VIA Metropolitan Transit is proud to support the State of Texas’ SEAL Program, “Summer Earn and Learn,” designed to provide opportunities for students in the disability community to participate in a paid internship and work with community organizations to gain knowledge, skills and abilities of various workplace settings and environments, including at VIA. Board trustees recognized the eight interns who participated in the SEAL program.

The partnership between VIA and the Texas Workforce Commission provides “job coaches” to review the duties to be performed by the interns, and work closely to identify best-fit scenarios for work within the selected areas.

“We are pleased to have a role in skill-building experiences for these impressive students and will continue to lead by example as advocates for inclusivity in the workplace,” said Jeffrey C. Arndt, VIA President/CEO. “Our VIA departments and mentors helped the interns develop and enhance essential employment skills to prepare them for a successful transition to post-secondary education and employment.”

This year, the Texas Workforce Commission partnered with local organizations to provide participants with paid internships lasting five (5) to eight (8) weeks. Employers and the Workforce Commission through the local non-profit Professional Contract Services (PCSI) worked together to match the skills and interests of the participants with the organization’s job roles. This matching process ensured that each student was placed in an internship that aligned with their strengths, their interests and provided a meaningful learning experience.

“VIA’s team curated a set of extraordinary work opportunities for eight interns, immersing them in a professional culture that encouraged both learning and growth. We hope 2023 represents the first of many opportunities to collaborate with VIA’s exceptional team of professionals,” said Mark Spurlock, Professional Contract Services, Inc. Director of VR Services.

Several VIA divisions took part in the program, including Safety, Maintenance Human Resources, Procurement, Technology and Innovation, and Public Engagement. Participating managers were provided with an orientation introducing them to the SEAL program and information that equipped them with valuable guidance on effectively collaborating with individuals with disabilities. In total, VIA sponsored eight interns who very easily integrated with their respective teams and who made substantial contributions during their time with VIA. Participation in the program affirms VIA’s commitment and support for fostering an inclusive and diverse work environment that empowers all.

“Having the opportunity to participate in the VIAtrans internship was a true blessing,” said Seth Massiatte, L.E.E. High School Student and VIA Safety, Training, & System Security Department Intern. “The experience gave me the opportunity to learn new skills, and the independence taught me not fear the work world. My VIA team coworkers not only took me under their wings, but also provided me with a welcoming and positive environment. They taught me not to let my disabilities discourage me, but to have more confidence in myself. They also encouraged me to seek beyond my abilities. From this opportunity I learned with determination anything is possible.”