4. Project Contact & Staff Guidelines

Project Contact

The project contact is responsible for the coordination of their program’s site services and support.

Responsibilities include ensuring:

  • That the WorkAbility End of Year reporting data and documentation is submitted according to CDE requirements and timelines

  • Student Services and Placements meet the grant minimums

  • Mandatory Meeting Attendance requirements are met

  • Information is dissemination among site staff

  • Providing a summer contact name and number for CDE questions

The project contact must be an official employee of the grant recipient. L.E.A. positions and titles are not relevant.

Fiscal and Budget

The fiscal year for WAI services runs from July 1 to June 30. It is recommended that WAI staff be knowledgeable of their own budget. Develop a working knowledge of line items, times, deadlines, payroll, workers compensation and the key people within the district with whom you'll need to work with to develop and manage your budget.

First, review End of Year procedures, timelines and forms. Second, work with your local fiscal support to clarify the budget and check with them through the year to anticipate if money is being spent appropriately, or if a budget revision is necessary. Make sure midyear and final budget expenditure reports are submitted by your fiscal department on or before the deadline. Spend all of your money by June 30th or money will be deducted from next year’s grant. There is no carryover.

Forms on the WAI Collection Site: www.caworkability.org

Meeting Attendance Requirements

Mandatory WAI Statewide Business Meetings and Trainings (at least one, but no more than two annual meetings per program year): The WAI State/Regional Training Committee shall recommend the structure and content of the meetings as well as the option of joint sponsors to the WAI State Advisory Committee for discussion and approval. Statewide trainings will be inclusive of all stakeholders.

3-2015 Authorized Expenditures & Accountability

WorkAbility I Students Served and Placed

Each program must maintain evidence/dates for required Array of Services so that a student can be counted as served and placed. Review Array of Services to determine which elements have been provided to students. WAI staff needs to know their target numbers, served and placed. Contact your mentor or Region Manager if you are having difficulty.

  • Served – a WAI-served student must be provided career/vocational assessment, employment/post-secondary education planning (School-Based Preparatory Experiences), a minimum of one service from the Career Preparation & Work Based Learning Experiences and one service from the Collaboration/Youth Development & Leadership section.

  • Placed – high school students receive paid opportunities – which is any student receiving a paycheck through subsidized or unsubsidized wages.

    • Subsidized – WorkAbility I Grant Funding, WIA, DOR, etc.

    • Unsubsidized – Paid by employer.

Note: “Placed” numbers are determined by calculating 25% of the students a program is funded to serve. Refer to www.caworkability.org for your current numbers to be served and placed.

Array of Services

WorkAbility I (WAI) is a model transition program for youth with disabilities. The activities listed on the WorkAbility I Array of Services are critical elements of an effective delivery system for transition services as mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and stated in the California Education Code (EC) Sections 56470–56474.

For more information on the Array of Services, please visit CDE's WorkAbility I Array of Services Definitions page.

Resources for delivering the Array of Services can be found on the WorkAbility Central "WorkAbility I - Array of Services" site.

*Middle School Age Requirements: Middle school programs may begin in the 7th grade. Students must be at least age 11 years old and cannot be entered into the database until this age is reached.

Business Plan Template

Marketing and Program Presentation

A strategic marketing plan is an essential ongoing part of a successful WorkAbility I Program. Programs are encouraged to develop partnerships that mutually benefit your students and the employee by visiting employers; developing brochures and business cards for your program; giving presentations to school boards, teachers, service groups, career fairs, and parent workshops; network at Regional and state meetings; utilize the BEL (Business, Education & Labor) newsletter; Employer recognitions (certificates, luncheons (with CDE pre-approval), thank you/holiday cards); Chamber of Commerce meetings; service organizations and agencies.

The information contained in this section includes detailed lists of suggestions to consider when developing a marketing plan to “sell” WorkAbility 1 and ideas for showing appreciation to those who participate in the process of providing WA1 programs and services to students. An exemplary WorkAbility I program strives to develop collaborative relationships with all of the individuals involved in the process, including the employers, district employees, community agencies, students and families. The mutual goal is to provide students with meaningful job related experiences.

Marketing needs to be considered in five areas: 1) WorkAbility I staff; 2) at the district level; 3) at the school sites with administrators, classified and certificated staff members; 4) with students and families; and 5) within the local community.

Effective marketing will include forming partnerships that involve individuals at each of these levels. One key to success will be finding jobs that match each student’s interests and ability levels. This will require ongoing job development efforts. Successful marketing of the program will include public relations at every level and showing appreciation to all.

WorkAbility I Staff

Professional appearance is essential. WorkAbility staff members are role models for what is expected from students and are the first contact employers have with the school district. In order to do the job effectively, they need a job description which outlines the specific duties they will be expected to perform. In addition, they need to receive initial training and ongoing staff development. If a cutting edge WorkAbility I program exists in the area, a mentoring relationship can be developed.

Factors for staff to consider in marketing the WAI program include:

    1. positive work habits including a positive attitude, confidentiality, timeliness, responsibility, follow-through and good listening skills

    2. a professional appearance in dress and grooming

    3. a professional appearance of one’s workplace

    4. voicemail or an answering machine

    5. business cards

    6. letterhead stationary

    7. possibly a web page

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Dress appropriately

  • Demonstrate a positive, enthusiastic attitude

  • Keep paperwork to a minimum

  • Be timely in your contacts and follow-up

  • Task Analysis

  • Have a well thought-out plan

  • Match the worksite to the appropriate students

  • Follow business etiquette and protocol

  • Be willing to accept and implement business standards and practices

  • Assess employer preferences regarding visitations, training, and evaluation

  • Find out the employer’s needs

  • Communicate up front regarding needs and constraints

  • Have staff for employers/student support and monitor

  • Always make site observations regarding environments, duties, and personnel

  • Have knowledge of employer’s rules and regulations, i.e., dress code, safety procedures, policies

  • Communicate changes in staff or procedures to both business and program staff

  • Show appreciation; acknowledge employer participation

Note: Mentors please refer to Strategic Alliance Handbook for further resources and information.

District Office and Governing Board

Remember: It is very important to learn who the key players are that can impact the success of your program. These might include, but not be limited to staff in each of these departments:

  • Superintendent’s office

  • Fiscal Department

  • Human Resources

  • Transportation

  • Special Education

Some opportunities to highlight the WA 1 program might include:

    • Presentations at board meetings

    • Newsletters and other publications with WAI updates

    • Follow-up thank you notes

    • Sharing positive updates about the WAI program in conversations

    • Saying “ thank you” and showing your appreciation on a regular basis

Site Administrators

    • Meet with site administrators regularly (schedule or as needed).

Site Secretaries and Custodians and Other Service Staff

    • Regularly thank them for their help and assistance. Provide gestures of appreciation.

Ways to market at the site level may include:

Most of the same methods used at the district level. Include secretaries, custodians and food service staff, as appropriate.

    • Special Events

      • appreciation breakfast or lunches

      • appreciation certificates

    • Publications

      • articles in the school newspaper

      • articles in newsletters

      • provide outside agency brochures as appropriate

    • Meetings

      • presentations at faculty meetings, 1-2 times per year

      • attend departmental meetings (all appropriate departments)

      • provide guest speakers

Teacher/Staff Support

The following is a list of avenues available to WorkAbility 1 staff to inform site level staff about WorkAbility I:

    • Meetings

      • Site department meetings

      • IEP/ITP meetings

    • Day-to-Day Interactions

      • Assist teachers to write ITP goals

    • Publications

      • Newsletters with helpful information and recognition

      • WorkAbility brochures to share ITP meetings

    • Brochures for outside agencies