BUFFALO, N.Y. — A new facility in Buffalo is helping people with developmental disabilities find jobs by partnering with local businesses to give hands-on training.
The $1.4 million Jefferson Career Center on Buffalo's East Side is working to offer the tools and skills to succeed in a variety of fields. The state provided nearly $1 million in grants to help fund the project.
"People will leave their training here ready to be a great employee at whatever business or area they choose," said Community Services President/CEO Mindy Cervoni.
She says entering the workforce can sometimes be a difficult task for those with disabilities after they leave high school.
"We can have the person come here to our facility, take a look around, try different jobs out, figure out what they may be interested in doing," said Cervoni.
In one example, the Basil Family of Dealerships helped set up a garage to teach auto detailing.
"Anybody can be trained, but to have somebody who has it in them to want to work hard and to care about what they're doing is definitely hardest part," said Aaron Miechurski, detail manager for Basil. "I feel like people coming from this program will have that in them already."
Other disciplines include hotel housekeeping, office administration and food services. Each vocation has its own room for hands-on training, meant to simulate what it would really be like on the job.
"It will also make the job search process a lot easier once they have the skills and know what's involved in career before they jump in and get their feet wet," said Bryan Devans, vocational program coordinator.
People who go through the facility then have a chance to work for the business that trained them, or find jobs with other companies.
Many of the programs at the Jefferson Career Center are already up and running, with a major expansion of the food services training to begin in early 2018. Leaders plan to train about 180 people each year to join the workforce from the facility.
"The trainers have been trained, so it's just a matter of time before we get some people through the pipeworks," Miechurski said.