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Specialized Training Programs

Life'sWork and Controlled Environment Horticulture, Inc. (CEH)

The missions of each organization are inherently complementary. Life’sWork is an 85-year veteran organization in providing opportunities for employment and independence to Southwestern Pennsylvanians with hiring barriers; CEH has owned and operated the Sewickley Creek Greenhouse for 17 years as a training and employment site for people with disabilities.

Since the partnership began with CEH and Life’sWork, 27 Life’sWork clients with disabilities or other employment barriers have been trained at the greenhouse in growing, cultivating and selling produce, flowers and plants. Nineteen of the 27 clients have either stayed in school or obtained employment. The remaining individuals either went on to other Life’sWork programs or moved forward with meeting their individual goals outside of Life’sWork.

Currently, trainees for the horticultural training program are referred by CCAC, the Watson Institute, North Allegheny High School and Life’sWork. In 2009, Life’sWork and CEH successfully completed a pilot project that integrated a team of workers with disabilities supervised by a Life’sWork Job Coach into the regular growing schedule at the greenhouse. This project was expanded over the summer of 2010 to include nearly a dozen at-risk high school students with disabilities who gained a 20-hour per week paid internship experience.

This venture is designed to be self-sustaining with a mission to train people with disabilities for careers in horticulture while improving behaviors and social skills through inclusion in a fully-integrated workplace enhanced by the therapeutic aspects and sustainable practices of horticulture. The sale of cultivated products sustains the mission and allows for the development of new work experiences.

Connections Computer and Customer Service Representative Training Program (CSR Class)

Connections Computer and Customer Service Representative (CSR) Program is a comprehensive, eight-week training and job placement experience. Located at Life'sWork of Western PA's Uptown headquarters, the program is easily accessible.


The curriculum is aimed at helping participants to build and/or develop solid fundamental skills in the area of computer processing and customer service delivery.  Participants are provided with an opportunity to receive formal instruction in the use of Microsoft's most popular software packages, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. General use of the Internet as a research tool and communication via email is also learned. Each participant is additionally required to improve their keyboarding skills through daily practice using typing software.


During training, individuals explore the role and responsibilities of a CSR. Participants are walked through valuable customer service skills including courtesy, empathy, effective listening, questioning techniques, and proper telephone etiquette.

All participants enrolled in the course participate in weekly job placement activities which cover topics such 

as effective job searching and interviewing. Each participant finishes the training with a completed resume 

and cover letter.


It is an aggressive component of the program, and it's what sets Connections apart. Maintaining a close working relationship with area employers is a key factor in helping participants to secure employment. Connections graduates have been offered employment or are currently working at companies including Direct Advantage Marketing, Campos Market Research, Dial America, PNC Bank, Xentel, NCO, and Citizens Bank.

Environmental Service Training Program

To teach essential job skills in the field of janitorial services, Life'sWork has designed a comprehensive eight-week Environmental Service Training Program that will be open to adults with disabilities, as well as youth who are at-risk, adjudicated and/or have a disability. Referral sources will include the Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities Base Service Units, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), Life'sWork's Youth Initiatives and Life'sWork's Business Services Division.


The program will encompass and support a comprehensive vocational curriculum that uses modern tools. The course content includes helping the participant to determine their job direction and/or vocational goal as well as assess their work skills and ability to perform the duties associated with this career. Safety practices, commercial cleaning techniques, floor care, building maintenance, use and care of equipment will also be addressed.

Because employment in this field is expected to grow 21 percent through the year 2014, job placement assistance is a critical part of the Environmental Service Training Program. According to Salary Expert website, the average salary of an Environmental Service Worker in Pittsburgh is $32,473, and each participant will be assigned to a Life'sWork Workforce Development Specialist to develop a resume and cover letter and aggressively search for a job.


The program content will be presented in a standard classroom, lecture-type setting, as well as a self-paced practical work experience format with hands-on training.


Accommodations will be made considering the needs of the trainee taking into consideration different learning styles and pace.

If you or someone you know would be interested in one of our Specialized Training Programs, contact Joshua Martin at jmartin@lifesworkwpa.org or 412-471-2600x321


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Vocational Evaluation

Youth Programs

Adult Programs




  • Job Placment
  • Supported Employment
  • Case Managment
  • Vocation Evaluations Assessments
  • Travel Orientation
  • Job Coaching
  • Staff & Peer Mentoring
  • Employment Preparation Activities
  • Project Choice -Self-sufficiency program for juvenile offenders and at-risk youth (ages 12-21) with or without disabilities.
  • Project Match - Helping young adults between the ages of 16 and 23 with significant disabilities to transition from the classroom to the working world.
  • Workforce Investment Act program - A work readiness program for young adults between the ages of 17 and 21 that focuses on preparing them for the workforce through several work experiences and evaluations.


  • Connections - Customer Service Representative 8-Week Training Course
  • Mobile Work Crew - Janitorial Training Program
  • Sewickley Creek Greenhouse - Training youth and adults with disabilities in every aspect of the horticulture industry
  • One of 3 PartnerShops in the U.S. that provides real life work experiences to youth that face barriers to employment.
  • An innovative business model, one that blends business and mission related work for all around benefit.