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Porto Works

About the Initiative

For several years, Catholic schools in the Arlington diocese have worked to welcome and include students with special needs in the classroom. Upon graduation, these students wish to continue using their gifts in places of employment as well. At Porto Charities we understand the capacity for work that our young adults with disabilities have, so in 2019 we launched an Employment pilot program to help our youth find meaningful employment in our community. 

The goal of the Employment Initiative is to facilitate “Meaningful” Employment of Individuals with ID/DD in an internship, volunteer or paid position within the Diocese of Arlington through the Customized Employment model. Porto is not an employment agency, vocational rehabilitation company or DARS
Affiliate. We are also NOT guaranteeing that a job will be secured or retained. We are advocating and guiding to match the wants/strengths of a Potential Employee (including their support systems) with ID/DD to the needs of a Potential Employer.

Current places employing people with disabilities through the advocacy and support from Porto Charities


Nativity (Burke)

Our Lady of Hope (Sterling)
St. Theresa (Ashburn)
St. Veronica (Chantilly)

St. Mary of Sorrows (Fairfax)
St. Mary Basilica (Alexandria)
St. Leo the Great (Fairfax)


Chancery, Diocese of Arlington.

Bishop Ireton High School (Alexandria)

St. Leo the Great (Fairfax)

St. Paul VI High School (South Riding)

Bishop O'Connell High School (Arlington)

St. Mark’s (Oakton)
St. Joseph’s (Herndon) 
Holy Spirit (Annandale) 
Our Lady of Good Counsel (Vienna)

St. Thomas More Cathedral

Some of these jobs were secured thanks to partnerships with the Catholic Diocese of Arlington and George Mason Learning Into Future Environments (LIFE) program. All current interns and paid employees are either graduates of the Options Programs from our Catholic High Schools, from the Mason Life program, or parishioners from our Diocese.

In just a few years, this initiative has led to the hiring of 26 young adults with ID/IDD at 14 locations working as junior class assistants, lunch and recess monitors, physical education helpers, and receptionists at local schools, parishes, and the Chancery. 

Meet our newest young adult with IDD who has been hired by Bishop Ireton High School through the PortoWorks' Employment Initiative.

PortoWorks Employment Initiative has been featured on The Catholic Herald.

Check out the articles!


Becoming a PortoWorks employee or employer

  • Diagnosis:

    • Intellectual Disability (ID)

    • Autism

    • Development Disability (DD)

    • Multiple Disabilities

    • Traumatic Brain Injury

    • Eligible and meets the criteria for SSI

  • Live in the geographic boundaries of the Arlington Diocese

  • Successfully participated in an Inclusive Catholic Educational Program or Inclusive Post secondary Program for Adults with the above disabilities. Priority given to graduates of Catholic High School Programs. Active in the Diocese of Arlington also considered, but not necessary.

  • Independent in use of Technology. Must carry a cell phone and be able to use it to communicate. 

  • Transportation: Responsible for a Reliable Mode of Transportation to and from job site.

  • Expected to follow all HR rules of the job (dress code, conduct and time off, etc.)

  • Must sign a Participation Agreement.

Check out our Webinars on Inclusive Employment to learn more about our process

Get in touch

If you would like to be part of our Employment Initiative either as an employer or an employee, please reach out to our Employment Committee Chair, Christine Fowler at

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