LA VERNE/SAN DIMAS – Bonita Unified School District special education students are acquiring the tools for future success through Bonita’s WorkAbility I/Transition program, which provides comprehensive pre-employment training, paid work experience and job placement, while promoting self-advocacy and life skills exploration.
More than 400 Bonita Unified students in grades eight to 12 have access to the program and working with WorkAbility I/Transition Special Programs Technician Bhavini Feldman, who meets with eligible students to find the right fit for them in the community and helps with job applications and resumes.
Feldman connects with special education students beginning in eighth grade and works with them as they transition to high school. Career interest surveys provide students with insight on how their interests can lead to careers; if a student is passionate about video games, Feldman tells them they could pursue computer programming and work to earn a bachelor’s degree or attend vocational school.
“This is an amazing job. It feeds your soul when you see the personal growth in these students that allows them to do things they didn’t know they were capable of,” Feldman said. “To see these students succeed is a special feeling.”
Working with the La Verne and San Dimas Chambers of Commerce, Feldman has established partnerships with local businesses, including Albertsons, Regal La Verne and Wesleyan Day Care. Some businesses seek short-term help, while others, like Smart & Final, are looking to hire students long-term.
“Through WorkAbility, Bonita students are making a positive impact in their communities and gaining the confidence they need to pursue college and careers,” Board of Education President Chuck Coyne said. “We are greatly appreciative of the hard work and dedication of Bhavini Feldman, who has helped to transform the lives of so many Bonita graduates.”
WorkAbility I students have also been hired by the District. One Bonita Unified graduate received work experience through the Maintenance Department and, after graduation, was placed on the substitute list for classified employees. With his foot in the door, the student can apply for job openings when they are posted.
Funded by the California Department of Education, the WorkAbility I program covers the costs of education, payroll, and insurance for the employer, while providing up to 300 hours of work experience for the student, which typically lasts from six to nine months.
Businesses that are interested in joining the Bonita Unified program can contact Bhavini Feldman at (909) 971-8200, ex. 3026 or email her at Feldman@bonita.k12.ca.us.
“Bonita Unified’s WorkAbility program exemplifies our core values of equity, mastery and a focus on results,” Superintendent Carl Coles said. “Through WorkAbility, Bonita students greatly benefit from individualized support, learning the life skills that are essential to success beyond graduation.”