AtWork! helps each client plan their pathway to a job and career; completes an assessment of skills, talents, and barriers; provides on-the-job precision teaching and job coaching; then follow along supports for job retention. We find unique opportunities where business needs are satisfied in a job that has been "customized" to match the talents of a particular job candidate. This approach is a win/win, meeting both the needs of the person with disabilities and the business.
AtWork! serves high school students with a variety of intellectual, sensory, emotional, and physical disabilities who are transitioning from school to work . We are known for our services to people with very complex and multiple disabilities, people often turned away from other agencies as unemployable. Working in partnership with school personnel, we are 98% successful in securing jobs for the students we serve BEFORE they graduate.
Businesses Powered By AtWork!
In AtWork!'s social enterprises, people with disabilities have an opportunity to develop skills in document management, packaging, assembly, landscaping and recycling. Learning workplace behaviors of punctuality, team building and focus helps individuals to create a resume of success that prepares them for a job in the community. Each business creates income for clients it employs and profit to support AtWork!'s mission of serving people with disabilities.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In 2013 AtWork! placed 50 people in jobs, our best year ever! Ten young adults from the Bellevue School District are enjoying their first jobs, including Michael and Jon with Seattle Boat Company. Also in 2013, 30 businesses decided to hire their first employee with disabilities. More businesses are recognizing the benefits of employing people with disabilities to employee morale, customer loyalty, and the bottom-line.
Research shows that 80% of students with disabilities who leave school without a job in place fail to achieve integrated employment as an adult. People with disabilities who don’t have a stable support system are less to retain their job after placement. The state continues to adjust how funding is calculated, so new supports are needed to help clients find jobs; as well as to keep the jobs secure long-term. People with complex disabilities are often the first to be cut because they are considered to be the least employable. With natural, unpaid, and paid supports, everyone can work and contribute. The challenge is to find and bring together the resources so that no one is left behind.