Employment Services

WACOSA's work crews are efficient and organized. I look forward tot he smiles and hellos received when WACOSA is in the building.
– Reach UP Head Start
Education Coordinator

Ways WACOSA Can Help With Your Employment Goals

Employment continues to be the primary outcome for all of our consumers, except for those participating in WACOSA's retirement services or for consumers who choose not to work. Employment options may be experienced in community work settings, within WACOSA's own facilities, or both, depending on the abilities and interets of those we serve. Community work opportunities include persons being placed individually in competitive and supported employment settings, and persons working as team members on a supervised crew in the community. WACOSA's workers may follow a regular work schedule or may be a part of work crews with either long- or short-term work potential. Work performed inside of WACOSA's physical facilities includes such options as working in our recycling operation, our DocuShred document destruction business, our thrift store, ThriftWorks! or other paid contract work opportunities including packaging, assembly, collating, quality checking, and re-work.

WACOSA programs include:


WACOSA provides school-to-work transition services for persons who enter any one of WACOSA's programs. Schools contract directly with WACOSA to provide services. School-to-work transition services play an important role in helping graduates transition smoothly to their work environment. 


Participants enjoy a variety of employment and program options. WACOSA's licensed DT&H services are provided at all WACOSA locations. Services include both community- and center-based paid work opportunities, in addition to a wide array of skill-building activities and classes, including expression using various mediums of art, theater, Tae Kwon Do, adaptive CPR/First Aid, and more. Individuals enrolled in DT&H services must have a developmental disability or other developmental impairments. The WACOSA senior services program, located at the Whitney Senior Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota, is included under this umbrella of DT&H services. Service length for all individuals participating in DT&H services depends upon each person's unique needs and choices.


WACOSA's CADI and BI programs offer pre-vocational training and supported employment opportunities at all of our program locations. Persons served within CADI services are primarily challenged by issues pertaining to severe and persistent mental illness, while persons with BI challenges have acquired their disability at some point later in their lives. Some CADI consumers have developmental disabilities as well.


Employment planning is an individualized service which helps individuals learn about employment opportunities in the community, as well as to explore and identify their work interests and skills. This is accomplished through activities such as situational assessment, paid work trials, and simulated job sites. EPS services are approximately four weeks in length. A written report is completed at the end of the assessment period, with recommendations made to further enhance the person's vocational goals and possible employment options. 


The purpose of an EDS plan is to identify vocational goals and a plan of action with the consumer and their team. Individualized training is provided to develop the neccessary skills and work behaviors to achieve the vocational goals and promote successful employment. EDS services are approximately three months in length. The preferred employment outcome is either competitive or supported employment. 


The two types of CES provided by WACOSA include community crews and supported employment. A crew generally consists of four to ten workers, with training and supervision provided by WACOSA staff. Supported employment is achieved when a worker is employed competitively at an integrated community setting. The worker receives initial training and support to promote ongoing success on the job. After the initial training period has been completed, the worker will receive follow-along services several times a month. The length of service is on-going until competitive placement is achieved. 


OES services are available for up to one year while the consumer is seeking community placement. Job coaching is provided to increase job skills and proficiency. The types of work most frequently offered in this program include packaging, collating, and simple to complex assembly. If communityplacement has not been secured after one year, the consumer may attend one day a week to work with staff on placement activities. Placement activities can include training and help with internet job searches, reviewing local job postings, filling out job applications, working on interview skills, and actual interviews, when available. 


WACOSA's ASD services are available at all program locations. These services focus on the unique needs and characteristics of persons having a diagnosis of ASD or ASD-related tendencies. Program services are structured around the need for appropriate transition, while at the same time teaching consumers to adjust to changes in their lives, since change is an authentic expectation in real world social and vocational experiences. WACOSA's ASD services are integrated into, and licensed under, DT&H services. 


There are many options and combinations of employment available to our clients, along with a commitment to their long-term employment success. For more information, please contact nbetts@wacosa.org or call       320-251-0087.