Abilities Employment Symposium 2024 - The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte

Abilities Employment Symposium 2024

APRIL 10, 2024



Goodwill Opportunity Campus 5301 Wilkinson Blvd. Charlotte, NC

The Abilities Employment Symposium (AES) is dedicated to advancing workforce inclusion for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). Our symposium specifically caters to two key groups:

1.) Individuals with I/DD who are actively seeking employment or vocational training opportunities.

2.) Employers who are committed to creating inclusive workplace environments and are ready to hire individuals with disabilities.

AES provides valuable education for parents, covering essential topics such as job opportunities, SSI education, and the transition to adulthood.


Welcome to the inaugural Abilities Employment Symposium sponsored by Bank of America. This event is a grassroots effort in collaboration with Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte, LIFESPAN Services and a phenomenal planning committee with AllAbility Solutions, Cakeable Charlotte, Phillips Academy, KennedyStrong Foundation, Gigi’s Playhouse, and A Special Needs Plan.

We are excited for this collaborative symposium to embark on a new opportunity for our I/DD community and inclusive employers as a platform for networking and get invaluable information on next steps on individual employment path.

Breakout session descriptions:

Internships with Vocational Rehabilitation with Anita McMahan
Internships are like a thrilling dance where both employers and eager job seekers groove together
toward success! For employers, it’s like hosting a talent show where they get to scout out the next big
stars for their team. With interns bringing fresh ideas, energy, and enthusiasm to the stage, workplaces
transform into vibrant hubs of creativity and innovation. Meanwhile, for those seeking work, internships
are the ultimate backstage pass to the professional world, offering a chance to dive headfirst into real-
life scenarios while learning the moves of the trade. It’s not just about gaining experience; it’s about
joining a community, making connections, and turning career dreams into reality. So let’s crank up the
music, hit the dance floor, and get ready for an internship experience that’s as fun as it is rewarding!

Future Planning with A Special Needs Plan, Ryan Platt 
A Special Needs Plan™ is a special needs planning advisory firm founded in 2005 to serve all families, especially those
with special needs. They often struggle with the worry that comes with planning for the future care and financial well-
being of their loved ones. It is not unusual for our clients to feel overwhelmed by the complexity of coordinating all the
necessary legal, financial, governmental benefits, communication & tax strategies they find themselves immersed in. We
are here to put an end to the worry and frustration often felt over the lack of professionals with the proper expertise and
experience to help.

Educating Employers with Work Together NC  (Electronic Information Files)

Learn how we help individuals, families, service provider organizations, and employers work together so that transitioning to adulthood  can be a better experience for all. Get tools for the transition to adulthood. Learn more about building an inclusive workforce and the innovative business practices around our state.

Paying for Job Coaching- A Special Needs Plan with Margaret Gaffney Room 2347
Do you have questions about how to pay for support once you or your adult child decides to go to work?
Questions like…..If my adult child with a disability has a job, where can he save money that will not
disqualify him from benefits? How can my child receive the maximum amount of SSI? Ryan F. Platt,
MBA, ChFC, ChSNC is a registered representative who offers securities, investment advisory, and
financial planning through MML Investors Services, LLC, a member of SIPC.

Mock Interview Practice with Bank of America Volunteers
Room 2301 and 2303
Practicing interviewing skills is like sharpening your sword before heading into battle—it’s
essential for success. By honing your ability to communicate effectively, showcase your
strengths, and respond confidently to challenging questions, you’ll boost your chances of
landing the job and feel more poised and self-assured throughout the process. Through practice, you’ll refine your ability to articulate your experiences, highlight your qualifications, and make a memorable impression on potential employers. Moreover, rehearsing common interview scenarios allows you to anticipate curveballs, navigate tricky situations with ease, and
demonstrate your readiness to excel in the role. Ultimately, investing time in practicing interviewing skills not only increases your chances of securing employment but also empowers you to approach job interviews with confidence and competence.

Grow Your Career Sponsored by The Academy at Bank of America
Join us for a Grow Your Career training. This workshop will serve as a road map of best practices
needed to attain the job you want. This event is ideal for individuals looking to elevate their
professional skills in order to grow their career and for organizations supporting job seekers.
Visit our page to see professional skills workshops sponsored by The Academy at Bank of America.
The Academy is Bank of America’s training and professional development organization dedicated to
the growth and success of the communities we serve. https://careers.bankofamerica.com/en-us/join-us/career-development/the-academy/education-resources



Individuals with I/DD, Parents, Caregivers, school groups” Abilities Employment Symposium Registration – Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte (flipcause.com)

Resource groups, organizations and inclusive businesses that support Individual’s and caregivers in the array of the employment journey are welcome to register for participation in this symposium as vendors.

Abilities Employment Symposium Vendors – Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte (flipcause.com)

By securing a table, you will have the opportunity to share valuable information with participants who are seeking guidance on their employment journey. These diverse areas of connection encompass, but are not limited to:

  • Life Skill Builders
  • Pre-Vocational Training
  • Vocational Training/Support
  • Employment Programs
  • Inclusive Businesses
  • Supported Employment
  • Future Planning (Guardian support)


SESSION BREAKDOWN (space is limited and requires advanced registration)

There will be two sessions available to the participants and caregivers and limited availability per session. Vendors are asked to stay for both sessions in order to allow for each group to benefit from their connections in the community.

Session 1: 10am-12pm

Session 2: 1pm-3:30pm

Each session will include a welcome meeting, vendor/employer connection and 3 break out rooms with guest speakers available during each 2-hour session. There will be a special Speaker Panel at the 2nd session at 1pm, moderated by our very own Anessa Powell with AllAbility Solutions. Vendors are welcome to join during this panel.

Registration is required and every participant (I/DD individual, caregiver/parent/teacher, vendor, guests, volunteers) must register by April 5.

Names, email and phone numbers will be provided to Bank of America and identification is required upon check in on the day of the symposium.

Date: April 10, 2024

Time: 10am-3pm


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