The UCESC Transition Services Department works closely with students enrolled in our out-of-district special education school-based programs (The Westlake School and Lamberts Mill Academy both located in Westfield) to develop the skills necessary to seek and secure competitive employment after high school. Our students participate in unpaid, structured learning experiences at area businesses in or near their home communities. The students are accompanied at all times by a trained job coach who provides worksite support and conducts situational work assessments to gather information about the student’s abilities and preferences. UCESC also provides these same services on a contracted basis to individual or small groups of students referred by districts across the county.
This month we are spotlighting two of our program’s graduates who are now gainfully employed in Union County.
Mark graduated Cranford High School in June of 2013 after participating in the UCESC Work Readiness Program for two years. This past July, Mark was hired as a part-time associate by Marshalls clothing store on Central Avenue in Clark. Mark works primarily in the back room processing area preparing items for the sales floor. Lacy Preston is the Back Room Coordinator at Marshalls, and Mark’s direct supervisor. Ms. Preston says she recognized Mark was employable after seeing him perform during his internship.
“Mark takes instruction very well, which is extremely important in a fast-paced retail environment. We are very happy with his development.” Mark reports that he is enjoying his new position primarily because he feels welcome there. “The people here are friendly and I feel comfortable with them.” Mark was also hired part-time this past summer at Autoland on Route 22 in Springfield where he provides office support in the accounting and service departments.
Another Transition alumni Courtney graduated Jonathan Dayton High School in Springfield in June of 2010 after participating in the UCESC Work Readiness Program for four years. Courtney expressed an interest in learning about the field of child development so UCESC placed her at Noah’s Ark Preschool in Westfield and First Children School, an New Jersey approved private special education school in Fanwood. Prior to graduating, Courtney was hired by First Children School as a classroom assistant. Courtney says her participation in the UCESC program, “helped a lot, because otherwise I don’t think I would have a job right now.” Kathy Gorski, principal at First Children School, says she wouldn’t hesitate hiring a person with disabilities again in the future. “With the proper training and support of the job coach, individuals like Courtney add quality to the overall functioning of your organization.”
UCESC Transition Services are under the auspices of Union County Educational Services Commission located in Westfield. For more information about our services got www.ucesc.org .