Student job program helps kids enter the workforce
In today’s economy, the job market may look a little bleak to most people. But for one group of students at Powell County High School, the work place is a goal they plan to achieve. The program is known as Job Training and it helps to prepare students for life after school.
The Job Training program is funded with special education money to help students that are in their junior or senior year of high school obtain work experience. Erica Price, a teacher at Powell County High School, oversees the program and believes it can help. “Finding a job is difficult enough. Finding a job if you have a disability is almost impossible without some experience,” Price said. “Linda Stacy is our job trainer. She takes anywhere from six to eight students to work in different locations. The students will work for approximately two hours in their job site for one to two days per week.”
The work places for the students vary, along with their preferences. “We use many locations within the community for these job training sites,” Price stated. “We have used the nursing home, different day cares, (stores), etc. in the community as well. This allows students to get the needed skills in areas of employment interest.”
The job sites are decided by the student’s interest. That helps to make sure that they want to work toward a goal. “If a student is interested in becoming a fire fighter, we try to place him in the fire station. If a student is interested in movies, we try to place him at Video Solution,” Price explained. “We determine career preferences by administering interest inventories as well as different transition assessments and of course by simply asking the student.”
“Linda will initially contact the different job sites of interest to try to work out a placement for the student. Overall, our community has been wonderful to work with,” Price reported. “Linda then takes the student into the job site, develops different job duties for that site and then trains the student to complete these duties. The goal is for Linda to be able to stand back and let the student complete the required tasks as independently as possible.”
The students are not paid, though Stacy admits that some do try to take extra care of the workers.
“Some have paid them, while others give them things to feed them or take care of them,” Stacy said. The students do earn school credit for the time they are at work. PCHS teachers work very well with the students on allowing them extra time to make up any missed assignment.
“Our goal is to improve each student’s quality of life. Employment plays a large role in that area. We want the students placed in a job they will enjoy and to learn skills that will transfer into permanent employment,” Price said.
“Prior to graduation, we work with the different employers as well as the family on obtaining the student a job. This is a big process working with so many different groups, school, family and employers,” she continued. “We also bring in different outside agencies, such as Access, to help the student continue with a successful transition after graduation.”