Workability IV Program

Campus Program Helps Titans With Disabilities Gain Work Experience and Jobs

Workability Program has helped 89 students find internships and employment

December 19, 2006

By Gail Matsunaga

“A job is whatever you make of it,” said senior business administration major Peter Neal, summing up his summer internship experience at Defense Contract Management Agency. Neal secured his position with the Anaheim Hills company through the WorkAbility IV Program – Vocation Rehabilitation Services to Individuals With Disabilities, which was recently funded $102,415 from the State of California Department of Rehabilitation.

Recounting his early days with the firm, he says, “When I first got there, they didn’t seem to know what to do with me.” His initial tasks included destroying documents and moving furniture. But with a proactive and can-do attitude, his responsibilities progressed to where he was asked to look at a contract project the company was working on.

“I did some research, then I started asking questions — going over and talking with the engineers and designers,” he said. “I saw problems with the project, which resulted in me writing a 60-page report — citing the problems and possible solutions.”

Because he wanted to focus on his studies, Neal declined Defense Contract’s offer to return in the fall, but hopes to sign on for another internship after graduating this spring — and potentially work full-time for the company. “I really liked working there. It was very challenging and I learned a lot.”

Approximately 89 Cal State Fullerton students and alumni with disabilities benefit from WorkAbility IV, which assists participants with finding internships and part- and full-time employment.

Currently in its ninth year, the program offers such services as resume development, workshops, individual counseling, interview preparation, job development and employment referrals, according to Ed Mohr, WorkAbility IV project coordinator.

“I couldn’t have it without them,” Neal says of the WorkAbility staff. “I think these people go above and beyond for their students; they go the extra mile.”

And, regardless of their situation, he encourages all Titans to take advantage of the services at the Career Center, including WorkAbility IV. “They look out for you. I would tell students to go in early — a year before they graduate — and start forming a personal relationship with the people working there. Don’t wait until you’re ready to graduate — start working on your resume now; plus you can get a heads up on anything coming up regarding jobs.”