BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Labor shortages are challenging, but a local organization is hoping to help address some of the issues by enticing local businesses to employ workers they may have overlooked.
Rudy Briseno Jr. is a barista at Arbor Bloom Coffee Company, a new business located at 4550 California Avenue. Arbor Bloom is looking to support other local endeavors by selling locally brewed coffee from Rig City Roasting Company, and now employing local workers through Bakersfield ARC’s Paid Internship Program.
“I started out with training by phone, and after that I got to train in the community with a trainer and a few coaches,” Briseno Jr. said.
Briseno is also on the Autism Spectrum.
Bakersfield ARC is a non-profit organization that provides services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They believe that employment development is fundamental to quality of life.
“We encourage employers such as Arbor Bloom and our partnership with Arbor Bloom, to partner with Bakersfield ARC to offer employment opportunities to people with disabilities,” said Jaime Valdez Jr., senior director of job development at Bakersfield ARC. “In Rudy’s case, who does a fabulous job, he wanted to be a barista. He was working at a convenience store, one of our other partners, but he wanted to learn cashiering and so here we are.”
Through Bakersfield ARC’s Tailored Day Services, Rudy was able to get training for interviews, resume writing, money management and self-advocacy.
“One of the things I took away from the trainings was to just be who we can be as well as not to get too nervous,” he said. “I know at times some people they tend to not realize that we get anxious from time to time. Whenever you meet someone on the spectrum, spend some time with them and get to know them first and they’ll get to know you as time goes on.”
Bakersfield ARC hopes more businesses will see the advantage of using these programs. Interns from the program can work either 1,040 hours or a full year, paid through the program.
“Whichever comes first, so they’re going to save up to 1,040 hours in payroll costs, workman’s comp and liabilities are all covered,” Valdez Jr. said.
Valdez also said a job coach is provided to continue working with the intern throughout the program.
Now, Briseno Jr. spends every day getting to work somewhere he loves.
“The first latte I ever got to make on my own, it was so much fun,” he said. “I would hope that [those in the program] learn to overcome anxiety, most times it can be based on different levels where you are on the spectrum.”
If you’re a local business interested in teaming up with Bakersfield ARC and their Paid Internship Program, or you’re interested in learning more about the Tailored Day Services, see here.