Work-Ability is the name of a California Department of Education program designed to give individual attention to special education students in the areas of vocational preparedness, work experience and career placement. Structured in individual regions throughout the state, Work-Ability provides school-based career development, but also funded internships.
A key to benefit from this government resource is for families to fully explore the program in order to take advantage of individualized services.
One way to learn about Work-Ability is to google the Family Transition Network Committee. This group offers Transition Journeys, an informal newsletter that provides ideas and practices in utilizing transition services. According to one website, the Network chair, Denice Welter, can be reached at 805 497-355. The Department of Ed. consultant specializing in Work-Ability is Linda Wyatt at 916 322-3254.
Ideally, as seen by one case study from Transition Journeys, Work-Ability can include multiple job-site exposures and internships. Throughout the secondary period of education, these exposures can “dovetail” with school experiences (as well as with personal connections to Work-Ability mentoring) to guide a student to establishment of strong career-interest areas. And, perhaps just as important, can guide a student into paid internships that match those same career interests.
One approach to finding individualized mentoring for a student is to work with a locally based Work-Ability mentor. Mentors work under the direction and training of one or more regional manager.
Another and more comprehensive approach is to contact and to reach out to the regional manager in your area. Manager Lisa Fettig (firstname.lastname@example.org OR 530-723-8888) explains that parents can access a directory of mentors. Finding mentors in different areas may be important if their is an industry or job opportunity of interest to you that lies outside of your Work-Ability region. For example, for a student in a small town in Yolo County who is interested in State Government or the UC Davis Medical Center, it may be helpful to reach out to a mentor or manager in Sacramento who has had direct experience with these career areas.