AtWork! helps each client plan their pathway to a job and career; completes an assessment of skills, talents, and barriers; provides trial work/volunteer experience; skill development; 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 April 2010 AtWork! placed 7 people in new jobs, our best month ever! David, who was laid off and looking for a job for over a year, is the new Green Ambassador for Coinstar. Hired on Earth Day to launch Coinstar's new environmental initiatives, David collects recyclables at corporate headquarters. The program is modeled after the recycling program at Costco where 6 individuals have jobs. Coinstar employees are proud of their company's commitment to "going green" and employing people with disabilities. David is proud of his contributions, his paycheck, and his new friends. In the last 7 months, 12 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 cut funding, 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.