The WorkAbility I (WAI) grant program provides comprehensive pre-employment skills training, employment placement and follow-up for high school students enrolled in special education who are making the transition from school to work, independent living, and post-secondary education or training. The WAI program offers special education students an opportunity to complete their secondary education while also obtaining marketable job skills. The WAI program is funded and administered by the California Department of Education, Special Education Department.
We can help our students by assisting each student with planning, implementing, and monitoring their dreams and goals, with collaboration and support from families, instructors, and community members. Our WorkAbility Program provides a full array of work-based learning opportunities, throughout the school year and during the summer. We support teachers and administrators by providing WorkAbility Staff at every school site, and offering guidance on transition issues.
Our vision of the Workability I Program is to insure that our students will be prepared for gainful employment, relevant post-secondary education, and quality adult life to their fullest potential
Through our Workability I (WAI) grant we support over 50 middle school students yearly in becoming career and college ready. In 2012-2013, at Natomas Middle School (NMS) we had two resource specialist teachers actively work with their 7th and 8th grade students in gaining awareness of their learning styles, career interests, and also, introducing them to college. The outreach specialists from both Sacramento City College and American River College spoke to students about career and academic programs available at local community colleges. Next, the transition specialist and job developer worked with the SDC class at NMS in promoting career awareness and especially drawing the connection between what students learn in school to how it affects how they will be prepared for future employment.
At the high school level, we serve over 100 students yearly in career readiness and exploration. In 2012-2013, students worked on career assessments, self advocacy, visited various colleges (Sacramento State University, Sacramento City College, American River College), and were exposed to a host of post secondary vocational programs, including career speakers from California Conservation Corps and Job Corps. We also placed high school 40 students in 80 hour job placement experiences in business partnerships in the community.
For students referred to Workability I Job Placement, we continue to teach work ready skills in our “Job Clubs” at the 3 different high schools. In this 7 week program students prepare for the world of work. Students learn about the 10 traits of successful workers, application preparation, interview practice, work appearance and hygiene, first day on the job, timesheets, payroll forms, tax forms, how to keep the job and a specially added module requested by our business partners, “Customer Service.” Students dress for success for the final mock interview. Additionally, at the Natomas High School Job Club, the supervisor from “Think Together,” one of our business partners, offered to conduct the final interviews. He patiently gave each student feedback on their interview.