WACO Project

Event dates: June 14 – July 17, 2020

The Work and College Opportunities (W.A.C.O.) project at Texas A&M is a 5-week program held in the summer for adults with a disability.

TWC-VR Transition Services, The Brazos Center for Independent Living (BVCIL) and the Center on Disability and Development collaborate to provide a unique college and employment experience. This work program for TWC customers is held at Texas A&M. Participants receive:

  • Development and instruction in professionalism,
  • Self-determination,
  • Self-advocacy,
  • Teamwork,
  • Assistive technology,
  • Independent living skills, and
  • Other related areas connected to employment and college attendance while participating in a paid work experience in the Bryan/College Station community.

25 young adults will be selected to attend. Participants live on-campus dormitories. They experience and learn about college opportunities and work in the community 16-20 hours a week. Emphasis areas include:

  • Development of vocational skills,
  • Career exploration, and
  • Independent living skills.

The employment sites, job coaches and transportation are provided by BVCIL.

Your acceptance is not guaranteed. A panel of reviewers will score your application after the application deadline, March 6, 2020. You will be notified by April 1, 2020 of the application status.

Individuals applying for the W.A.C.O project must be 18 years of age by the program start date, June 14, 2020. Complete applications must be submitted and received by March 6, 2020.

Mentors (STARS) Wanted

Ideal mentors will:

  • Seek opportunities to teach students with disabilities
  • Have experience working with individuals with disabilities (not a requirement)
  • Have work availability up to 10-20 hours per week

About the Program

WACO Project & Brazos Valley SEAL Program

The WACO Project is conducted around the same time as the Brazos Valley Summer Earn and Learn (SEAL) program, but will not compete with that program. Brazos Valley SEAL is at least twice as long in duration, non-residential, and utilizes a separate base of community employers and other partners. Brazos Valley SEAL also serves only customers who reside within the Brazos Valley Workforce Board area, while the WACO Project serves customers from not only the Brazos Valley, but also:

  • Capitol Area,
  • Central Texas,
  • Deep East Texas,
  • Heart of Texas,
  • Gulf Coast,
  • Rural Capital, and
  • potentially other Workforce Board areas.
WACO Project Trainees

WACO Project trainees participate in specially designed classes on self-advocacy/self-determination and professionalism on the Texas A&M campus and are given the opportunity to audit A&M or Blinn College courses based on their career interests. Their interests are matched with the needs of community business partners, providing trainees with the opportunity to participate in paid work-based learning experiences as interns in integrated job sites. 

For five weeks, trainees attend classes during the morning hours; the following four weeks, they travel to individual work sites each afternoon to perform their duties as paid interns. Every evening trainees work on their independent living and social skills both alone and in groups where they:

  • Prepare and consume meals,
  • Assess the campus community by using public and other transportation options,
  • Participate in various recreational and social activities,
  • Debrief the day’s activities, and 
  • Prepare for the next day’s activities by completing homework assignments, doing their own laundry, etc.
Last day events

The evening before the final day, a celebration is held where students and partners come together for a meal. Students are given the opportunity to share their overall experience, what they’ve learned, and what the project has meant to them.

On the final day, individual wrap-around planning sessions are conducted, where students and their family members meet with VR counselors, Texas A&M Staff, and BVCIL representatives to receive feedback on their performance and participation, as well as complete a plan for the next steps necessary for achievement of their goals in integrated and competitive employment.

Contact Luis Castillo or Dr. Shauntā Singer for more information.