Students visit local job sites to learn about post-graduation career options

The School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP) helps some Moffat County High School students make an easier transition from school into entry-level positions in the work force. The program is in its sixth year of operation in Moffat County, and has 20 students enrolled.

SWAP coordinator Delaine Voloshin said students in the program have physical or emotional disabilities that interfere with their ability to find jobs.

"They have barriers to employment," she said. "I work with the older kids, ages 16 and up, to help them learn to follow directions on a job, do things correctly, and learn what's available in the community."

The program gives students an opportunity to experience jobs first hand by observing an employee for a short time.

Many vocational options are highlighted.

The SWAP curriculum covers crucial topics such as writing a resume, personal grooming, filling out job applications, getting through an interview, on-the-job training (employers are reimbursed for training costs), basic employment skills, vocational assessments and labor market information.

A key component of the tours give students a better idea of what's involved in doing certain jobs.

"For instance, in the fast food industry they need to have math to run the cash register, to take orders and to handle inventory," she said. "They only find that out when they visit behind the front counter of a fast food restaurant."

Annette McCurdy, special education aide, said job site tours are good for students.

"It gets them out in the community, and gives them the education they need in order to work," she said.

"The area businesses have been very supportive in giving the students on-site tours," Voloshin said.

In the classroom, students learn about various industry operations, then venture out to get a hands-on look at the way businesses work. The tours not only educate the students, but help them make career decisions.

"I want to be a waiter when I graduate," SWAP student Jason Lathom said after he got a behind-the-scenes look at Holiday Inn's dining room.

"I definitely don't want to work in housekeeping," SWAP student Kathy Parfrey said, shaking her head after she dusted and ran a vacuum during a tour of the Holiday Inn.

SWAP students have been to the Community Budget Center, Craig Veterinary Hospital, and Holiday Inn this year, Next month they'll visit Sunset Meadows.

"We're looking for new sites that the students are interested in," Voloshin said. "We haven't done a mechanical business or clerical one yet."

For more information or to offer your business as a learning site, contact Voloshin at 824-3246.

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