Celebrating a Year of Inclusive Work
By Lindsay MacCary
Looking back on 2016, the School-to-Work team is proud to reflect upon a successful year! In 2016 our team of four employment consultants served 22 students from schools spanning King County, all the while diligently collaborating with students, teachers, families and other members of support networks on the journey to best understand students’ strengths, interests and support needs.
With individuals’ employment goals in mind, the School to Work team spent countless hours in the community working to pair students’ unique abilities with business’ needs. Supportive and inclusive employers made it possible for 17 students to procure long-term employment suiting their strengths and interests, taking the significant leap into their futures with the start of their first paid jobs. Students joined teams at large name businesses such as Lowe’s, Marriott and QFC and small local businesses including Rylie Cakes Gluten Free Bakery and Early World Montessori.
Northwest Center continues to provide ongoing job coaching support to ensure that individuals maintain their employment progress down the professional path of their choosing. The jobs procured last year signify much more than a first job for our students; they signify a breakdown of barriers, a defiance of expectations and a demonstration of their incredible skills and abilities.
Employers have shared overwhelmingly positive feedback regarding their new employees; noting increases in productivity, improved team culture and high quality contributions. Students and their families have noticed significant gains in self-confidence, attitude and skills/abilities both in and out of the workplace.
School to Work has large plans in the works for 2017, including serving more students while maintaining the same high quality services we currently provide.
By increasing the breadth and scope of our outreach, we can spread pertinent information regarding the importance of strong School to Work program involvement to teachers and families prior to the students’ final year of school. This gives the students more time and opportunity to learn the aspects of the working world.
We look forward to a prosperous 2017 and can’t wait to share new developments with all of you. Happy New Year from Northwest Center.
Northwest Center is passionate about equal rights, anti-ableism, and full inclusion for people with disabilities. Thank you for reading.