Listen

News 88.9 KNPR
Classical 89.7 KCNV

member station

Through a program called Pathway to Work, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities get on-the-job training from three local employers including Station Casinos, the only gaming/hospitality corporation to participate. The program, which is funded by the state and managed by Opportunity Village, is part of a broader trend to integrate people with disabilities into mainstream life.

sam_bw.jpg

Michael Rudin

Advocates of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities see fair pay and access to employment opportunities as the next step in progress toward a more equitable future. “It really is part of the civil rights movement,” says Cara Paoli, head of aging and disability services for the State of Nevada. A big part of her work, Paoli says, is educating employers on the value of hiring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities like Sam Sedgwick (pictured here), whose bosses at Boulder Station Hotel Casino say he’s a great addition to the team — cheerful, hard-working and loyal. Sedgwick landed a full-time, permanent position at Boulder Station after completing the Pathway to Work program there.

sam_walking.jpg

Michael Rudin

Opportunity Village started Pathway to Work two years ago to bridge the gap between campus-based employment, for clients who need extra support, and community employment, for those who can handle being integrated into the regular workforce. The program’s managers select participants based on criteria such as punctuality, the ability to stay on task and stranger-danger awareness. “We want to set people up to be successful, so there’s a lot of thought put into who’s ready to participate” says Stacy Carlston, assistant manager of Opportunity Village’s community outreach department. Sedgwick has had to call security because of a couple brushes with suspicious characters, but says that overall the experience of having a good job with benefits has changed his life. “It just helped me to be more responsible, and they (Station Casinos)… gave me actually a chance to work here and show what I can do.”

sam_cleaning.jpg

Michael Rudin

Pathway to Work trains participants in two different sectors at Boulder Station: internal maintenance and the Grand Cafe. Other employers in the program are Centennial Hills Hospital and Get Fresh produce distributor. By the end of their 3- to 6-month stints (the length is determined by each individual’s progress), trainees are exposed to a variety of tasks, from busing tables to cleaning bathrooms. They can then use the experience to apply for available positions at the location where they trained, as Sedgwick did, or elsewhere. Participants have gotten jobs at Boca Park Animal Hospital, DiBella Flowers, Walmart and several other local businesses. Judy Swain, manager of community outreach for Opportunity Village, says the arrangement offers employers an incentive to give adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities a chance: “Where else do you get to try out an employee for six months — for free — before you actually offer them a position? ... They know the job. They know all of the other team members. So it’s a very easy transition.”

dish_cart.jpg

Michael Rudin

Pathway to Work trains participants in two different sectors at Boulder Station: internal maintenance and the Grand Cafe. Other employers in the program are Centennial Hills Hospital and Get Fresh produce distributor. By the end of their 3- to 6-month stints (the length is determined by each individual’s progress), trainees are exposed to a variety of tasks, from busing tables to cleaning bathrooms. They can then use the experience to apply for available positions at the location where they trained, as Sedgwick did, or elsewhere. Participants have gotten jobs at Boca Park Animal Hospital, DiBella Flowers, Walmart and several other local businesses. Judy Swain, manager of community outreach for Opportunity Village, says the arrangement offers employers an incentive to give adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities a chance: “Where else do you get to try out an employee for six months — for free — before you actually offer them a position? ... They know the job. They know all of the other team members. So it’s a very easy transition.”

kimberly_smiling.jpg

Michael Rudin

Opportunity Village started Pathway to Work two years ago to bridge the gap between campus-based employment, for clients who need extra support, and community employment, for those who can handle being integrated into the regular workforce. The program’s managers select participants based on criteria such as punctuality, the ability to stay on task and stranger-danger awareness. “We want to set people up to be successful, so there’s a lot of thought put into who’s ready to participate” says Stacy Carlston, assistant manager of Opportunity Village’s community outreach department. Sedgwick has had to call security because of a couple brushes with suspicious characters, but says that overall the experience of having a good job with benefits has changed his life. “It just helped me to be more responsible, and they (Station Casinos)… gave me actually a chance to work here and show what I can do.”

pamela_sink.jpg

Michael Rudin

Pathway to Work trains participants in two different sectors at Boulder Station: internal maintenance and the Grand Cafe. Other employers in the program are Centennial Hills Hospital and Get Fresh produce distributor. By the end of their 3- to 6-month stints (the length is determined by each individual’s progress), trainees are exposed to a variety of tasks, from busing tables to cleaning bathrooms. They can then use the experience to apply for available positions at the location where they trained, as Sedgwick did, or elsewhere. Participants have gotten jobs at Boca Park Animal Hospital, DiBella Flowers, Walmart and several other local businesses. Judy Swain, manager of community outreach for Opportunity Village, says the arrangement offers employers an incentive to give adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities a chance: “Where else do you get to try out an employee for six months — for free — before you actually offer them a position? ... They know the job. They know all of the other team members. So it’s a very easy transition.”

dishes.jpg

Michael Rudin

Pathway to Work trains participants in two different sectors at Boulder Station: internal maintenance and the Grand Cafe. Other employers in the program are Centennial Hills Hospital and Get Fresh produce distributor. By the end of their 3- to 6-month stints (the length is determined by each individual’s progress), trainees are exposed to a variety of tasks, from busing tables to cleaning bathrooms. They can then use the experience to apply for available positions at the location where they trained, as Sedgwick did, or elsewhere. Participants have gotten jobs at Boca Park Animal Hospital, DiBella Flowers, Walmart and several other local businesses. Judy Swain, manager of community outreach for Opportunity Village, says the arrangement offers employers an incentive to give adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities a chance: “Where else do you get to try out an employee for six months — for free — before you actually offer them a position? ... They know the job. They know all of the other team members. So it’s a very easy transition.”

tip.jpg

Michael Rudin

Pathway to Work trains participants in two different sectors at Boulder Station: internal maintenance and the Grand Cafe. Other employers in the program are Centennial Hills Hospital and Get Fresh produce distributor. By the end of their 3- to 6-month stints (the length is determined by each individual’s progress), trainees are exposed to a variety of tasks, from busing tables to cleaning bathrooms. They can then use the experience to apply for available positions at the location where they trained, as Sedgwick did, or elsewhere. Participants have gotten jobs at Boca Park Animal Hospital, DiBella Flowers, Walmart and several other local businesses. Judy Swain, manager of community outreach for Opportunity Village, says the arrangement offers employers an incentive to give adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities a chance: “Where else do you get to try out an employee for six months — for free — before you actually offer them a position? ... They know the job. They know all of the other team members. So it’s a very easy transition.”

 

Support comes from

You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for.  If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.

More Stories

KNPR
KNPR's State of Nevada
KNPR
KNPR's State of Nevada