BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — For many with disabilities, work experience is invaluable but not guaranteed. Sozo Trading Company and Workshop Empowerment Inc. are partnering together to provide opportunities for students like Sincere Skipwith.

“At first, I doubted myself because I feel like it was the same as before,” Skipwith said. “But when I got used to it, I started loving it. It’s a good motivation to prepare for the real world – because when I get out of here, I’m going to Walmart.”

The students participating are in their last two years of high school and preparing for their time in the workforce, learning skills like team work and the value of a positive attitude through the thrift shop’s partnership with WE Inc., a Birmingham based organization focused on partnering with businesses to pair people who have disabilities with jobs in the community.

“They just get their task and they really have a great attitude to just get started and get it done,” Assistant General Manager for Sozo Trading Company, Cailyn Thompson said. “When they find what they really love and to really grow in that strength and see how in the workforce, maybe they can find a job that also suits that strength, so it’s been really nice.”

Like Sincere, some students come in doubting their own abilities, but even the routine aspects of a job can be beneficial in growing their confidence about entering the workforce.

“On a deeper level, they’re learning about all the little things that it takes to be successful on the job.” J.T. Williamson, Transition Program Manager at WE Inc., said.  “From getting up in the morning and getting to work on time, communicating with others, working as a team and also maintaining positive attitudes about work.”

If this sounds like a program you or someone you know could benefit from, you can visit Workshops Empowerment Inc.’s website here.