When a student turns 14, our vocational staff collaborate with the student, teachers, and parents to identify interests and develop specific vocational goals. Through this process, we match students with internal positions. Guided by a job coach, students successfully accomplish a variety of tasks at the school such as working in the school store or cafeteria, delivering mail, or recycling. In this way, we create a working environment that is a stepping stone to community employment.
For the first year, students are “paid” with material reinforcers that are meaningful to them. At age 15, they are eligible for financial reimbursement for their work. Many are also able to obtain volunteer or paid employment in the community.
Students work under the supervision of a job coach at local businesses, social service agencies, and at school. These work and volunteer experiences develop and strengthen skills that will help students live more independently and result in a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.