As one response to the IDEA (federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), GHS runs a School-to-Work program. It is part of my job to develop jobs for students. Gloucester employers, e.g., Audrey’s Flower Shop, the Building Center, Cruiseport, and the supermarkets have been generous in providing employment opportunities. Others, e.g., the Open Door, Second Glance, Rose Baker Senior Center, and the YMCA, have hosted students in unpaid internships.
As you might expect, not all students who are eager to work have the self-discipline and/or experience to qualify as fully-paid employees. The pilot Bridge from School to Workplace will make Gloucester even more awesome. Small business owners, who have not been able to take on a high school student, will benefit from a set of helping hands. Students who are looking for work will have a first work experience paid for by Awesome Gloucester. Some employers may find that the student’s contribution is valuable enough to offer to pay for a few hours/week out of their own operating budgets. This would be an ideal outcome!
I can work it into my schedule to continue to develop the new job sites and to supervise the students we can place there. We are looking to Awesome Gloucester for direct support to the students so they get the satisfaction of earning a wage in exchange for their work.
We will evaluate the pilot by interviewing both employers and students, and if deemed successful, we will use this experience as a basis for applying to the Gloucester Education Foundation for a continuation grant.
Funded by Gloucester, MA (October 2014)