3000 Disabled High School Students in Wayne and Macomb Counties Benefit from School-to-Work Transition Program

3000 Disabled High School Students in Wayne and Macomb Counties Benefit from School-to-Work Transition Program

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“3000 Disabled High School Students in Wayne and Macomb Counties Benefit from School-to-Work Transition Program During Past 12 Years, Announces Gesher Human Services.”

“Program provides students with intellectual and physical disabilities the skills, confidence and knowledge to lead a fulfilling work life after school; Gesher seeks 30 summer job coaches.”

Gesher Human Services, a nonprofit helping metro Detroiters with barriers to employment, is proud to announce that 3000 high school students in Wayne and Macomb counties who have intellectual and physical disabilities have been served through its School-to-Work Transition Program since 2010.

The program helps students explore careers that might be suitable for them with a variety of activities and experiences including paid summer internships.  It also prepares students to be successful by teaching them what to expect at a place of employment, appropriate behaviors in the workplace and how to request accommodations.

Gesher is also announcing that it is seeking 30 summer job coaches

to provide onsite support to School-to-Work summer interns in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties. Pay is $16 per hour and there is a $200 bonus for those job coaches who work the six-week program with one or fewer call-offs. Prospective applicants can apply here or go to www.geshermi.org. For images of high school summer interns working at jobs around metro Detroit click here.

Seven high schools in Wayne County and ten highs schools in Macomb County currently take part in the School-to Work Transition Program and students are enrolled in the program from 9th through 12th grade. After the program, many students secure employment or decide on further education at community colleges, technical colleges or elsewhere.

Internships are an important part of the program, and 278 students with disabilities have secured employment within 30 days of the conclusion of their internship.

Along with intellectual and learning disabilities,

students may suffer from medical disabilities such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy and seizure disorders. Participants are all identified by Michigan Rehabilitation Services; students who may be eligible but who are not enrolled should talk to their school’s transition coordinator or counselor from Michigan Rehabilitation Services. While the program has been running for 26 years, detailed data on the program was not collected prior to 2010.

“The program gets students to think about life beyond high school as early as the 9th grade,” said Vice President of Vocational Rehabilitation Rene Dell. “Students are able to gain knowledge on the soft skills they need to be successful in employment, create a resume, cover letter and list of references, learn interview techniques, job search skills and have an opportunity to outline short term and long-term vocational goals while exploring various career pathways.”

Dell said that one of the most important parts of the program was giving students hope for the future. “We show them the many opportunities that are available to them following the conclusion of high school. They can see their future is bright and that they have options and opportunities beyond entry level minimum wage work,” she explained.

During the pandemic the program was offered via Zoom, and a new virtual job shadow platform was provided to give exposure to many occupations within the cluster of a student’s career interests. In its first year, less than 20 students used the virtual job shadow platform; in 2023 more than 50 are expected to use the tool.

“This virtual job shadow platform allows students to get firsthand experience about what it is like to work in various occupations. For example, if they are thinking they might like to be a nursing care assistant, they can virtually follow a professional during their workday, explore their daily routine and see if that is really what they would like to do,” said Dell. “For students who are medically fragile because of a compromised immune system or other condition, the virtual option is extremely useful.”

About Gesher Human Services

Gesher Human Services is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people across metro Detroit lead more stable and fulfilling lives through career mobility, behavioral health programs and residential services that support our community by strengthening the individual. Uniting two of metro Detroit’s most influential Jewish human services agencies, JVS Human Services and Kadima, Gesher brings over 110 years of combined experience facilitating equitable employment opportunities and better mental health outcomes for residents. With a network of more than 400 employees and volunteers across 25 locations in southeast Michigan, Gesher delivers a continuum of services and support that directly impacts the lives of over 9,000 individuals and families annually. More information at www.geshermi.org.

Cynthia Tait

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