The DeKalb center of NWCA partnered with local businesses both in DeKalb and Sycamore to help prepare children and young adults on the autism spectrum for their adult lives. Students under the APP program are given job training at local partner establishments while under the supervision of a job coach. This gives them a chance to learn the skills needed in taking on real-life jobs as adults in the community.
Hy-Vee, a local grocery store in Sycamore employed two students under the APP program– 19-year-old Jariah Aden and 20-year-old Daniel Escamilla. They paid their trainees for the work they had done in the store. Store Operations Manager at Hy-Vee Kory Robinson said:
“If they’re going to do an honest day’s work, we’re going to pay them. I understand that I could have them work to get the experience and not pay them, but that’s not what we’re about. If I can help someone find jobs, that’s my duty and I’m doing my job. Someone has to give them a chance, and why not me?”
There are currently 23 students in NWCA who are in the APP program.
The original article by Doug Oleson on The MidWeek website can be read here