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Wayfinders at Fresno State


student working

A key component of the Wayfinders Program is to develop our participants into competent employees. Participants are provided with 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. Participants create a resume, build an electronic portfolio, learn and practice interviewing, and develop soft skills necessary to find and retain employment. Participants are given the opportunity to explore multiple industries while applying what they have learned each semester. Participants 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 worksite. 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 participants in performing job duties
  • Up to $20K in tax credits/deductions if the participant is hired
  • No-cost job training for participant
  • Wayfinders Vocational Management Staff provide immediate support to the employer and their employees regarding the Wayfinders particpant
  • Contribute to the development of the participant'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 participant's strengths
  • Expect from a Wayfinders participant the same job performance as their employees
  • Wayfinders participant works alongside employees

Our Partners

Fresno State Campus

  • Athletic Training Department
  • Chemistry Department
  • Collegian Newspaper
  • Communicative Disorders and Deaf Studies
  • Environmental Health and Safety
  • Gibson Farm Market
  • Quarter Horse Unit
  • Industrial Technology Department
  • Kennel Bookstore
  • Music Department Office
  • Office of the President
  • Plant Operations, Warehouse
  • Plant Science Department Office
  • Programs for Children
  • University Dining Services
  • University Student Union, Bulldog Bowl
  • Wayfinders Office


  • Amtrak
  • Best Western Plus
  • Bitwise 
  • Bookbarn
  • Break the Barriers
  • Colton's Social House
  • Colorado Grill
  • Cost Cutters
  • Denham Resources
  • Duncan Ceramics
  • Future Ford of Clovis
  • Gazebo Gardens
  • Glenn Agnes Senior Housing
  • Grocery Outlet, Clovis
  • Grocery Outlet, Fresno
  • Grocery Outlet, Northwest Fresno
  • Home Goods, Clovis
  • Horizon Health & Subacute Center
  • Imago
  • Joni and Friends, Central California
  • Luna's Pizzeria
  • Maya Cinemas, Fresno
  • Old Spaghetti Factory
  • Palazzo at Campus Pointe
  • REI, Fresno
  • Resources for Independence Central Valley
  • ReStore 
  • SaveMart Center
  • Sears
  • Valley Air Conditioning & Repair
  • Valley Animal Shelter
  • VA Central California Health Care System
  • Vinland Elementary
  • Wahoo's Fish Tacos
  • Walgreen's #7830

Student holding awardDownload 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