ACT’s disability sector has launched a new program that places people with disabilities in internships where they can learn a trade. The program is in partnership with UTAIM (a local partner) and is currently in its pilot phase with five students participating.
The goal is to support the independence of people will disabilities by giving them the opportunity to build skills to use in a job or by eventually starting their own business.
UTAIM and ACT find placements by talking with the student and their family about what types of activities the student enjoys. Then the family finds a business or shop that they think would be a good fit.
UTAIM and ACT provide a training on how to work with people with disabilities for participating business so that they are prepared to be a successful placement. Additionally, ACT offers a small financial incentive to both the apprentice and the business owner to encourage participation in the program.
Students are working in carpentry, creating beds, tables, and shelves, and in sewing workshops.
“The apprentice is a very responsible young lady,” said one businesswoman. “I already leave the shop under her responsibility when I have to go out on errands.”
This program powerfully allows people with disabilities to put their abilities to work and enjoy the independence that comes with having an income. At the same time, this program helps the community to see people with disabilities for what they can do, not what they can’t.