Garten's mission is to support people with disabilities in their effort to contribute to the community through employment, career, and retirement opportunities.
Our actions increase society's awareness of human potential.

Summer Youth Employment Program


Garten’s Summer Youth Employment Program is a unique summer employment program offered by Garten. We work in close collaboration with local school districts, special education faculty and aides, the business community, youth with disabilities, and their parents/guardians. It is Garten’s only program that serves youth, focusing on youth with disabilities age 16 to 21 who are soon to graduate high school. Garten provides paid community work experience, serving approximately 40-45 youth each summer to help them build a bridge to the adult world of work.
Launched as a pilot program in 2004, the Summer Youth Employment Program has proven to build self-sufficiency in adulthood - which otherwise involves an abrupt transition from federally-mandated school services for youth to the wait-listed adult world of social services. It helps turn individuals who might otherwise be social system dependants into taxpayers, contributing to and participating in their community with skills and responsibility. 
In an effort to eliminate potential barriers, Garten pays virtually all program costs:

• Youth wages (minimum wage)
• Workers Comp insurance costs
• All employer costs (state/fed taxes, FICA, SSI)
• Wages for job coaches
• Mandatory CPR and 1st Aid trainings
• Communications & transportation costs
• Program supplies and materials
• Staff support for ten months each year
• All other related program costs

Employers who provide job openings for youth with disabilities pay nothing. They simply provide a half-time position for six weeks during the summer. Garten literally handles all the rest.
The Summer Youth Employment Program is offered in communities throughout Marion and Polk Counties, according to referrals by Transition Program Staff in public high school. In its nine year existence, the program has served the communities of Salem, Keizer, Gervais, Woodburn, Silverton, Mt. Angel, Stayton, Jefferson, Monmouth, Independence and Dallas.
Collaboration is the key to the program’s success. While Garten bears 100% of the program costs, in-kind contributions and program support by all key partners is crucial to the success of our youth participants.

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For More Information Contact:

Anna Rogers
Community Employment Coordinator
(503) 316-3950 ext. 3905
(Garten South Salem)
(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Benefits of this unique program include:
•  Youth gain skills that enhance future employability.

•  Youth maintain academic momentum from year to year.

•  School district staff learn more about the vocational training needs for youth with disabilities prior to graduation.

•  Local businesses learn what people with disabilities can do.

•  The entire community learns that people with disabilities can be valuable employees.

•  Stress is reduced for families of youth due to structured summer activities for their teens.

•  Diversity in the community is enhanced.