The North Coastal Consortium for Special Education (NCCSE) Community Advisory Committee recently recognized a local San Marcos businessman for his work with the organization’s WorkAbility 1 program. Fairfield Inn & Suites San Marcos manager Dallas King received the Employer Excellence in Special Education award in a ceremony at the North County Regional Education Center.
The WorkAbility 1 program gives San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) special education students the opportunity to gain work experience and valuable skills. The statewide program began in 1981 and provides skills training, employment placement, independent living training, and introductions to local employers.
SMUSD WorkAbility 1 program coordinator Karen Thompson nominated Dallas for the award. She praised his years of support for students with disabilities, as well as his advocacy as a member of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce. “Dallas promotes and fosters a culture of full inclusion,” Karen explained. “Our students are considered part of the hotel staff team and take great pride in their contribution to the smooth running of the hotel.” According to Dallas, the program is mutually beneficial, and working with the students is an empowering, morale-building experience for his staff as well.
“The respect and camaraderie shown to our students by Dallas, his staff, and the hotel guests increases their self-esteem and enhances their dignity on a daily basis,” Karen said.
Approximately 200 guests attended, including parents, teachers, administrators, government representatives, and school district superintendents and directors of special education. Dallas also received a framed resolution from State Senator Joel Anderson’s office.