If you are interested in becoming a mentor for this program, please apply using the following link:
June 16th thru July 19th, 2019
The Work And College Opportunity (WACO) Project at Texas A&M University is a five-week residential summer work and college training program that provides trainees an opportunity to independently live and learn on a university campus while also working, and socially and recreationally integrating into the larger Bryan/College Station community. This unique work and college experiential training program, created and conducted in collaboration with two local disability service and research organizations – The Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University and Development and Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living (BVCIL) – serves young adults, ages 18 – 22, with a variety of disabilities in all five core Pre Employment Transition Services categories to assist them in successfully transitioning into postsecondary education and competitive integrated employment.
While the WACO Project is conducted during some of the same weeks that the Brazos Valley Summer Earn and Learn (SEAL) program is taking place, it 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. Furthermore, Brazos Valley SEAL 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 Capital Area, Central Texas, Deep East Texas, Heart of Texas, Gulf Coast, Rural Capital, and potentially other Workforce Board areas.
WACO Project trainees participate in specially designed classes on Self-Advocacy/Self Determination and Professionalism on the Texas A&M University campus, and are given the opportunity to audit actual A&M or Blinn College academic courses based on their identified career interests. Their interests are also matched with community business partners’ needs, providing trainees the opportunity to participate in paid work-based learning experiences as interns in integrated job sites throughout the community. For five weeks, trainees attend classes during the morning hours and then for 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, alone and in groups, preparing and consuming evening meals, accessing the campus and community by using public and other transportation options, participating in various recreational and social activities, debriefing the days’ activities and preparing for the next days’ activities, completing homework assignments, doing their own laundry, etc.
The evening before the final day a celebration is held wherein students and partners come together for a meal and 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, wherein students and their family members meet with VR Counselors, Texas A&M staff, and BVCIL representatives to receive feedback on their performance and participation, and complete a plan for the next steps necessary for them to achieve their goals for integrated and competitive employment.
Contact Luis Castillo - email@example.com
Shaunta L. Singer, Ph.D. - firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist
Department of Family and Community Health
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension