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On Feb. 17, an article was published titled “Packing wine, empowering people.” This article stated: “Some of them have not had jobs in several years. This rapid growth shows that people with disabilities want to work and the opportunities are not being developed and nurtured elsewhere.”

I commend any organization for providing yet another opportunity, but this is one of many organizations that provide opportunities to earn a wage and employ individuals with disabilities. The North Bay Regional Center and Department of Rehabilitation purchase services from vendor organizations and just like there are many grocery stores so are there agencies currently offering employment choices, including Napa Valley Support Services and Napa Valley PSI. Both organizations have been in the Napa community for over 30 years, providing support to individuals with disabilities. There are many other noteworthy organizations working throughout the Napa community.

Napa Valley PSI produces products including wooden file boxes and trays, and dog biscuits. They are currently developing other manufacturing opportunities.

Napa Valley Support Services provides support to over 275 individuals with disabilities throughout Napa County. Individuals are supported either in crews or individually by a job coach. Most individuals receive minimum wage and others earn a commensurate wage based on what they contribute to the job. Earning a percentage of commensurate wage allows individuals with severe disabilities to contribute to our community while earning a wage.

The majority of individuals work every day with the support of their employer and NVSS job coach. Napa community employers are wonderful and deserve kudos for the support they give along with our job coaches.

Employers include (client crew job sites): Allen, Shea & Associates; American Red Cross; Becoming Independent; Disability Services & Legal Center; Cottage Garden Nursery; Culinary Institute of America; Devlin Road Transfer Station; Ernest Heine & Associates; Geo Central; George Schofield & Associates; Honig Winery; Land Trust of Napa County/Connolly Ranch; Lixit Corporation; Napa County Transportation Planning Agency; Napa Valley College; Napa Recycling & Waste Services; Napa Sanitation District; New Vine; North Bay Regional Center; Public Works Department, American Canyon; Gallagher and Miersch, Inc.; Veolia Transportation; Villagio Inn & Spa; Vintage Estates; Vintage Inn; and Wendy’s Restaurant.

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(Individual job sites): Aegis Assisted Living Alternatives for Better Living; Blackhawk Body Shop; Buttercream Bakery; Cakebread; Camp Rawhide; Carl’s Jr.; Church Mouse; Fairfield Inn & Suites; Family Drug; Frida’s Mexican Grill; In Home Support Services; JV Wine & Spirits; Lucky Store #730; McDonald’s; Meritage Resort; Merry Maids; Minuteman Press; Nob Hill Foods; Overlander Sheepskin; Radio Shack; Raley’s supermarket; Safeway stores (Napa, St. Helena, Sonoma and American Canyon); Salvation Army; Silverado Country Club; Sunshine Foods; Taco Bell; 3G Welding & Fabrication; Togo’s; Umpqua Bank; Vallerga’s Market; Villagio Inn & Spa; Vintage Security; Wal-Mart; Wendy’s; and Whole Foods Market.

I would also encourage you to visit our newest Web site, www.brownstreetgallery.com, that also gives individuals yet another choice in how to earn an income.

(Kahiga is executive director of Napa Valley Support Services.)

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