LUCASVILLE — Scioto County Career and Technical Center (SCCTC) started a new program called Project Life.
“Our program is set up for kids with disabilities. We teach them social skills, employability skills and life skills in general,” said instructor Chet Thayer.
Thayer said the plan is for students to intern at different businesses to get work experience.
“Some places we are trying to get into would be some restaurants to do some open up stuff, getting prepped, cleaning, getting tables ready, things like that, and maybe some warehouse places where they can do stocking, even grocery stores,” said Thayer.
Thayer said students would go into the community to work for two hours a day.
“Not only will they get work experience, but they are out in the community, meeting people, being part of the community, and we will come back here and they will make their lunch so we will cook to learn those skills,” said Thayer.
The students will also do laundry for the different school programs like Allied Health and Cosmetology.
“We also collect clothes for our students, and they can come get them throughout the school day like work clothes or stuff for interviews,” said Thayer. “Our students also run the food pantry down here. Any student can come down and get food bags whenever they need it, we do it every Friday, but they can come down any day to get food to take home if they don’t have that at their house.”
The program also plans to start a microbusiness where the students will make dog treats to sell in the community.
“They’ll make them, bake them, bag them, the students will sign they are handmade, and we will sell those out to the community at different businesses so they can see how businesses run,” said Thayer.
Thayer is looking for businesses that are interested in having student’s intern.
“I think once they see what we are doing, they will want to do it,” said Thayer. “We want them to see we are serious about it, we want them to write the job descriptions of what they want done and then our job is to get the kids there to train them to meet those expectations.”
Thayer said many locations that have tried this program end up getting students jobs.
“A lot of places that have done this like Butler County, they hire some of the kids, the kids that get it they’ll say, ‘I’ll hire that one when he’s ready, so it’s giving them opportunities that they wouldn’t have had before,” said Thayer.
The program will function like other programs at SCCTC, where you enroll as a Junior and Senior.
“We’ll have quite a few that will be plus 12, they will already have all of their graduation requirements, but they want to stay and learn a trade so they can choose not to graduate and stay here those extra two years to get that work experience,” said Thayer.
Thayer said the goal is to make students more independent and employable.
“Some students still live with parents and may always live with parents, we don’t know that, but we want to give them opportunities where they can go out, work, make friends, new acquaintances, and just enjoy life to its fullest,” said Thayer. “We focus a lot on them having their own voice and speaking up. Even in the meetings we do with education, we want them to speak up and tell us their plans so they can speak out and be their own voice when they leave here.”
Teachers aids/Job Trainers Denise Coldiron and Rachel Duke will go to job sites with the student interns to assist them.
“I am really enjoying it and I’m looking forward to next year when we get our interns out into businesses. I think they will really enjoy it,” said Coldiron. “We want them to live as independently as they wish to when they graduate.”
Intervention Specialist, Desra Wortman, said they have been practicing how to call in late to work.
“One of the students is reluctant and won’t do it because it feels uncomfortable and so we’re trying to get them to understand practicing here and failing here is a safe place to fail. We would rather you fail and mess up with us than go out on the job and fail and mess up,” said Wortman.
Wortman will remain on campus to work with the students on real life, financial topics, banking, reading, applications, forms they might have to fill out, different types of things they must fill out when renting an apartment or something, independent life skills, communication skills and whatever they may need.
“There’s a real need in our area to help students who have learning disabilities move past believing they can’t do something to see success, feel confident, and be part of a community,” said Wortman. “We don’t want them to look back and say high school was the best that it always was, we want them to think the future is going to be the best and we want to help them make their future the best.”
Duke said she is excited to see the students hands on.
“It’s going to be fun to watch them find these little things they enjoy that they might not have even known they enjoyed,” said Duke. “I’m super excited to take them out on the jobs and I am just excited for this opportunity for kids who might not have known there was an opportunity for them.”
Wortman and Thayer wanted to thank Rick Stringer, Mr. Copley, Mr. Shoemaker, all administrators, Butler County and maintenance.
Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]
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