Category Archives: Employment

Ways to Learn About Government Jobs

On Campus:  Good Ways to Learn About Government Jobs for Co-op and Full-time Work

by John Macko, Director, NTID Center on Employment


Workforce Recruitment Program

If your student needs to look for a summer co-op and wants to work for a government agency, one of the best ways is to apply for the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP).

WRP connects government agencies with college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are looking for work. To be eligible, your student needs to be a U.S. citizen. Your student can be in any major at any degree level. Each year a number of RIT/NTID students find co-ops and full-time jobs through WRP.

Representatives from WRP will be conducting interviews remotely by telecommunications in the NCE office October 27 – November 18. Students should contact their NCE employment advisor to start the application process. The deadline to complete and submit applications is October 14.


The STAR Program

For several years, RIT/NTID has been a participant in the Department of Defense (DOD) Student Training and Academic Recruitment (STAR) Program. The NTID Center on Employment is the supervising department for this program, which allows NTID to hire a student to work part-time during the school year as a representative to help other students become more informed about the DOD and more aware of DOD’s various employment and scholarship opportunities.

This year’s representative is Kelly Jo Hilleshiem, a fourth-year student majoring in marketing with a concentration in public relations in RIT’s Saunders College of Business. Her job is to help students with their federal resumes; assist with navigating the federal job application system; and help search for scholarships, internships and job opportunities as well as provide information about other resources. Interested students can drop by the NTID Center on Employment Office in LBJ Hall, Building 60, Room 2806 to schedule an appointment with Kelly Jo.

RIT/NTID job fair will connect deaf students with employers across the country

Tall male student in a suit with cochlear implant discusses resume with male recruiter in red shirt with Harris display behind.

Representatives from more than 40 local and national corporations, federal agencies and nonprofit organizations will meet with hundreds of deaf and hard-of-hearing students—who are also prospective employees—at the 16th annual job fair, 12:30–4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. The event will be held in Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall on the RIT campus.

“Employers will have the opportunity to recruit talented deaf and hard-of-hearing students in associate and bachelor’s degree programs such as business, finance, graphic design, engineering, computing and more,” said John Macko, director of NTID’s Center on Employment.

Interpreters will be available at each table, and in many cases, the company recruiters are NTID alumni. Companies include Aetna, Baxter Health Care, Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Dow Chemical Co., Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Harris Corp., Internal Revenue Service, The Learning Center for the Deaf, Lockheed Martin, and the U.S. Department of Defense, among others.

NTID’s Center on Employment will also recognize companies who consistently hire deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. This year’s honorees are Solar Turbines based in San Diego, and Ohio Health Corporation based in Columbus, Ohio.

“Employers continue to want highly qualified employees who bring the necessary skills and who will fit into the company culture and contribute to the company’s success,” said Macko. “Our students are well trained and can hit the ground running at companies right here in Rochester and all over the country.”

There are a few openings available for employers who want to participate. For more information, email Mary Ellen Tait or call 585-475-6426.

Enjoying a Challenge

A student in a white shirt with beard and glasses sits by a computer with the screen off and other equipment.

Benjamin Polstra from Noblesville, Indiana, completed a summer co-op at GEICO in Chevy Chase, Maryland, that turned into a fulltime job. Polstra, who will graduate in sping 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in information technology, worked as a GEICO summer intern.

Polstra was responsible for a significant information technology (IT) business project—bigger than any project he had ever worked on before, and to complete it, he had to learn different tools and concepts along the way. He used his information technology skills on individual assignments and team projects, attended meetings and gave presentations. He was able to reach out to and receive mentoring from  team members and members of the IT management team. By the end of the summer, Polstra felt he had become a better developer with the increased confidence that came from handling a project of that size. He also learned how an insurance company runs and how they practice customer service.

He says that taking courses that taught the fundamental and advanced level of object-oriented programming, such as Java or C#, was valuable. The courses he took that teach client and server programming were necessary as well. The software design, principles and patterns, organizational behavior and apps development practices courses all were greatly helpful in his summer responsibilities, and taking on a leadership role gave him valuable experience in how to work with a team. He also learned that no matter where you work, asking a lot of questions is a must-have skill.

Polstra believes his degree will open doors to many opportunities. The coursework associated with it has prepared the fundamental bedrock, which he can use to demonstrate his knowledge of the IT field, and to work confidently with new concepts and ideas. He says that GEICO is the manifestation of how he’s been preparing himself; it has been changing, abandoning old traditions and embracing new ideas. The company has expanded its IT department rapidly to enable their growth spurt. That’s how he sees himself—growing rapidly to become not only a better IT person, but a more accomplished software developer.

Polstra offers the following advice for other students. “Don’t just work hard; play with what you like to do. If you are majoring in photography, play around with a camera.If computer science is your major, play around with a computer. Share with your friends and find mentors who can help you grow. You shouldn’t be discouraged by a challenge. Just try hard, and when you are successful, you will end up enjoying your success a lot more. Don’t think about grades so much because you will already excel at what you do, if you enjoy whatever you are doing.”

