Welcome to WorkAbility Central!
The WorkAbility I (WAI) grant programs provide comprehensive training in work, employment placement and follow-up for middle and high school students in special education who are making the transition from school to work, independent living and post-secondary education or training. The WAI program is funded and administered by the California Department of Education and offers special education students the opportunity to complete their secondary education while also obtaining marketable job skills for success in the modern labor market.
History of WorkAbility I
The California Department of Education completed a two-year study in 1981 that provided substantive information concerning the status of vocational programs for students with disabilities. Results of the study indicated that these students were not being adequately prepared for the labor market.
WorkAbility I was initiated in November 1981 as a pilot project to test the concept of work experience for youth with disabilities.
WorkAbility I continues to successfully conduct interagency coordination of services which began with a September 1982 Employment Development Department, State Department of Rehabilitation and California Department of Education non-financial interagency agreement.
In July 1999, a Task Force of WorkAbility I practitioners was organized to align WorkAbility I with state and federal transition initiatives for youth with disabilities. As of August 2002, WorkAbility has funded high school and middle school programs.
Through a designation as one of the ten best transition programs of its type in the United States, WorkAbility I has received national recognition of its success in matching young adults with disabilities with employers who need workers.
In 2012 WorkAbility I celebrated its 30th anniversary.