The Workability Program at VC-Pauma Unified School District searches for businesses that need help with additional tasks and want to support children with disabilities and disabilities. In most cases, they are intellectually disabled, although some have other problems such as autism.
The Roadrunner recently interviewed Wendy Doria, Program Director and Marc Wasserman, Education Specialist, about the program, which provides enthusiastic young workers who have just entered the workforce. Businesses can use them at no cost to the business, although students are paid and receive workers compensation from the school district.
Often, the Workability job will be the first job for these young adults. It teaches them that they can be successful in the “real” world. The program emphasizes the philosophy: “You are not your handicap”. It gives children the opportunity to learn and discover the joys of work.
Students are adept at tasks such as basic cleaning, vacuuming, restaurant work, office filing, and product storage, among others. According to Wasserman, “The children will be supervised by a district employee. He added, “We have a lot of high performing kids coming into the program in the fall and we need jobs for them.”
About ten Workability students will be looking for a job. Young workers are available to work part-time, two or three times a week. Often times, employees are so successful that they are hired by the company after their time with Workability has ended.
The program also runs classes for students on topics such as getting the job done, engaging with clients, and punctuality. The goal is to help them become as independent and productive as possible.
“You don’t have to pay the students,” Doria said, “and you get someone who is enthusiastic, enthusiastic and motivated. “
Workability, which has been active at Valley Center since 2002, has partnered with over 30 venture capital firms during this time, including Grangeetto’s Farm & Supply, Valley Center Nursery, Fat Ivor’s Rib Rack, CVS and Lilac Foods, to name a few.
If you would like to know more, contact Wendy Doria, Program Coordinator at 760- or Marc Wasserman, Education Specialist at 760-751-5500.