A group of teen-to-work and college prep students, along with program leaders, smile with Stantec staff after a presentation.

As part of FBC’s Teen-to-Work program, students get real-world experience that prepares them to be successful, independent adults. In the 5 weeks students spend in the program, they live in the dorms at Arizona State University, experiencing living alone for the first time. Throughout their time in the program, students get opportunities to see what it’s like to join the workforce. Today, FBC was hosted by Stantec, an engineering firm, who spoke to the students about careers in engineering and the importance of advocating for yourself in the workplace.

At Stantec, students heard from employees about their work and their career paths. Engineers spoke about their projects and what interested them in their work. Stantech works heavily with water pumping and flood management, so they put on a flood simulation that showed how different levels of flood can effect everything from cars to houses.

Jordan’s Advice on Advocating for Yourself

Jordan Rodriguez is a former FBC student who works at Stantec. He spoke about his journey of vision loss and his career path. Jordan really hit home the importance of advocating for oneself. He talked about how he spoke to his professors in college to better understand his labs. Being confident in expressing your needs is a vital part of being independent in the workforce, but it is a skill that needs to be developed.

Once he began his career, Jordan had to learn how to create his own accommodations. According to him, communication is key. The more he explained his abilities and his needs to his coworkers, the more successful he became and the better he was able to fit into the team.

Speaking Up to Employers

For employers, it can be scary to hire someone with a visual impairment. To help lessen those fears, Jordan says it’s important to disclose your disability during the interview process. Speaking about in a casual, reassuring way will help employers feel more comfortable, so they can judge you by your qualifications instead of by your disability.

There are No Limits on What We Can Do

Jordan is a great example of an FBC success story. His life completely changed when he lost his vision at 17, but he learned to adapt. He finished high school, moved on to college, and is now well into his career in civil engineering. It was great for the students in Teen-to-Work to hear his story, see his workplace, and experience what it’s like to be a professional who overcomes vision loss.

Follow FBC to hear more stories of success and perseverance.