April 28, 2014
C.J. Casas, an employee at Texas Tech University’s physical plant garage, shines the windows and mirrors of Texas Tech’s fleet of 465 vehicles.
Washing a car could be considered a dreaded task for some, but for C.J. Casas it’s a job he takes pride in.
“My job is to make sure all the vans are clean from inside and outside and the windows,” C.J. said. “I have always liked it and keep up good work.”
As a graduate from the Burkhart Transition Academy, C.J. was referred by one of the staff members who would bring the academy’s van to the garage for services. The academy helps students with autism-spectrum disorder transition into higher education, vocational or other settings.
Marty Hobgood, tradesman leader at the garage, said by having C.J. helps cut down the work of his staff significantly and helps the garage run more efficiently.
“C.J. helping us just the three days that he’s here makes a big difference,” Hobgood said. “He’s always eager to help, always wants to learn something new and isn’t afraid to try anything.”
C.J. has also started helping with routine vehicle maintenance including oil and tire changes. He said he likes what he does and helping his coworkers with whatever they need.
“I always try and do my best for them.” C.J. said.
Whether it’s washing a car, doing some heavy lifting or simply being a pair of extra hands Hobgood said C.J. truly shows a little can go a long way.
As part of Autism Awareness Month, Texas Tech Today is highlighting the work done by the Burkhart Transition Academy. Several academy graduates earn jobs on and off campus, thanks to partnerships between the academy and different businesses in the Lubbock community. Throughout the month, we will highlight some of the students who benefit from these partnerships.
The Burkhart Transition Academy is part of the College of Education’s Burkhart Center for Autism Education & Research. It provides postsecondary educational strength-based assessment to aid people with autism-spectrum disorder (ASD) transition to postsecondary higher education and vocational settings.
Classes for young adults with ASD having completed high school meet four days per week to teach life, job and social skills.
The 2014 Burkhart Walk for Autism Awareness will be held 2 p.m. April 27 (Sunday) at Jones AT&T Stadium. The walk is open to all members of the community, and participants can sign up individually or as teams. To learn more or register for the walk, click here