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School’s out for the summer. What can keep a youth’s attention and give them something to look forward to? How about a Paycheck!
Giving students a solid foundation in the world of work was the theme this summer as agencies across Alaska partnered to provide work experiences for youth. 14 agencies, three of which were school districts, provided 177 students with disabilities, ranging from ages 14 to 21, a unique opportunity to explore careers in a variety of industries. These work experiences not only benefitted the students, they also helped the communities.
The 2017 Summer Work Program, administered by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and Disability Employment Initiative (DEI), was designed to assist students with disabilities to receive the pre-employment transition services needed to transition from school to work, postsecondary education, or training. The funding provided to agencies statewide allowed them to combine workplace experience with an instructional component that exposed youth to career pathways and workplace expectations.
Alaska businesses have been a large supporter of the summer work program. Over 65 businesses provided employment and work readiness training to youth participants. Businesses stepped up in a big way and helped the youth gain experience in a variety of industries to include landscaping, customer service, janitorial, and childcare. Many of these youth had never worked before, this program allowed them to achieve a higher level of skill and experience needed to prepare them for further education and work.
Each agency was able to design a program that fit the needs of their students and community. Annette Island School District designed a community cleanup program. Students who had obtained their PADI dive certificates worked in the water to clear the debris from the break-water area, while others cleared the shores. Lower Kuskokwim School District worked with five local businesses within their community to place students. The students did so well that two of them obtained permanent positions once their work experience had concluded. Cordova School District engaged seven different businesses in their community and also used the peer mentor model to provide a supportive structure for students.
If you would like to know more about how your school can get involved in the 2018 summer work experience contact: Jim Kreatschman at firstname.lastname@example.org or Windy Swearingin at email@example.com