission is to educate, advocate, and connect the EAGLES Program with local stakeholders to bring awareness and understanding of disability etiquette, working with individuals with disabilities, and forming partnerships with the EAGLES Program. The initiative seeks not only to create employment partnerships for the EAGLES students, but also to educate our community and local stakeholders on how to provide the most meaningful work experience for an individual with a disability.

Through monthly training sessions, Expanding EAGLES will address different topics such as disability etiquette, exploring ways to ensure individuals with disabilities can more effectively participate in the community, advocating for individuals with disabilities, providing a more inclusive environment within the Auburn Community, and teaching practical and effective ways to support individuals with disabilities in the workplace.

The first training session is scheduled for October 13, 2020 from 10 till 11:30 a.m. and will focus on disability etiquette and working with individuals with a disability.

This year, the program will partner with 16 different local businesses that are supporting three cohorts in the area of employment. With growing numbers of applicants and students, EAGLES appreciates the need to create additional job placements to support the work-based training component of the program. Our vision and hope is that these sessions will lead to long-lasting relationships and a community culture that is intentional about inclusion.

Sign up for the initial Zoom training session. The Zoom link will be emailed after completion of the registration form.

For questions, please email Mrs. Lauren Ozment, Employment Coordinator.