Best Foot Forward

Job Sampling Initiative for
Students with Disabilities

Helping students learn on the job

Rotary District 7490 has initiated a job sampling program for students with disabilities. The objective of Best Foot Forward is to work with special needs private schools in Bergen, Passaic and Hudson Counties to place some of their higher functioning students with local businesses on an intern basis, to give the students an opportunity to participate in the workforce. The program was conceived by Ray Falcon, founding principal of the Falcon & Singer law firm, a member of the Park Ridge Rotary Club, and Chair of the District 7490 Special Needs Committee. He realized that many Rotarians in our District own or work for the types of businesses that would be ideal for such student placements. In addition, your Rotary Club could reach out to other business leaders in your community to find businesses that might be willing to work with an intern with disabilities.

A Win-Win-Win-Win

We have tailored Best Foot Forward so that it is a win-win-win-win for your business, your Rotary Club, the students and their schools. Your business wins. For a limited number of hours each week, local youths can work for your business on tasks such as copying, filing and shredding. Students with disabilities are particularly adept at work that is repetitive and requires attention to detail. The students, who are not paid for their work, are accompanied by a job coach to supervise and assist them. You get both a job well-done and the good feeling that comes from helping a student who might otherwise have difficulty finding this kind of opportunity.

Your Rotary Club wins. Best Foot Forward affords the local Rotary Club an opportunity to reach out to the community in a way that is not soliciting either funds or members. The initiative shows the community how Rotary can have a very real impact close to home. The student wins. High-functioning students with disabilities are eager for work, but find that their disability sometimes is an obstacle to their learning about what it is like to be part of the work world. This program was created to address just such a situation by focusing on individual strengths and the contributions each of us may make to our community. When these students are given the chance to work, the employer makes clear the job requirements and the details of the job. Each student is always accompanied by a job coach who keeps him or her on task and helps navigate any bumps along the road. Most of all, the student is excited about the opportunity, develops work skills, feels good about him or herself and about being part of the community and gains a much-needed boost to his or her confidence. Each time a student is given employment, the experience helps him or her move closer to transitioning to adulthood and being part of the larger world.

The school wins. This program helps schools build skills for their students so that they can be active members of the workforce upon leaving the education system. This program helps educators evaluate the skills of their older students in a way that cannot be accomplished in a classroom setting.

How Can My Business Take Part?

It truly is a "no-brainer." Everyone wins. There are no downsides to you as a businessperson and the process is turnkey. Let us know of your interest. Tell us about your business and what needs you may have. We will work with you and a local private school to find the right student to satisfy your needs. We coordinate all aspects of the program.

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221 West Grand Avenue, Suite 201
Montvale, NJ 07645


Alan Levine
Outreach Coordinator


201.307.0074, ext. 17


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