Saturday, April 5, 2014

• Joint Work Experience Program

This week I had the pleasure of meeting an inspiring group of young adults. They are all part of the school district's Joint Work Experience Program. A program that takes special needs students and gets them job experience.

I met them at city hall, where they were sorting flyers, for the coming Eggstravaganza Egg Hunt, to be distributed to the local schools.

In the group were Kristina Koenings, Mathew Morse, Louis Mauries, Michael Watersfriend and Corey Heller, of the Adult Transition Program; students aged 18-22. They all allowed me to ask them questions about the program, though Louis and Kristina preferred to not be photographed. 

Michael Watersfriend sorting flyers.

The work was being done in a conference room/break room at city hall.

Job Developer, Lori Olson, giving tips to Mathew Morse (left) and Corey Heller.

While the group was busy working I had a chance to ask Lori Olson more about the program. Here is some of what I learned.

  • The adult program is based out of Ortega High School.
  • Each high school in the district has a program, supported by a total of three job coaches.
  • Students can enter the program once they are in 11th grade.
  • There are currently 30 local businesses in the program, known as Community Business Partners.
  • Students do not get paid —as they are interns, but they do get invaluable work experience, and often given small perks related to the business (like a meal at a restaurant, or perhaps movie tickets if they are working at the cinema).
  • The school district provides liability and worker's comp insurance.
  • They also provide the transportation to and from the business.
  • The district monitors the student's progress.
  • There are currently 100 students in the district-wide program.
  • They get their Food Handler Certificates when working around food.

Meet some of the participating student interns from the Adult Transition Program.

 Here is a look at the program's Mission Statement

I asked Lori about how local businesses could participate. 
Email is a good first contact.


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