Epic Enterprise participated in this event as an active member of the Community Transition Interagency Committee, (CTIC). The work skill challenge day is an event designed to help students with disabilities improve upon their skills to prepare for, obtain, and maintain competitive, integrated employment. This event is valuable to their success after they graduate high school and enter the world as an educated and productive member of society.

The work skills challenge was held on April 30th in the Buntrock Commons at St. Olaf College. Several local community members and businesses volunteered their time and expertise to help make this a successful event. Students from several communities attended to practice interviewing skills with local businesses and participate in problem solving activities related to employment. They also attended a presentation by Suzanne Sukalski, a young- women with Downs Syndrome, who shared with them how she became a motivational speaker for people with disabilities after doing exceptional work as a breakfast hostess and was honored with a state award. She also explained how she became an entrepreneur when starting her “Super Crunchy Corn Nibblet” business.

Many vendors were on hand to provide resources to the students for employment, housing and support services after graduation.

Maria Soper, former graduate from Northfield High School, represented Epic Enterprise to share her work experience with the students. She explained how Epic provided services for her to find employment and job coaching support until she became independent at her job at Three Links.  Maria did such a nice job explaining the next steps after graduation that she had quite a gathering at her table for most of the event.

Maria never lets her disability hold her back from achieving her dreams and aspires to be an advocate for people with disabilities. She wants to share with others what it means to her to have a paying job that she enjoys and to be an important part of a team that makes a difference in the community. She expressed, she really appreciated having the opportunity to participate in this event and hopes to inspire others with her work experience in the future.

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