Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How People With Disabilities Choose AtWork!

Excerpt from an interview with Chris Brandt, AtWork! CEO, on NW Focus. Click here to see the entire interview.

We are trying to start with students with disabilities in high school at younger and younger ages every year. Right now we are looking to secure some funds so we can work with younger students in high school at around age 14 or so. We coordinate with the high school as they work on academic and vocational skills and align with an employment agency like AtWork! The goal is to insure that they graduate with a job. We typically work with students in their transition programs who are in their last year or two of high school. For students with developmental disabilities that is at age 20 or 21. They stay in high school until age 21. They have a few more years of that support and training. We know by working with those students in helping them to get a job that if a student graduates with a job they are much more likely get employed and stay employed.

Really the future of our clients is working with those students at young and younger ages. Right now that is a smaller portion of the people we serve but we want that to grow over time and make sure that that high school education is resulting in a job. Most of the people we serve are people 21 right up to 62. The majority of our clients are 25 to 35. They’re in the prime of their working careers, are ready and eager and are out there looking for jobs. They want to work for an employer and make a big difference in their company.

Most of the people we serve are referred to us from Division of Developmental Disabilities or the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation or from school districts through their school to work and transition programs. People with disabilities choose us actually. They may look at several different providers of employment serves, AtWork! being one of them. They may be looking at the staff, looking at the support and job opportunities and the success of that organization. Then they find the employment provider that best matches their needs. Typically they choose a provider that is close to where they live. People with disabilities are typically more successful if they work close to home. Most of them use public transportation and ACCESS transportation to get to work so it’s easier if they are closer. Nobody wants to spend a couple of hours on the bus going to and from, traffic is bad enough as it is. They’ll look for geographic location and success of outcomes. Are we actually doing what we say we do, are our services personalized? Then they pick us through an interview process.

posted by AtWork! at


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home