IN THE NEWS
(IDVR, Region 4, is a core member of Magic Valley Transition Team)
Students with disabilities learn about job opportunities
TWIN FALLS — 10 NOV 2016 - Randy Warren’s white hair turned purple the first time he dyed it. So did his eyebrows.
Warren told an audience of 80 high school students Wednesday that it was not the last time he would try to mask his disabilities growing up. He would later dye his hair bright red and give away his glasses to hide vision problems caused by his albinism.
"Many people with disabilities tell you not to characterize yourself by your disability; I felt like I couldn’t hide."
Students from high schools in the Magic Valley, Wood River Valley and Mini Cassia gathered at the Twin Falls Center for the Arts for Disability Mentoring Day. Disability Mentoring Day began at the White House in 1999 for a few dozen students. The goal was to promote career development for students with disabilities through career exploration and mentoring. The event is organized by the Magic Valley Transition Team. Last year, 79 students from 12 different high schools attended the event.
"The purpose of the event is to give students with disabilities exposure to different work places, and the opportunities that could be available, and the wide range of skills needed for the job."
Students visited various businesses Wednesday such as Premier Auto, Webb Landscaping, Hair Tech, Hilton Garden Inn, the Times-News and Smith’s. Then they listened to a presentation by Warren, who is a paraprofessional at the Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind. Warren was born with albinism, a complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. It is also associated with a number of vision defects. Warren graduated from the Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind in 2004. He started working as a night maintenance worker for WinCo Foods in Twin Falls. He also worked at Dell computers call center in Twin Falls as a tech sales lead. His dream job was to work as an electrician, but he wasn’t able to obtain an apprenticeship.
"Nobody hired me, mainly because I couldn’t drive."
Warren told the students this roadblock eventually brought him to his current job.
"I love my job; I work with blind and visually impaired students. It’s nice to go to work every single day and be happy."
DeBoard said they invited Warren to speak to show students they are not alone.
"There are successful hardworking people out there that you may not know, it’s not an easy road, but it’s one worth taking."