A key component of the Wayfinders Program is to develop our students into competent employees. Students are provided work experience and classroom opportunities to learn skills in preparation for competitive integrated employment. Each semester students enroll in the Career Development Class which is a 3-unit Fresno State course. Coursework focuses on skills such as work ethic, workplace communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and accountability. Students create a resume, build an electronic portfolio, learn and practice interviewing, and develop soft skills necessary to find and retain employment. Students are given the opportunity to explore multiple industries while applying what they have learned each semester. Students participate in 4 semester-long internships (at no cost for work site). Initially, a Wayfinders job coach is assigned to provide on-the-job support and training at the work site. As the student demonstrates knowledge and proficiency the coaching supports fade as the natural supports of the business takes over.

Benefits to Employers

  • Zero compensation by the employer
  • Zero liability; covered through the Fresno State Foundation
  • Job coaches are provided to assist students in performing job duties
  • Up to $20K in tax credits/deductions if student is hired
  • No cost job training for student
  • Wayfinders Vocational Management Staff provide immediate support to the employer and their employees regarding the Wayfinders student
  • Contribute to the development of the student's workability, confidence, and potential for future employment

How Employers can Maximize Developing Employment Skills in our Students:

  • Provide a work experience opportunity at their business
  • Think outside of the box, exceed expectations
  • Consider the student's strengths
  • Expect from a Wayfinders student the same job performance as their employees
  • Wayfinders student works alongside employees

Our Partners

  • Best Western Plus
  • Bitwise
  • Break the Barriers
  • Colorado Grill
  • Cost Cutters
  • Denham Resources
  • Gazebo Gardens
  • Grocery Outlet
  • Home Goods
  • Horizon Health & Subacute Center
  • Kids Inc, Peoples Church
  • Luna's Pizzeria
  • Maya Cinemas
  • Meat Market
  • Old Spaghetti Factory
  • Orchard Supply and Hardware
  • Palazzo at Campus Pointe
  • Rayz Motorcycle Towing
  • REI
  • Resources for Independence Central Valley
  • Save Mart Center
  • ReStore - Habitat for Humanity
  • Veterans Administration
  • Vinland Elementary
  • Von's
  • Walgreen's

Fresno State Campus

  • Athletic Training Department
  • Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children's Literature
  • Beef Unit
  • Communicative Disorders and Deaf Studies
  • Department of Theater Arts
  • Floral Department
  • Gibson Farm Market
  • Horse Unit
  • Industrial Technology Department
  • Kennel Bookstore
  • Office of the President
  • Music Department
  • Plant Operations, Warehouse
  • Plant Science Department
  • Programs for Children
  • Special Education Department
  • University Student Union, Recreation Center

Download our Vocation brochure by clicking here.

If you are interested in becoming a partner, please contact Leslie Shirakawa.

If you are interested in becoming a job coach, please visit the Auxiliary Human Resources website to search for open positions.

Contact Information

Leslie Shirakawa M.S., C.R.C.

Vocational Specialist


(559) 278-0223