WiN PROGRAM LAUNCHES — The launch of the collaborative Kelberman Center and Utica College WiN (Work Internship Network) program recently took place during National Disability Employment Awareness Month on Oct. 25 at Utica College. Pictured are Joanne Donaruma-Wade, Kelberman Center board member; Crystal Hilts, Kelberman Center director of vocational and transition services; Jason Holland, intern; Laura Casamento, president of Utica College and Kelberman Center board member; Harry Kelberman, intern; Emira Hrustanovic, intern; Timothy Hamlin, intern; Anthony Sbarra, intern; John Johnsen, provost of Utica College and Rob Myers, Kelberman Center executive director. (Photo submitted)
Kelberman Center, Utica College launch WiN program
The launch of the collaborative Kelberman Center and Utica College WiN (Work Internship Network) program recently took place during National Disability Employment Awareness Month on Oct. 25 at Utica College.
The WiN program offers a vocational experience in a professional work environment. Supported by Kelberman behavior specialists with expertise in autism, WiN provides real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent living skills to help youth with autism and other disabilities make successful transitions from school to productive adult life.
The WiN program provides ongoing support for 10 months in order to transform lives through meaningful work.
According to Dr. Robert Myers, Kelberman Center Executive Director, “The ultimate goal for each WiN participant is to develop work readiness skills to attain paid employment. At the completion of the internship program, students with autism and related intellectual disabilities are positioned to enjoyed rewarding jobs in our community.
“Just two months into the current program, two participants have been offered paid positions – a success rate far exceeding the typical employment rate of people with developmental disabilities which is historically below 20 percent employed. The Kelberman Center is extremely grateful to the Utica College community of staff and students who have welcomed our interns and embraced the program to ensure continued success.”
Utica College President Laura Casamento commented, “We are proud to be a part of this initiative – to help young people with special needs discover their abilities and realize their greatest potential as individuals and members of their community. We are grateful for their willingness to share their time and talents with us.”
For more information on the WiN program, please contact Crystal Hilts at the Kelberman Center at 315-797-6241 extension 330.