Summer Workplace Readiness Program

What would it be like for someone with a disability to work at Disneyland or Apple?

Over four stimulating weeks this summer, young adults age 16 and older who are blind or visually impaired discovered their workplace potential and gained skills in Wayfinder’s Transition Services Summer Program. Students resided in dorms on our Los Angeles campus for an immersive, seven-day-per-week experience.

“We used a curriculum called Putting Your Best Foot Forward,” says Mark Hanohano, Wayfinder’s adult services program coordinator. “And we added
components like visiting employers and talking to people who are visually impaired about their careers.” From professionals at Disneyland, Universal Studios and Apple, the students learned about pathways to fulfilling jobs for people with disabilities.

The favorite part of the summer transition program for Destiny, age 24, was personal interactions. “I really liked meeting new friends with different personalities,” she says. “I bonded with my roommates during the month I was in L.A.”

The students completed strengths assessments and explored careers aligned with their aptitudes—and the education needed to get there. “I learned about my strengths and skills,” Destiny says, “and how to have self-confidence.”

The summer program also included writing effective résumés and mock interviews. “I learned the questions you should and shouldn’t ask in an interview,” says Adrian, age 18. “I learned when and how to disclose your disability.”

This fall, Adrian enrolled in a community college to begin pursuing his dream
of becoming an English teacher. By attending the summer program, “Adrian realized how much work he needs to do to get where he wants to be,” says Mark. After his first year in college, Adrian plans to attend Wayfinder’s Davidson Program for Independence next summer to develop his skills in braille, independent living and safe solo travel.

Destiny has started job hunting. She and her fiancé are planning to get married. “I need to establish my new home and be stable,” she says.

“The summer program shows students why it’s important to have a job and how to overcome challenges,” says Mark. “We help students understand how to prepare for future employment using the tools we give them.”




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September 20, 2021