It’s the Aurora Public Schools’ mission to accelerate learning for every APS student in an equitable fashion. Thankfully, several businesses have committed to helping us do so. Through the Aurora Workforce Collaboration, employers around the city provide opportunities for students with disabilities in APS to gain experience as volunteers, interns and employees in a variety of fields.
The AWC is comprised of three APS programs: Alternative Cooperative Education, the School to Work Alliance Program, and Transition. This team supports hundreds of students from Aurora Central, Gateway, Hinkley, Rangeview and the Crossroads Transition Center who have disabilities as they explore career options.
Noodles & Company has been a proud partner of the AWC for years, currently working with former Crossroads Transition Center student Julian Nangauta and another student at a different location. Nangauta performs a variety of front and back of house duties, including food preparation, serving and bussing.
“Noodles has been a great place to start,” Nangauta expressed. “The atmosphere is very supportive and everyone’s very nice to me. Having this job has given me a lot more independence and I’m able to contribute to my family.”
Noodles & Company General Manager Stephanie Mullet enjoys watching Nangauta learn and grow.
“Julian inherently displays the characteristics that we as a company are looking for,” said Mullet. “He quickly built rapport with the staff and became a part of the team. I believe he has developed more muscle memory and a sense of adaptability. That ability to adapt should give him a sense of accomplishment he can apply to other avenues.”
Although Nangauta’s aspiration is to become a musician, he is thankful to gain such invaluable experience.
“I see myself still pursuing music. I get a lot of encouragement from my co-workers,” he said. “I didn’t think I would make friends that I could actually get to hang out with. I thought everyone would just clock-in and clock-out. I’m glad that I’ve meet people like Vanessa and Zach.”
APS is proud to witness the success of our students through such meaningful community partnerships. To learn more about the Aurora Workforce Collaboration, visit ess.aurorak12.org/related-services/transition/awc.