Work Opportunities has been providing vocational services to persons with disabilities since 1963. The agency was founded by a group of parents from the Edmonds School District Special Education Parents Group who had a growing concern about what would happen to their son or daughter once they graduated.
Their dream was that all persons with disabilities would have the opportunity to become participating and contributing members of the community.
Their dream came true, creating a non-profit corporation with branches of Work Opportunities located in Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Everett and Bellingham.
They chose the name Work Opportunities because of their belief that through work, people with disabilities would experience increased self-esteem and have greater economic and social opportunities within the community. These beliefs continue to guide our organization to this day.
In 2007, Whatcom Work Opportunities was born, becoming another employment agency in the county. Whatcom Work Opportunities currently has contracts with DDD, DVR, DSB, and Lummi Voc Rehabilitation to provide employment services for adults in our community. On average, Whatcom Work Opportunities serves more than 80 individuals and have nine local staff.
The mission of Work Opportunities is to promote self-determination, self-respect, and valued participation in the community for persons with disabilities through work.
Work Opportunities’ Values
Work Opportunities recognizes and honors the following values in regard to promoting the well being of persons with disabilities:
- The need for increased options in employment and lifestyle
- The value of work and/or skill acquisition as a means to increase inclusion and participation within the community
- A focus on abilities rather than disabilities
- The necessity of individualized services
- The importance of health and safety
- The right to make self-determining choices
- Increased access to community resources and activities
- The need for acceptance and support by the community
- The need to promote understanding within the community of all aspects of disability
We envision Work Opportunities as the leader in our community in making it possible for persons with disabilities to participate fully in all aspects of community life. We see persons with disabilities making their own choices from a full range of options in employment opportunities, social and recreational activities, health services, educational opportunities, and living arrangements. We envision an accessible community, free of barriers, shared by accepting and supportive fellow citizens.