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Santa Maria Airport Partnership Flies High

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Written by Madison Rosen, PathPoint Communications Intern

As a vital supporter of PathPoint since 2014, the Santa Maria Airport has extended many important employment opportunities to PathPoint participants. These jobs have given participants the opportunity to gain experience in the work-field, build lasting relationships with job coaches and fellow employees, and have even led to new career opportunities.

Tiffany Fernandez, PathPoint Lead Job Coach in North Santa Barbara County, explains that PathPoint participants in the Integrated Work Program have been working at the airport for years, picking up litter and cleaning windows throughout the facility.  This work helps participants gain important skills and earn money in order to be and feel more independent.

PathPoint is delighted to partner with the Santa Maria Airport, whose fantastic team has worked with participants and job coaches over the past few years. Tanya Dennett, Employment Service Coordinator at PathPoint’s North Santa Barbara location, comments that “the Santa Maria Airport has been a fantastic employer!” and notes that her participants who work there “appreciate the work setting” and “feel appreciated” while on the job.  PathPoint commends the Santa Maria Airport for providing this great opportunity for individuals with disabilities to develop employment skills and earn money while working at a beautiful and exciting work site.

Ric Tokoph of the Santa Maria Airport has loved getting the opportunity to work with PathPoint participants and hear from them how much they enjoy adding to the beauty of the airport. He shares that other employees in the terminal have noticed the improvements made by participants, and he expressed appreciation for their work that has “helped keep the Santa Maria Airport looking like the jewel of the Central Coast.”

Betty, a PathPoint participant, shares her experience at the Airport: “I like to do the work, the job culture is great, [the employers] listen to you and you can talk to them”.  She also comments on the new beginning that working at the Santa Maria Airport has provided for her “It gives me experience and I’m learning new things.”

When asked about what she likes about working at the airport, Adrianna, a PathPoint participant who started working at the Santa Maria Airport last year, stated “I like all the people coming. Last year we had tons of people around for the summer.&rdquo The relationships that participants form while on the job help to further empower individuals with disabilities to live as valued members of the community.

One especially hard-working PathPoint participant at the Airport impressed airport maintenance workers so much that he was offered a job by the airport. This partnership has opened doors, allowing participants to advance into new opportunities, while acquiring valuable skills.

Fernandez encourages other employers to partner with PathPoint because “It’s an opportunity to give work to individuals and meet amazing personalities that bring positivity and great energy to the working environment.” PathPoint’s dedicated workers and committed job coaches can work with any employer to help fill a need. Airport staff member Tokoph stated that the PathPoint crew have “tackled every job with enthusiasm, pride, and detail” and adds that “employees that take as much pride in professionalism as the PathPoint crew are hard to find.”PathPoint is excited by the opportunity to work with other employers in the future and encourages those interested to check out more about partnership opportunities on our website.