Instead of the NMI Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Northern Marianas College took over hosting duties for its first disabilities conference at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan over the weekend.
NMC interim director of the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Jennifer Castro told Saipan Tribune that the conference was held in order to inform incoming students of the services the college offer to people with disabilities.
“Our hope is to do it every year. …We are working closely with the OVR to provide this for all three islands,” she said, noting that last Friday’s conference was the first on Saipan hosted by NMC.
She noted that talks with Tinian and Rota about hosting the same conference there are ongoing.
“Our goal is to get students with disabilities…started [thinking about the] kind of jobs they want to get into after college,” she said. “[This conference] lets them know that there is support [for them] in college.”
The conference also helps students pick the career they wish to pursue, added NMC director of Community Development Arthur De Or.
“The students are learning how they can access services after high school. We also gave them information on different career choices and how they can avail of the services that are available to them to transition from high school to college or to the workforce,” he said.
There were over 110 participants as of 2pm Friday, 40 of which were students from Marianas High School, Kagman High School, and the Da’ok Academy; the other 70 were community partners that included teachers, teacher aides, and family members.
All those that attended the conference, according to Castro, were juniors and seniors.