The Work Experience Program is designed to teach students work-ready behaviors within a job site. Data is systematically collected in five areas (appearance, behavior, job performance, communication, and independence) and used to determine progress toward competitive work skills. Students work with the coordinator, job coach, and job site to determine appropriate work goals and tasks.
Prior to enrolling in Work Experience, students will have passed Career Development & Transition. The IEP team will have determined a need for Work Experience, including the development of an applicable goal, to enhance behaviors necessary for future opportunities in competitive employment. Students are considered interns in an unpaid educational program and receive course credit towards graduation.
Job Site Components
Placements within the Work Experience Program are determined by multiple factors, including interest and skill sets obtained from previous classes and work experiences, proximity of a business to the school, opportunities available through community businesses, and prior supports. Enhancing work-ready behaviors is a major component of student growth within the class. Compliance with staff from the school and business, along with regular attendance, are two work-ready behaviors students will be expected to demonstrate immediately in a community placement.
Once a location is secured for a specific placement, a written agreement is completed between the community business, school, student, and parent/guardian. Students and staff are expected to follow the routines and rules outlined by the business. While rare, patterns of irregular attendance and/or an inability to comply with work requests may result in the loss of a work placement.
Each student’s internship within the program is unique due to the student, business, and time of day. A typical day in a community placement begins with a student boarding a First Student bus by the sound of the class bell. The student is then taken to the work site, where a job coach meets him/her. Depending on the job site, a student will receive their tasks from a manager, gather the needed supplies, and ask any questions there may be at the time. A job coach would help the student identify how to approach the completion of tasks, as well as how to evaluate their performance during and after a task. Teaching a student how to communicate throughout the placement, including self-advocacy, is an important piece to the program. To review evaluation templates, please contact me, Patrick Dipman.