Variety Works provides career choices, experiences, instruction and support for individuals with disabilities.
Choices – People with disabilities often don’t have the same choices for employment that their typically functioning peers do, for a variety of reasons. We overcome these reasons with a behavior-analytic based career assessment, a wide range of training program locations and community business partners, and a programmatic structure that allows for individuals to learn and develop skills at their own pace.
Experience – In order to be successfully employed, people need to have exposure to a wide range of social and community experiences. Our program is designed to offer our participants an array of these experiences, to help them generalize skills and make educated decisions about their career pathways. These experiences happen both on our campus in our greenhouse, commercial kitchen, office, landscaping and creative areas as well as in the community at many area businesses who are excited to provide work exposure experiences to our participants.
Instruction – Most people, regardless of their ability level, don’t lose their jobs because they can’t do the work, but rather because something goes awry in the social arena at the job. Variety Works provides both formal instruction through a universally accessible curriculum of social skills as well as modeling, visual tools, and adaptations in both on-campus and community locations.
Support – Variety Works intends to provide supports for the individual throughout their life. Intensive training and instruction will give our participants a solid skill base from which to start their careers, and our job-coaching and Community Business Partner programs will give them the help they need to be successful in community employment until they are independently working for no less than minimum wage. Should circumstances arise, Variety Works will be there to help negotiate job transitions, employer relations, and continued training to ensure everyone in the process is successful and productive.
For more information on Variety Works or any of Variety’s other programs:
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Assessment – Our assessment is designed to be universally accessible to people regardless of ability level. Our assessment identifies barriers to successful community employment such as behaviors, accessibility of social supports, health and safety concerns, sensory considerations, preferences, social and job skills baselines. Our assessment utilizes at least two community businesses of the participant’s choice to define barriers and test accommodations.
Training Program – Our training program provides participants with an array of skills areas to learn, including garden/greenhouse, commercial kitchen, customer service, production, landscaping and office skills. This program is set up by using task analysis to divide job skills into three tiers: Tier 1 is basic skills, Tier 2 is advanced skills and Tier 3 combines all skills into processes with a focus on independence and problem-solving. This tiered system utilizes daily data collection and allows participants to learn and develop skills and an individual pace.
Curriculum – In conjunction with the training program, we developed a social skills curriculum that defines requisite social skills, helps participants identify those skills in others, provides tools for supporting skill use in the program and community, and opportunities for modeling appropriate responses in peers. This curriculum is designed to be either stand alone or repeated, thereby creating space for individuals to gain mastery at their own pace.
Job Coaching – Once participants have completed all the tiers and the curriculum, and the team agrees, Variety Works utilizes its Community Business Partners program to identify, acquire, and adapt jobs for the individual in their chosen field. We assist employers in creating work environments that meet the needs of both the business and the individual, train the individual both on campus and then at the work site, provide support at the level required and then fade supports when the person is working independently. Our job coaches are always available for consulting, trouble-shooting, and/or restarting the process as needed.
For more information on Community-Based Work Assessments:
For more information on Job Coaching: