TIGERS recognizes employers

VALLEY — October was Disability Employment Awareness Month. T.I.G.E.R.S., in collaboration with the School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP) and the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), recognized three San Luis Valley programs and businesses employing persons with disabilities. Each was presented with a plaque recognizing their efforts.

The La Jara Alternative Schools program sponsors students who wish to improve their skills in non-academic areas through Work Based Learning Experiences. Director Susan Hamilton stated this gives “students the opportunity to grow, succeed, and flourish.  Students have been able to gain and grow in their working skills as well as life skills that they will be able to take with them as they transition out of school and into the workforce.” 

Student Jed Marsh noted the experience “helped me with my cleaning skills, be more responsible and take orders…(and) helped me with my communication skills.” He has been a SWAP program participant and explored various vocations.

DVR and Arby’s partnered for a job placement. DVR provided job coaching and placement supports. Arby’s Manager April Frye stated the client earned “Employee of the Month” recognition and received a pay raise/promotion. She really enjoyed working with the client, who is a hard-worker.

DVR and North River Greenhouse partnered to employ a client at the nursery for part-time work. Employer Amy Price said she really enjoy working with the client. Amy has mentioned that the client is fun to be around and fits in perfect with the job. The client loves working at the greenhouse and is excited to be part of the NRG team. 

Each of the placements means that another person has potential for long-term employment and the benefits that go along with having a job. Those benefits include the ability to live a fuller life and achieve dreams and goals. The positive impact extends beyond the student and the employer to family, friends and community. T.I.G.E.R.S. salutes the programs and employers who recognize the needs of students and extend themselves to those students.

The Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is a state agency that provides a variety of services to persons in the San Luis Valley seeking employment and who need supports to overcome disabilities and other issues. For more information, call 589-5158.

SWAP is a joint project of DVR and the San Luis Valley Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). They provide similar supports for persons aged 16-25. For more information about SWAP or T.I.G.E.R.S. (an organization that works with youths transitioning to adulthood), contact Amy Raya of SWAP at 587-5410.

Caption: From left are Amy Raya, April Frye, Roberta Taylor-Hill and Estevan Lujan at Arby’s. Courtesy photos


At the North River Greenhouse from left are Amy Raya, Estevan Lujan, Amy Price, Stephanie and Roberta Taylor-Hill.


At La Jara Alternative Schools are from left Nancy Price, Janice Price, Amy Raya, Susan Hamilton, Jed Marsh and Ruby Beltran.