The dog fences that Canine Company at 473 Danbury Road installs are invisible, but the community service work the company is involved in is palpable.
The home pet services company is leading the way in southern Connecticut to show that local companies can help young adults with autism and related learning disabilities develop the skills they need to become valued members of the workforce.
On Sept. 19, the company had six young visitors from Milestones Behavioral Services in Orange, formerly the Connecticut Center for Child Development, a nonprofit agency that provides services for individuals with autism, Asperger’s syndrome and related disorders.
The young people were having their monthly vocational training day at Canine Company, packing envelopes with batteries and other small components needed for the maintenance of the company’s invisible dog fences.
The interns worked in a large conference room while a couple of friendly yellow Labradors came around to them for petting and scratches.
“I like the doggies, that’s the best part of the work,” said a young man who gave his name as Gregory, 18.
He did not let the dog distract him much, though. He concentrated on his envelope packing.
“Yes, I am so focused,” he joked.
Nearby, another 18-year-old, who gave his name as Cameron, was carefully folding the tops of the manilla-colored envelopes.
“I like to do this,” he said.
The interns visit other companies in the region, as well.
“We have 100 clients, including adults,” said Bobby Sanford, vocational coach for Milestones Behavioral Services.
The Canine Company got involved with Milestones on the work experience program through the efforts of Canine Company employee, Joe Shedlock, said Jeff Kelly, distribution manager for Canine Company.
“Joe got us started in it,” Kelly said. “It’s in our DNA to help local communities, and to support local community programs like this.”
The work experience at Canine Company and other businesses in the region helps prepare the Milestones clients for paying jobs, said Sanford.
“It will help them learn new skills, and to work a longer period of time,” he said.
“They’re also getting experience visiting a lot of different working environments. Any new opportunity to explore jobs is always welcome.”
To learn more about partnerships with Milestones Behavioral Services look them on on the Internet at mbs-inc.org.