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NEW HAVEN – Whelen Engineering Company, Inc. of Chester, CT will be honored with Chapel Haven’s Employer Spotlight for opening their doors to the adults of Chapel Haven Schleifer Center.

“We are so pleased that Whelen Engineering has made a commitment to training and to impacting the lives of adults with diverse abilities.” said Chapel Haven President Michael Storz.

The ceremony will take place on Wednesday April 3, 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM and tours of the company will follow. Press coverage is invited. Whelen Engineering Company, Inc. 51 Winthrop Road Chester, Connecticut.

Whelen Engineering hosts three adults from Chapel Haven’s ASAT program at their business each week in Chapel Haven’s unique work-based learning program, the Partnership for Achievement through Vocational Experience (PAVE). This program provides adults who wish to prepare for competitive employment with authentic work experiences and a robust vocational curriculum. Through internships in true work environments, participants are fully immersed in the workplace, acquiring marketable job-specific and transferrable skills. Each participant is placed in a position that suits their interests, abilities, and career goals while also allowing for the opportunity to explore a variety of career paths. The program runs for 10 months with a vocational curriculum delivered on a daily basis. A work-based learning specialist/special education teacher provides support to the participant and workplace mentors, with the goal of fading out once job skills are mastered, allowing participants to utilize natural supports in the work environment. The departments at Whelen include, Aviation Manufacturing, Product Assembly, Sales, and Order Entry.

The company was founded in 1952 by George W. Whelen, in his garage in Deep River, CT. Whelen Engineering is now a global leader in the emergency warning industry, designing and manufacturing reliable and powerful warning lights, white illumination lighting, sirens, controllers, and high-powered warning systems for Automotive, Aviation, and Mass Notification industries worldwide. Whelen has the largest design staff in the industry and over 1,500 employees.

This program was created in partnership with ASAT and the Center for Employment Services and Opportunities. “This program addresses a critical need,” says Gina Apicella, Director of ASAT, “adults with autism spectrum disorder continue to face an employment crisis. Whelen is committed to encouraging a workplace of inclusion and highlighting individual talents.” With labor market attachment near historic lows, many employers cannot find the skilled talent they need. Data from the National Longitudinal Study-2 (NLTS-2) (2000-2008) reflects that out of 11,000 individuals with development disabilities (922 with autism spectrum disorders), only 6% achieved competitive employment. Based upon the National Autism Indicators report (2017), out of 3,520 individuals, only 14% held jobs for pay in the community.

The Center for Employment Services and Opportunities (CESO) “Employer Spotlight” program is a central component of the CESO’s initiatives, which aims to develop a deeper understanding of effective practices for connecting adults to careers in rapidly growing industries and recognizing those that have done so in an exemplary fashion. Danielle Chiaraluce, Executive Director of the CESO, “we are proud to have Whelen Engineering as a partner. We see the abilities of the adults we work with at CESO as a critical and untapped part of an employer’s talent pool. They are creative, innovative, and loyal associates who bring energy, enthusiasm and diverse perspective to the workplace which benefits the entire company and the community.” The Center for Employment Services and Opportunities (CESO) is dedicated to a client-centered, individualized approach to job procurement and career development for individuals with developmental and social disabilities.