Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS program helps youth develop essential job skills
Whether they are filing paperwork, packaging snacks or maintaining the grounds, students at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Pennsylvania are learning valuable job, life and social skills to help them prepare for future employment or volunteer opportunities.
Youth enrolled in Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services (CIDDS) Learning Center have the opportunity to participate in the center’s Employment Training Program, which features pre-vocational training at the on-campus Employment Training Center, both on-campus and community-based job training, as well as competitive employment.
“Our Employment Training Program allows students to examine their strengths and preferences; access employment training opportunities; develop skills and competencies; and eventually transfer those skills to competitive employment opportunities,” said Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS Learning Center Education Director Susan Nice, MSW. “Our goal is to help our students integrate into the community, and lead positive, productive and socially-connected lives.”
Exploring interests; practicing skills
Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS Learning Center’s Employment Training Center (ETC) includes a facility for pre-vocational learning activities to help students improve daily living, communication and social skills; a business district that simulates community job training sites, such as Wawa, complete with a coffee island, refrigerator and restocking area; and a library/computer lab.
“At the ETC, students can explore and practice job skills in a safe, supportive – and familiar – classroom environment,” explained Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS Learning Center Employment Training and Transition Coordinator Ladislao Buljevich, M.A. “In addition, our students participate in campus-based job training activities, performing tasks such as office work, housekeeping, groundskeeping, vehicle cleaning, as well as packaging and sorting snacks. Community-based employment training is available to our students. These opportunities occur at several partner sites in the community. Youth are supervised by their classroom teacher, with the support of school staff and job coaches. Students also can participate in customized supported employment, which focuses on nurturing the strengths of each individual.”
Helping students achieve independence
Buljevich says Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS Learning Center’s Employment Training Program provides the necessary tools, skills and opportunities to help youth attain some level of employment as part of their transition to adulthood.
“We want our students to achieve as much independence as possible,” Buljevich noted. “The more job training opportunities our students are exposed to, the better equipped they will be to determine what type of employment they find the most enjoyable. And, as a result, they will have a better chance of experiencing long-term success.”
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