Helping People with Developmental Disabilities Thrive!
Raymond “Jay” Bariuan, affectionately known as “Jay,” has a can-do attitude and long-standing commitment to his work and serving others and can put a smile on anyone’s face. Jay is the inspiration behind Jay’s Program, an inclusive Paid Internship Program (PIP) for people with neurodiversity. Thanks to the County of San Diego and PRIDE Industries partnership and the San Diego Regional Center (SDRC) support, adults with developmental disabilities are receiving opportunities to spread their wings and achieve their career and employment goals.
Jay served as a County Board Office Intern from 2019-2022 but began his internship with the County in 2008. He provided vital support and assistance to various legislative teams including the State Senate and the State Assembly. When asked what he enjoyed the most, Jay shared, “I like going to the events and being part of a team. The program is great because it supports people with disabilities.”
During the internship, participants collaborate with County mentors to discuss career goals. Interns have an opportunity to improve their job skills and chances for future employment. The program includes bi-weekly training, tailored support from PRIDE Industries job coaches, and mentoring from County departments. The interns join their team members for learning opportunities and town halls to discuss their experiences and growth.
Jay’s parents saw the difference the program made in their son’s life. “Jay felt like he belonged to a community and felt normal, like someone without disabilities. It gave him a chance to prove himself and build his confidence,” his parents shared with GB Magazine. “One day,” said Jay’s mom, “I called Senator Block’s office and heard a young man’s voice. I exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, this is my son!”
Paul Quinones, Employment Coordinator for SDRC added, “The County of San Diego has been a great partner. They are committed to hiring more individuals that are neurodivergent. I am hopeful this can be an example for other businesses and government agencies that individuals with disabilities should not be overlooked in the workplace. PIP gives individuals the opportunity to work on their vocational skills and independence in the workplace.”
The San Diego Regional Center remains committed to supporting Jay’s Program. “I had the privilege to attend and speak at the graduation of the interns. I felt the excitement and pride that the graduates, family members, mentors, and staff have for their accomplishments,” said Kate Kinnamont, Associate Executive Director at SDRC.
When asked what others considering the internship should know, Jay’s parents said, “Jay’s Program is a rare privilege and gives people with special needs the opportunity to excel and be part of a team. Jay lives independently now. When we are gone, we can rest peacefully knowing he will live a wholesome life. Without Jay’s Program and SDRC, this would not be possible. They have made a difference in our son’s life.”