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Harrisburg partnership teaches workplace skills to young people with disabilities

The Harrisburg Goodwill Keystone Area and Office of Vocational Rehabilitation are sponsoring 10 people to do jobs around the city, such as painting and gardening.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Two Pennsylvania organizations are working together to build the confidence and abilities of young people with disabilities.

The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and Harrisburg's Goodwill Keystone Area developed the program, called My Work Initiative, to give individuals experience in completing hands-on tasks and working together to better their community.

"We want to be able to advance sustainability for families and individuals so that way they can provide in their communities that they live in," Dinna 'Dean' Pich, Youth Services Manager with Goodwill Keystone Area, said. 

"[We want to] build up that confidence for students to say that 'yes I can do it, yes I have a disability, but that's not going to hold me back from what I want to do or what I want to dream to do,'" Pich said. 

Goodwill Keystone Area and OVR are currently sponsoring 10 young adults ranging in age from 16-21. They are painting, gardening and performing janitorial work around the city of Harrisburg.

The organizations hope to improve their students' confidence and workplace skills. The program also gives them the chance to interact with and find support from their peers.

"The support here is pretty good," Kassan Pearson, a participant in the program, said. "We all look out for each other. We all help each other out. It's like, friendship is there, the support is there, everything is there. At other jobs, you might not get nothing like this. Like you really won't. So it's like, everything's there."

The two-week program will conclude at the end of next week.

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