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Paid Internships On the Rise at UCP WORK, Inc.

By Rae van Seenus on Mar 14, 2019 at 03:33 PM in UCP WORK, Inc. Blog

Having been a program participant at the UCP WORK, Inc. Applied Abilities Program for years, Carlos Ibarra, has learned a wide array of job skills and moved on to the Braided Services Program, the newest support services initiative, launched in 2018, through UCP WORK, Inc.  After the skillful coaching and job placement by UCP WORK, Inc. Employment Specialist, Rosie Salazar, Carlos has been offered a paid internship at Al-Pho, a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant.  He has also received his Certificate of Completion as a Certified Food Handler, an accomplishment he is deeply proud of, as he should be.  Carlos is the second paid intern placed in competitive employment over the past month in Santa Maria, along with Alvie Hernandez, who has been working as a paid intern at Spencer's Market.   

About Braided Services

First of its kind in the County of Santa Barbara, the Braided Services Program of UCP WORK Inc., offers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities a fully integrated employment skills training service that puts it on the cutting edge in the state, resulting in an upward shift in employment for people with disabilities.  Participants are offered the unique opportunity to go through an employment assessment process, take specific courses, and learn job skills within a classroom and community setting.  The courses offered are person-centered, which UCP WORK Inc. describes as a focus on the individuals strengths and aspirations, and less on one’s disability. As its primary goal, the Braided Services Program focuses on building partnerships with local businesses to provide paid internships and foster inclusive employment practices to its participating students. 

According to Matt Dursam, Director of the Applied Abilities Programs, North County, “Traditional day programs are going to be obsolete in the near future. People with disabilities, their families and service providers are moving towards full integration programs, which offers free choice to all members, regardless of their disability. The goal is to find jobs for our members in the community and bridge the gap between youth services and adult services.” Matt also believes that California is leading the trend as more companies are hiring people with disabilities and using the resources available through programs, like Braided Services.  

For more information about the Braided Services Program at UCP WORK, Inc., contact Judy Linares, Director of Program Services at [email protected] or visit