West Shore ESD gets students working

Summer projects: Left to right, Ashley Bratschi, Scott Hernandez, Ron Tyndall, Matt North & Gage Warner (seated) particiaped in a beach clean-up project, organised through the West Shore ESD. (Courtesy photo)
Summer projects: Left to right, Ashley Bratschi, Scott Hernandez, Ron Tyndall, Matt North & Gage Warner (seated) particiaped in a beach clean-up project, organised through the West Shore ESD. (Courtesy photo)

In partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources – Parks and Recreation Division and Michigan Rehabilitation Services, the West Shore Educational Service District has created several paid job training experiences for youngsters with disabilities.

This pilot initiative includes work sites at Ludington state park and recreation areas across Michigan.

Ludington State Park Supervisor Dan Adams said he welcomed the opportunity to partner with the West Shore ESD in providing this valuable opportunity for local youth. “These paid summer experiences help build confidence through valuable real-world training for students” he added.

In Ludington, five students (Scott Hernandez, Matt North, Ron Tyndall, Ashley Bratschi and Gage Warner) are working at the Ludington State Park under the supervision of job coach Tamra Brunke. “The students are focusing on developing essential employability skills such as problem solving, teamwork, following directions from a supervisor, and job completion” she said. “The actual work tasks consist of basic maintenance duties around the park.” According to Brunke, the job opportunities benefit everyone involved. “Students gain the necessary skills to be work ready, the community gains from students being employed, and Ludington State Park gains from the extra seasonal workforce.”

West Shore ESD Superintendent Randy Howes said that, “A job can provide a sense of accomplishment and pride and have an enormous positive effect on a person’s overall feeling of satisfaction and self worth.

That’s why preparing students for the workforce is an important role for schools.” Howes said the West Shore Education Service District’s Transition program will continue working to provide training that generates opportunities for youth and benefit regional employers.

With Michigan’s unemployment rate consistently among the nation’s highest, young people are faced with the growing challenge of contending for entry level positions against more seasoned competition.

These programs offer learning opportunities and mentoring to youth that provide youngsters with job experience while enhancing the employability skills they will need to secure competitive

employment.