WOW Celebrates End of Successful Internship

The internship was made possible through Hands On Education’s Vocational Explorations Program. Hands On Education is a state/federally funded training program for individuals with disabilities. Their mission is to, “help students explore the world of work, and prepare them for permanent employment.”

Hands On Educational Services, Inc. was founded in 1998 as a culinary arts program at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. Due to the efforts of Hyatt Leadership and the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), the Hands On @Hyatt program expanded to offer inclusive workplace training programs at Hyatt properties across the country.

In 2016, the Hands On @Hyatt model was expanded to include training in other industries through the Hands On Vocational Explorations program, a career-training program tailored to each student’s interests and skills. Hands On Education connects students with 80-hour paid internships in their field of interest and the Florida Department of Vocational Rehabilitation provides the funding.

Mikaela is currently pursuing her master’s degree in graphic design and digital animation at The University of Tampa. While with the WOW, she was instrumental in generating and curating digital content, as well as establishing digital processes that the WOW team can use to grow our digital presence. She also created website and social media graphics and assisted with photography and videography at our Spring Egg Hunt. Above all, Mikaela was an absolute joy to work with and we are grateful for her hard work and exceptional organizational skills.

We would like to thank Hands On Education Training Manager and Fords resident, Tonya Sanchez, for presenting this opportunity to the WOW, as well as Lindsey Gray, who serves as Mikaela’s Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant. We would also like to thank the WOW Board of Directors for authorizing this opportunity, which was a rewarding experience for all involved.

Hands On Education is always looking for rewarding internship opportunities. To learn more about how your organization can get involved, contact Tonya Sanchez at To learn more about opportunities available through Vocational Rehabilitation, visit

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