Upward & Onward


The Mission of Upward and Onward at CityScape is to increase employment relationships between businesses seeking entry-level employees and graduating high school seniors with disabilities. Phoenix Union High School District (PUHSD) alongside UnitedHealthcare & RED Development have developed this innovative transition services program pairing:

+Curriculum Based Vocational Rehabilitation

CityScape Office Tower has become a PUHSD campus with a dedicated classroom on site! A course instructor skilled in curriculum development focused on workplace readiness alongside real world experiences will lead the course work. This teacher will also have the full time support of a job development coach. Students will also benefit from the support of Arizona’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services with an individual job development coach to assist when it comes time to start an internship. All support staff will be focused on meeting the needs and standards of the business prior to the start of an internship. Students selected for Upward & Onward at CityScape go through an application and interview process to ensure they are ready to take on this type of program. (See The Students section to understand selection process)

+Multiple Real World Work Experiences/Internships

Each student will experience 3 different work environments throughout the year (split in to 9 week trimesters – see 2018-19 School Year for the official schedule) which depend on a student’s ability matching the job and task list of a participating business. This program relies on forward-thinking businesses electing to partner with this program. (See How To Become An Internship Host for more information on how to get involved.)

Students walking away with real work experience is truly the best part of this programInternship roles and tasks within a business are predetermined through the help of a job developer and The Support Staff alongside your business representative(s).

The focus will be placed on how to accommodate the business needs so that students will meet realistic expectations in order to achieve long-term employment success upon graduation.  Internship placements will be made by taking the requirements of the business and matching it with a student’s abilities.


What makes Upward & Onward at CityScape innovative is the collaboration with multiple downtown Phoenix businesses. To provide a variety of internships for students we need a variety of businesses willing to host an intern! We are looking for trailblazers willing to lead as we work towards unlocking and empowering an untapped workforce.


Students leaving the program employed! Whether it be midway through school year or upon graduation, the best case scenario is if a business is able to meet their workforce need by hiring a student from the program.

Below you’ll find information on:
The Support Staff
The Students
How To Become an Internship Host
2023-2024 Timeline




The Support Staff is comprised of individuals representing all aspects of this program.  Between the members of this team all questions will find an answer regarding Upward & Onward at CityScape.

Ian Walden, PUHSD Exceptional Student Services Instructor

Nancy Ouellette, PUHSD Job Development Coach

Wendy Collison, PUHSD Director of Exceptional Student Services
Lauren Tauscher, PUHSD Exceptional Student Services Manager

Laurie Ganzenmiller, DD Liasion of UnitedHealthcare

E. Mari Herrera-Daniels, Chair, Arizona Latino Council on Disabilities
Michael Leyva, Arizona’s Developmental Disabilities Planning Council
Leanne Murrillo, Socialization through recreation coordinator and Empowering Youth Transition Coordinator through the non-profit Ability 360
Janice Bradford, Vocational REhabilitation Supervisor for the State of Arizona




Selection Process:
Selection of program interns is made through a competitive process that includes a multi-component application and interview. In addition to program specific eligibility criteria, successful candidates must demonstrate the following:

  1. Strong desire/commitment to work competitively after graduation.
  2. Ability to work independently with appropriate work etiquette and strong interpersonal skills.
  3. Goal to work at least 20 hours per week after program completion
  4. Ability to meet host business clearance requirements

Qualifying students will be in their last year of high school and vary between the ages of 18-22. Students will apply from all over the Phoenix Union High School District. All students go through an interview process to:

  1. To practice interviewing skills.
  2. Ensure the students selected are ready to learn real world job skills and have the ability to complete this program.

Non-Paid Work Experience:
In lieu of receiving compensation for the internship/real work experience students will receive course credit towards graduation.




We need businesses to host internships! There are several benefits to interacting with this hugely untapped workforce to fill your entry-level needs. This is an employee pool of motivated, loyal and driven individuals who were selected for the program based on these qualities. They also have a large support staff devoted to helping them achieve their goals for gainful employment every step of the way. But we still need your help!

Contract to be signed by the business owner or manager prior to the beginning of the trimester to become an internship host site.

For more information contact Sara Anderson [email protected] 


  1. Staffing commitment
    1. Mentor to help student learn the ropes until both comfortable allowing student to handle tasks on their own.
  1. Time commitment
    1. One – two hour job developer meeting to help figure out internship job descriptions within your business
      1. June 11-15
    2. One hour meeting to establish on-boarding process to make sure student is ready to enter job
      1. Certifications & training, uniform requirements, confidentiality agreements signed etc.
    3. 30 min mock interview
      1. After a student is matched with your internship opportunity, we would like to have a mock interview as practice.
    4. Internship (up to 3 internships per school year)
      1. 4 hours per day (9am-1pm)
      2. 5 days a week (M-F)
      3. 9 weeks per internship
    5. Optional: participation in
      1. BAC welcomes students and Tour of CityScape
      2. Parent night
      3. Kick off ceremony
      4. Graduation ceremony
  2. Optional Training – Upon Request
    1. The support staff has offered to provide participating businesses with a free disability awareness training for your full staff.


Participants in this program are full time PUHSD staff and students. Should anything thing happen during an internship responsibility will fall to PUHSD.

We ask all participating businesses to sign a– which explains liability. While taking on the role of intern within a business, individuals are considered students of Phoenix Union High School District. The contract has been approved by The Phoenix Union High School District Board of Directors.  If you need further clarification or a specific modification please let one of the Steering Committee (listed in The Support Staff) members know.


If both the business and student are thrilled with the experience and want to pursue permanent employment this program would be more than happy to make arrangements for the student to assume part or full time employment immediately or at the end of the school year.

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