Ready, Set, Work! : Become work-ready at the Work Training Center

By: Alexa Espinosa

Chico State students who are preparing to enter the real world have many resources available to them to help find the ideal first job. But what resources do students and others with disabilities have? Look no further than the Work Training Center (WTC).

The WTC, located in Chico, provides jobs and life-skills training to adults with developmental disabilities. Its work and recreational programs provide services to about 700 adults.

Executive Director Don Krysakowski became involved with the center because his son has high-functioning autism.

“My first experience with the Work Training Center was when my son was diagnosed and was eligible for services,” said Krysakowski. “He now works with the janitorial group here.”

Krysakowski is in charge of making sure the Work Training Center runs smoothly, managing all the programs and business units of the center and raising awareness of what they have to offer the community.

Don Krysakowski

Don Krysakowski, executive director of WTC, smiling at his desk.
Photo by Austen Schumacher.

WTC’s vocational programs, spread throughout Oroville, Chico, and Paradise, include:

  • The Creative Learning Center
  • Do-It Leisure
  • The Joe McGie Center
  • Made in Paradise
  • The Sierra Center
  • Social Skills Training

The community employment services help measure clients’ proficiency as they learn a particular vocation or train for the program.

“When they reach a certain level of proficiency, we start working with them and see if we can find jobs for them,” said Krysakowski.

Every service is geared toward giving clients a range of opportunities after participating at the WTC. The goal is to get people with disabilities hired at jobs within the greater Butte County community.

There are three day programs that are specific to different types of disabilities. One program is located in Chico across the street from the University Farm, and the others are located at centers in Paradise and Oroville.

The day programs all operate similarly. There are client activities that go on throughout the day, and there are various outings they can go on. The clients have opportunities to do some light work, and they get paid for the time they work.

"The WTC gives to Chico through its various services,” said Krysakowski. “It’s interesting how we do it through the programs that we operate, through the client base that we operate.”

WTC tries to participate in events like the Thursday Night Market and work with other businesses to provide greater opportunities for clients. Krysakowski said he loves what he does and what the WTC does for people. When asked if he had a favorite program, Krysakowski said he’s not one to pick favorites, but he is partial to one program.

“I do, I probably shouldn’t say this too loud, only because my son works at one,” he said with a grin and a giggle.

Krysakowski cares about WTC and anyone that the center can provide help to, because he knows he’s making a difference, he said.

“The neat thing about this job is that you know you’re helping people,” said Krysakowski. “You know you’ve made a connection at their level and you know you’re making a difference in their lives.”

For more information on how to get involved, please visit the Work Training Center website.