April 20, 2018
Rising Leaders Spotlight Series: Paul Trevino

USBLN highlights various young leaders with disabilities in the Rising Leader Spotlight Series. If you are a corporate partner (or potential partner), and would like more information our USBLN’s Rising Leaders, please contact Liz (liz@usbln.org). If you are a young leader with a disability, and would like more information on the Rising Leadership Mentoring Program or the Rising Leadership Academy, please contact Keri (keri@usbln.org).

The number of students with disabilities attending higher education in the United States now represents 6% of the student body. As with any graduate, their professional success will stem from a number of things, including work ethic, opportunity, and, for some, having a mentor to guide them.

Headshot of Paul TrevinoQuality mentoring relationships have a powerful effect on young people in a variety of situations – personally, academically and professionally. Initiatives like the USBLN Rising Leaders Mentoring Program were created to further those opportunities. This six-month career mentoring strategy brings together employers with college students with disabilities and recent graduates with disabilities in a mutually beneficial way. Through the USBLN’s association with over 130 corporate partners, we match at least 70 individuals to business professionals in their field of study, area of interest, and to whom they would not otherwise have access. The Rising Leaders Mentoring Program connects students like Paul Trevino to experts that can provide professional growth and development, and social and economic opportunities.

Paul Trevino wasn’t ready for college immediately after high school, so he enlisted in the Air Force instead. After serving three years, Paul returned to his hometown of southern California, where he started taking college classes part-time, and got a job. Paul was balancing his packed schedule while managing his emotional and physical disabilities when a chance meeting with a Veteran Service Officer accelerated his education and career goals. Soon after, Paul was approved for veteran disability benefits, and became a full-time student at California State University Channel Islands, from where he graduated in 2017 with a degree in communications. Through his connections with veteran services, Paul learned about opportunities available to him, including the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) and the USBLN Rising Leaders Mentoring Program (RLMP).

Paul applied to be a Rising Leader, and was paired with Ron Pettit, Director for Disability Inclusion & ADA Compliance at Royal Caribbean Cruises. The mentor/mentee relationship was a great fit. According to Paul, “Ron’s guidance in both crafting my resume and helping me become comfortable with my disabilities and negotiating workplace accommodations were extremely important in preparing me for job searches.” In fact, Ron’s guidance and Paul’s search were so successful that Paul secured his dream job before completing the mentoring program and graduating college.

Paul has always had an interest in pyrotechnics, so he naturally dreamed of working for the Walt Disney Company and being involved in their spectacular fireworks shows. During his last year at Cal State Channel Island, Paul learned about a job in Disney’s pyrotechnics department, applied, and was hired. Now Paul is looking forward to a long career and advancement with the Disney Parks & Resorts.

Paul’s advice to students with disabilities: apply to the WRP, the Rising Leaders Mentoring Program, and the Rising Leadership Academy. “These programs enable college students and student veterans with disabilities to become part of a group that is a great source for networking and launching a spectacular career path.”

The USBLN Rising Leaders Mentoring Program is designed to support students and recent graduates with disabilities as they navigate the professional world and answer unique questions that relate to entering the workforce. Visit usbln.org for more information about Rising Leaders Mentoring Program, and the Rising Leaders Academy at the 2018 USBLN Conference.


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