VDSB Graduates Face Tough Job Market

By: Garrett Wymer Email
By: Garrett Wymer Email

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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) -- Students at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind celebrated graduation day on Friday. Some walking across the stage are leaving a place they've spent more than half of their lives.

"It's going to be a unique experience not being here. I'm heading to JMU in the fall, and I'm really nervous about it, but I'm excited at the same time," said graduate Scarlet Racey.

Many of the students are, like Scarlet, going to a university or community college.

"Really, I am really excited about being able to get the education and advance myself to be a veterinarian and work with animals," said graduate Breanna Garcia, through an interpreter.

They have goals, but these graduates face a tougher job climate than most. In 2012, unemployment for people with disabilities was more than 13 percent. That's nearly double the rate for those without a disability.

"As you know, the job market is hard, so at least you can go out and say 'On my resume I have work experience, and this is who you can call for good references," said VSDB Superintendent Dr. Nancy Armstrong.

Armstrong also said job skills are an important part of what these new grads learned while still in school.

As they leave VSDB, these graduates are ready for the challenges they'll face. After all, they've already overcome a lot.

While the unemployment rate for those with disabilities is high, it has been falling since 2011.

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