AtWork! needs help finding student jobs

April 13, 2009

By Chantelle Lusebrink

 

AtWork! officials are quickly trying to find jobs for three local developmentally delayed adults in the School to Work Program, before the funding runs out. 

“The School to Work program probably won’t continue, as it isn’t in the state budgets,” said Jane Kuechle, the organization’s chief development officer.

Legislators have told them funding is not likely going to be available, she said.

The program was started in 2001 to help students with developmental disabilities leave school with a job and help create a more seamless transition into adult life with supportive services from AtWork! The program costs about $6,000 per student each year.

For eight years, the program has had on average 10 students each year and has placed them successfully into jobs. 

“Having a job will help these students feel that they are valued, that they are confident, they have money to spend on the things they want and that they are accepted,” Kuechle said. 

“I think the No. 1 thing is sense of accomplishment and being a contributing member of the Issaquah community. The end result of that is increased self-esteem,” said Debbie Moore, a school-to-career specialist with the school district who works with AtWork! “I think that for businesses, it would support an atmosphere of diversity in the workplace. I think our students also reinforce real team effort within their organizations. 

“Other things businesses get with our students is a support network,” she added. “If something comes up or there is an obstacle being approached, or if they are having difficulty working with a student, our students, unlike other people, come with a point person to help them work through it.” 

Program workers are hoping community members in the area will call or e-mail them with tips for jobs, places that are hiring and new ideas, Kuechle said. 

elp a student find work

William, an Issaquah resident, is looking for work in the landscaping, warehouse or general labor fields. He has had paid and unpaid internships in landscaping, stocking, and maintenance. He is a very productive and hard worker. He is capable of working an eight-hour day, but would like to work with others. He struggles with speaking, but understands and follows all direction efficiently and with an attention to detail. 

 

Kevin is an Issaquah resident looking for work in the customer service, food or general labor industries. He can do light to medium physical tasks and can work in customer service. He has worked at an assisted living community, setting tables in the dining room, has worked at his school library arranging books and cleaning, and worked at a local drug store shelving merchandise, as well as recycling. Kevin struggles with communicating clearly with others, but understands and follows direction. He is looking to work between 13 hours and 15 hours a week at a job that has him working no more than three hours at a time. 

 

Maja is a Bellevue resident looking for work in the clerical and office, animal or general labor industries. She is well-spoken and enjoys interacting with animals and people, but struggles to speak up for herself. She is intelligent and capable of working between 15 hours and 25 hours a week for up to six hours at a time. She would do well in an office or working with animals.

Call 274-4030 or e-mail janek@atworkwa.org.

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