Seniors at SHIP - Midland Park took part in a year-long class learning about real-world skills and then using them at various internships around NJ. During the beginning of the year, students sat in class discussing topics and completing projects about disability laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, 504 plans, college and workplace accommodations, resumes, services such as DVRS, applications for jobs, colleges, and scholarships, as well as different technology available such as CART, C-Print, and smart phone apps.
Students also took part in mock interviews coming prepared with job applications, cover letters, and resumes. They had to write follow-up letters and thank you cards once the job interviews were finished. Different speakers came to class to talk about going to college and working in the real world with a hearing loss. Students had a chance to visit various colleges, trade schools, and academic programs such as Bergen Community College, Lincoln Tech, Eastwick College, and Montclair State University.
During the second half of the school year, students were able to apply these skills at various internships including Godwin School, Wood Ridge Transition Center, National Sportswear, and Burlington Department Store. Some students went daily while others went three days a week. They had the assistance of job coaches to guide them through as they completed various tasks and worked with mentors on-site.
Students shared their experiences during their final presentations speaking about lessons they learned (like getting to work early), keeping communication open (texting their boss if they would be absent), and working hard. Time at these internships allowed the seniors a chance to build their resumes with work experience. For one student, it even lead to a part-time job throughout the summer and into the Fall semester when he begins college. These seniors truly had a rewarding experience.
A huge thank you should go out to all who were involved in pulling resources for this course, planning trips and transportation, as well as supervising the students at their various job sites. It definitely takes a village to allow these students to pursue their dreams!