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Community-based Work Study
Students over the age of 16 work at jobsites to explore a range of occupations and develop and practice essential work-related skills including communication, social skills, and specific vocational skills. Our goal is to increase independence, stamina, and tolerance for focusing and working for extended periods of time.
Students participate in day-long blocks one or two days per week. A job coach is usually present to facilitate learning and provide necessary support, but it is often a goal to increase interaction with “natural supports,” i.e., employers, and some students are able to learn and work without the direct presence of school staff. Support for community activities is also provided by speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and special education staff as appropriate. *
- Time in community ranges from ½ day to 2 full days per week
- Students placed in non-paid positions in various work settings
- Student performs job with assistance of job coach or independently (if capable)
- Tasks may include: stocking merchandise, office work, sanitation/cleaning, and event set up
- Transportation is provided by the school
- Prevocational skills such as caring for personal possessions (wallet, ID), dressing appropriately for the job, and maintaining proper hygiene are taught
- Application of everyday math, interpersonal, and communication skills are applied and reinforced
- Students practice filling out job applications, resumes, identifying interests
- Students practice safety skills in community
Qualifying students interested in pursuing secondary education may qualify to enroll in college classes and even earn credits while still in high school. Instruction and support is provided for course content, around the competencies and behaviors needed to successfully negotiate the social aspects of a postsecondary environment, and to access the campus-based services and supports important for long-term success.
* The Foundation School Community Work Study and Community Experience programs operate under a wage and salary exemption from the Connecticut State Department of Labor that permits students to contribute their time, without pay, in return for the opportunity to experience different occupations and develop vocational and work-related skills. Students are not paid for participation in these programs.