NTID Center on Employment here for your student

Employment counselor in blue shirt works with student in pink shirt to create resume on computer

The NTID Center on Employment (NCE) is here for your student.

by John Macko, Director, NTID Center on Employment

The role of the NTID Center on Employment team is to assist current students and graduates with the search for co-ops or full-time jobs. The key is to make sure your student enlists our support. After their second year, most students are required to do a co-op, so encourage your students to take advantage of some or all of the services we offer. Below are a few of the ways we can help. The NCE website lists many more.

Job Search Assistance

When your student arrives on campus, he or she is assigned an NCE employment advisor based on his or her major. NCE employment advisors provide job search tutoring that can help your student:

  • Write or improve resumes and cover letters
  • Complete a job application
  • Put together a list of references and a portfolio
  • Use books and web resources to find employers to contact about possible jobs
  • Find job announcements on the web and apply
  • Consider different ways to approach employers
  • Prepare for interviews and follow up with employers
  • Understand the various communication strategies and accommodations in the workplace
  • Get ready for the working world

Networking Guidance

We advise students that one of the best ways to find employment opportunities is through networking—asking people they know to help them with their search. Many jobs are not advertised to the general public and may only be known by the people working at the company. These jobs, called the hidden job market, are often found through networking. We can guide your student with some good networking strategies. Their network can help them find job openings and make contact with employers.

Liaison with an Employer Network

Every year, NCE staff travel all around the country to meet with employers and develop relationships that encourage them to hire deaf and hard-of-hearing students who are well trained and ready to hit the ground running. Some of the employers NCE has developed relationships with are: BNY Mellon, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, DOW Chemical Company, FBI, General Electric, Google, IBM, Merck, Microsoft, NASA, National Security Agency, Naval Supply Systems Command, Ohio Health, Sprint, Texas Instruments, Toyota, U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving, University of San Diego and many more.

If you have questions or concerns about anything in the area of employment, or would like to find out who your student’s employment advisor is, please feel free to contact us at by email at, by phone at 585-475-6219 or by videophone at 585-286-4544.

Cool Co-op: Benjamin Polstra

BenPolstra with glasses and a white shirt and striped tie standly proudly, just got a job offer for after graduation with GEICO

Benjamin Polstra, an information technology major from Noblesville, Indiana, spent the summer on co-op at GEICO in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He used his information technology skills to work on business projects and other assignments, both individually and as a part of a team, and was pleased to discover that he and GEICO have something in common—both are interested in casting aside old traditions and embracing new ideas. He was offered and has accepted a full-time job at GEICO and will be starting work there as part of their Technology Development Program.

Cool Co-op: La Shea Murray

Female student sitting and working at computer desk.

La Shea Murray from Feasterville, Pennsylvania is a design and imaging technology major working her co-op at RMS Graphics in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania. In her position as a graphic design technician intern, she works with the art director to make, modify and produce designs for various commercial printed materials using Adobe software, and assists with putting together custom fulfillment kits.

Cool Co-ops: Samantha Abert

female student sitting at compuer with colorful Crayola products

Samantha Abert, a design and imaging technology major from Emmaus, Pennsylvania, is a graphic production intern at Crayloa, LLC, in Easton, Pennsylvania. She is part of a creative team that focuses on the development and use of creative tools like crayons, pencils, markers and clay. Part of her job is to research craft ideas and create artwork with Crayola products that the company could use on social media as examples of what consumers can make with those products. She also created concept sketches for colored pencils packaging.

Flanagan named RIT/NTID athlete development coordinator

Skip Flanagan in maroon plaid button down with black t-shirt carrying book bag over his right shoulder

Alumnus and baseball standout Sean “Skip” Flanagan has been named athletic development coordinator for Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf. In this role, Flanagan will work in tandem with the RIT Center for Intercollegiate Athletics, RIT varsity and club coaches and NTID faculty and staff to support the participation of deaf and hard-of-hearing student-athletes on varsity and club teams. 

Flanagan, of Framingham, Massachusetts, earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in exercise science from RIT’s College of Liberal Arts and currently is working on a master’s degree in educational leadership-intercollegiate athletic leadership at the University of Washington in Seattle.  He previously was RIT/NTID’s student-athlete liaison, a student ambassador for NTID, and played professional baseball.            

As athletic development coordinator, Flanagan will meet periodically with coaches of all RIT varsity teams, attend practices and meet with teams to provide educational seminars to improve team dynamics, as well as meet regularly with individual athletes to develop relationships, provide mentoring, support and problem-solving strategies. He will serve as representative of NTID at RIT athletic department staff meetings and functions.

“We are pleased to have Skip return to his alma mater in a role that takes full advantage of his experience both in the classroom and on the field,” said Dr. Gerard Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “He will serve as a role model to young deaf and hard-of-hearing student-athletes who attend RIT/NTID as well as those considering their college options.”

Gaining Business Knowledge on Co-op

Female student with Caterpillar heavy equipment in the background

Marlet Mancera’s co-op experience as a corporate accounting intern at Caterpiller taught her many things among which are that employers value excellence, commitment and teamwork. Her RIT courses helped her develop skills in Microsoft Office, Excel and other software related to her business and accounting interests. She is sure that her business administrations degree and accounting training will guide her to a successful future.