In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we celebrate Cyrus, a student of The Bay School (TBS)—May’s school program in Santa Cruz, California—who became a paid employee of GOODLES in June 2022. At GOODLES, a fun and healthy mac and cheese company Co-founded by Gal Gadot (i.e., Wonder Woman!), Cyrus proudly works at the headquarters packaging influencer boxes. Jen Zeszut, CEO and Co-founder, shares:
“I know The Bay School to be a loving, enriching education and life-skills space for very special kids – my nephew has been a student there for more than 15 years! But I didn’t know that The Bay School was training students to join the workforce! What an amazing surprise – and tremendous opportunity for GOODLES. Cyrus is such a joy to have on our team! After saying good morning to us all, we turn on the Disney tunes (his favorite), and Cyrus gets to work right away. He’s on our influencer team, helping to get samples of our healthy mac and cheese out to celebrities, athletes, and other stars! He has grown so much in a short amount of time. He loves coming to work -- and getting a paycheck! Likewise - our whole team looks forward to the days when Cyrus is in the office. Thank you to The Bay School for introducing us to Cyrus!”
Cyrus is one of many students of TBS who engage in competitive, integrated employment as part of the school’s Employment and Community Inclusion (ECI) program. Through the ECI program, students receive 1:1 support from trained instructors to learn vocational skills in community job settings. Goodwill, Pacific Cookie Company, and Coast Paper and Supply are some of the many other local businesses in Santa Cruz that employ TBS students and help provide these invaluable learning opportunities.
With only 34.6 percent of individuals with disabilities accessing gainful employment in the U.S. (U.S. Department of Labor, August 2022), TBS strives to maximize vocational training to help students build meaningful skills, increase independence, and prepare for successful employment through adulthood. Jim Toohey, TBS Coordinator of Vocational Services, shares, “When one of our students are hired by a business, it broadens their world to include new social connections, opportunities for learning, and an increased sense of self-worth. We know these experiences are preparing our students as best as possible for success after graduation.”
We congratulate Cyrus on the exceptional growth he has made and thank him for his ongoing contributions to GOODLES!
The the full photo album on Flickr.