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WorkAbility programs provide some students with special needs job skills and employment

Special Services WorkAbility program Graduation is a special transition time for many of the students in Special Services Community Based Instruction (CBI) classes. At age 21, students have learned life skills such as navigating their city's bus system and managing a checking account. They have also picked up many marketable job skills through their WorkAbility assignments. While many transition into adult programs such as ABLE Industries or the Creative Center, students in Anne Clifford's Tulare CBI class want to "get a job!" Based on their work experience and the excellent character development training (utilizing the CHARACTER COUNTS! Program) infused in daily instruction, several of them were well on their way to meeting that goal.

Lupe Fernandez has worked at Smart & Final in Tulare for the last three years through the WorkAbility Program, specifically on the manager's request. He has done an outstanding job and was always rated 'excellent' on his bi-monthly time cards. "His supervisor tells me that Lupe starts working the minute he walks through the doors," says Ms. Clifford. "We are hoping that this fall, Lupe may be hired to work at that store." Ms. Clifford also reports that Lupe is an excellent role model. "He knows what the Pillars of Character stand for and he practices each one on a daily basis. He can often be heard telling another student to do the right thing."

Special Services WorkAbility program For two years, Kevin Valdez worked at Little Caesar's Pizza in Tulare, performing many different job duties in the kitchen. His supervisors soon discovered Kevin was good at almost any job he was given. This past school year, Kevin worked in the kitchen at Chili's. His supervisor said that Kevin is one of the best workers they have because he, "stays focused until the job is done."

"Congratulations to the 48 Special Services program graduates," says County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. "And congratulations to the teachers and aides who helped these young people become successes. We are proud of you!"

Photos above:
~ Lupe Fernandez at work at Smart & Final.
~ Kevin Valdez in the kitchen at Chili's.