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Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

WorkAbility Program enables side-by-side job opportunities

The department of Campus Recreation and Unions (CRU) has expanded its relationship with Team Davis and together they have implemented the new WorkAbility Program at the ARC.

Team Davis is a volunteer non-profit organization that assists children and adults with disabilities through sports and recreational activities. WorkAbility is a federally funded program that is associated with the Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD), Yolo County Office of Education (YCOE) and partners Best Buddies and Autism Awareness Club and has helped over three million disabled people in career developmental programs.

With the new launch at the ARC, it seeks to provide 18 to 22-year-olds the opportunity to build job skills within our facilities in hopes of gaining independence and preparation for the real world.

“Unemployment is a real problem for individuals with disabilities and the WorkAbility program strives to help address this issue,” Robin Dewey, president of Team Davis said. “But it is always difficult to find appropriate WorkAbility sites. UC Davis is really stepping up to the plate to help bridge this gap.”

CRU will register students of DJUSD and YCOE as volunteers of the University. WorkAbility job mentors are responsible for training the volunteers to work together with UC Davis students. Students will be directly compensated for their hours worked. The training phase is reaching completion and the pilot work site will begin December at the ARC in hopes of expanding to other departments.

“The program will start out small and then hopefully grow and expand as time goes on,” Heather Zoller, senior assistant director of Recreation and Campus Recreation and Unions Event Services said. “The goal is that by the end of the program the students will be able to independently find jobs in the community.”

All UC Davis students are able to participate in the program through volunteering. The choice is open to either become a job mentor in the program or participate in an Ags United Intramural Sports team as a referee, supervisor or teammate to Team Davis athletes.

“The wonderful aspect of this partnership is that it is truly mutually beneficial,” said Laura Hall, director of Recreation and Department of Campus Recreation and Unions.

This unique partnership between CRU and Team Davis is opening doors for both parties to emphasize inclusivity and community. While UC Davis students gain leadership and mentoring skills, WorkAbility volunteers will simultaneously develop work skills for future professional opportunities.

“The program reflects our campus’ value of community,” third-year computer science major Arvind Badrinarayanan said. “I think it’s an awesome way to encourage interaction with local community members with disabilities.”



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