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My Experience with Connect 700: Eric Nooker

Soil Scientist with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture

3/22/2018 10:00:12 AM

ASL version

If you are DeafBlind or prefer to watch the video in a slow-paced, high contrast format, watch the DeafBlind friendlier ASL version instead.

English version

>>> Cookie Roang: Governor Dayton issued Executive Order 14-14 in 2014, directing state agencies to increase employment for people with disabilities to at least seven percent by August 2018.

In 2016, Governor Dayton and state leaders announced the Connect 700 (C 700) program. This program is designed to remove barriers and create opportunities for Minnesotans with disabilities to be hired for state jobs.

Are you deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing and interested in working for the State of Minnesota? Consider signing up for the Connect 700 program. Eric Nooker will share his experience with you so that you can get an idea of how the program works. 

>>>Eric: I turned in a completed C700 application, and a few days later I received a C700 certificate. Since all full-time permanent state jobs are eligible, I began searching for a state job that would fit my experience, skills, and interests. 

I have a Master’s of Science in soil science, so I applied for a soil science job at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. I completed my application as typically is done, and also e-mailed the hiring manager my C700 certificate. I made sure I tailored my resume to the position description to show that I was qualified and that I met the minimum requirements for the job.  During my interview, the interviewers and I went back and forth asking each other questions. We all wanted to make sure that I was a good fit for this job. I was considered qualified, and I decided to accept the job. 

I was assigned to complete 700 hours of pre-probationary work, which meant I was working the job, but I did not receive full benefits. Typically, once you work 700 hours and are evaluated, you will move into a six-month probationary period. You will then begin receiving full benefits. However, if your hiring manager decides you’re a great fit before 700 hours, you can be converted to the probationary period after you’ve been on the job for 30 work days like in my case. (Hiring managers can decide to work with Human Resources to advance the C700 employee earlier than 30 days if they want to do that.)

In my experience, working for the state is hard work, but if you are passionate about your work, it can be a lot of fun. I’ve had a great experience working for the State of Minnesota. As part of my job, I’ve had to advocate for different important issues. I have also been lucky in that I’ve had a large support system that includes, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) commissioner’s office, the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing Minnesotans (MNCDHH), my hiring manager, and the ADA Coordinator at the Department of Agriculture.

>>> Cookie: Eric got his opportunity to work for the state thanks to the Connect 700 program. He applied for jobs that met his skills and made sure that his resume showed the skills that the job required. He worked hard and his hiring manager saw that he was a great fit for the job. Connect 700 can work for you too. Learn more about Connect 700 at the Connect 700 webpage.


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