Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled (CSDD) opened its new Jefferson Career Center on Monday, October 30. The center is located at 1485 Jefferson Avenue, Buffalo, the former site of the Bethel Head Start building.
The new center will offer people with developmental disabilities a place to develop work skills and help connect them to competitive employment opportunities in their fields of interest. It will offer hands-on learning suites that are industry specific, providing training opportunities to explore a variety of career paths. Each suite will be custom built to ensure accessibility for everyone.
The Oishei Foundation supported the effort with a $125,000 grant.
View more photos of the new center here.
CSDD partnered with the Basil Family of Dealerships to provide an automotive detailing suite where people will learn the skills needed for car detailing, including how to use the proper cleaning tools and products and safety precautions and the value of meticulousness.
CSDD is also working with the Hyatt Regency to offer a hospitality suite, which will include a mock hotel room for the people they support to develop and practice the skills they learn. By using this active learning model, people will build customer service skills, learn how to clean and set up a room, and keep track of an inventory list.
Working in the food industry generates much interest for the people CSDD serves. The new center's culinary suite will feature an industrial style kitchen where people interested in culinary arts will learn how to prepare and serve food, gain insight into how assembly work operates, use kitchen tools safely, and how to sanitize a work space.
Another suite at the Jefferson Career Center will be an office setting where people will have the opportunity to learn essential computer skills, how to operate copy and fax machines, effective communication via phone, and how to successfully work with customers and co-workers.
The center will also be the site of an after-school respite program for children who receive services, giving them a safe, accessible place to learn new skills, meet friends and engage in meaningful activities outside of school.
“We are thrilled to see this project come to fruition. The Jefferson Career Center will positively impact many of the people we support by helping them gain work skills and connecting them with competitive employment opportunities,” said Mindy Cervoni, president and CEO. “This center will help people achieve their goals and lead more independent lives.”
“The Jefferson Career Center is more than a building for the people we support. It is a representation of our belief that every person, given the appropriate supports and opportunity, has the ability to contribute to their community. For those we support, a job is so much more than a paycheck. It is independence, inclusion and an improved quality of life,” said Michelle Zangerle, assistant director of vocational services.
“Along with the opportunity to expand our respite program, Jefferson provides additional space for a gross motor room and outside playground with a recreational area. With the addition of these two spaces, people that utilize respite supports will have more space to develop and grow,” said Ashley McLimans, assistant director of day services.
The Jefferson Career Center will broaden CSDD's scope of services, provide new employment opportunities, and explore each person they serve’s talents and interests.