When Kara landed a job this summer at Hy-Vee, she knew her hard work on BCFR’s Life & Work Connections landscape crew had paid off. Her milestone was cause for celebration, as Kara, her colleagues on the crew and other staff took a few moments to mark her achievement. Kara is among more than a dozen young people with developmental disabilities who have developed skills for the workplace through training and participating this year on the BCFR landscape crew. More than half of those trainees have transitioned to community-based jobs. The landscape crew experience is intended to instill work skills that participants can carry with them into the adult working world – skills like following directions, focusing on tasks, completing tasks, achieving productivity standards and quality results, responding appropriately to supervisors/co-workers, attendance and punctuality, problem solving, safety, and teamwork.
Once Kara had demonstrated she was ready to advance, a Community Skills Specialist with Life & Skills Connections helped her pursue a job in the community, consulting behind the scenes with Hy-Vee to foster effective, natural supports in the workplace.
For school-age youth, such as Kara, training on the landscape crew or the BCFR’s work crew often represents their first paid work experience. Youth with developmental disabilities have historically not had the same opportunities for summer work and part-time jobs as their non-disabled peers, which leaves them at risk for graduating to the couch, post high school. Life & Work Connections’ work skills training programs help expand opportunities for youth and young adults by preparing them for work in the community.
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