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Devereux Pennsylvania CBHS students learn valuable job, life skills through PAES labs

 

Students at Devereux Pennsylvania CBHS are gaining hands-on vocational training through Practical Assessment Exploration System (PAES) labs, which simulate real-world work environments.

Devereux Pennsylvania CBHS student Benjamin Romney is learning new skills in the PAES lab that he hopes will help him secure a job in the future.

Students at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Pennsylvania’s Children’s Behavioral Health Services (CBHS) center are gaining hands-on vocational training through Practical Assessment Exploration System (PAES) labs.

PAES labs, which were recently installed at the center’s Brandywine and Mapleton campuses, simulate real-world work environments and help prepare students for future employment and independent living. Students have an opportunity to explore various jobs while completing tasks using professional tools and equipment.

“Our education team is excited about these labs, which were funded through a federal grant,” said Devereux Vice President of Educational Services Jacalyn Auris, Ed.D. “We want to ensure our students have the skills they need to succeed after they leave our care. With PAES labs, students perform similar tasks to those that are required at many entry-level jobs in the community. Our students discover their vocational strengths while learning how to follow directions, stay on task, solve problems and much more.”

Exploring career paths

In the PAES labs, students explore the following five career pathways, practicing job skills to help prepare them for post-secondary plans.

  • Business/marketing: Alphabetizing, identification/filing, numerical sorting, collating, making change, ten key calculator, cash register, typing
  • Computer/technology: Data entry, word processing, mailing technology, email, information technology, information management, PowerPoint, digital photos
  • Construction/industrial: Shop measurement, wrenches and bolts, screws and nails, shop saws, wood projects, metal projects, electrical projects, parts identification
  • Consumer/service: Food measurement, food preparation, kitchen appliances, food service, food weights, cloth measurement, hand sewing, machine sewing, cloth construction, housekeeping/custodial
  • Processing/production: Bolt assembly, pipe assembly, color assembly, form design, peg design, visual perception, thread design, paper cutting, analogue time, digital time

“We ask young people early and often, ‘What do you want to do or be when you grow up,’ noted Devereux Director of Student Services Colleen Katzenmoyer, Ed.D. “Providing this type of engaging experience where students can complete activities and receive feedback on areas in which they excel or need to develop, makes the answer to this question more real and allows them to take ownership in their transition planning.”

Assessing strengths, potential

One Devereux Pennsylvania CBHS student who is learning new skills in the PAES lab is 19-year-old Benjamin Romney.

“I’ve measured sugar, sorted names in alphabetical order and screwed nuts and bolts together,” Romney shared. “I’m learning new things. I didn’t know what nuts and bolts were before I came to the lab. I hope working in the lab will help me get a job someday.”

Devereux Pennsylvania CBHS Special Education Consultant Deirdre O’Kane, who oversees the center’s PAES labs, said, “Not only do these labs offer the real feel of a job, but they also give students the opportunity to decide on their own what types of jobs they enjoy. For example, a student might not think they would be interested in computer technology or data entry, but when given the opportunity to practice those skills in the lab, they see their accomplishments and realize they are very competent in those areas. This opens the door for conversations about what types of jobs are available in a particular field and what other training they might need to become employed. PAES labs are amazing tools that set students up for success.”

Next steps …

In addition to Devereux Pennsylvania CBHS, PAES labs will soon be installed at other Devereux centers, including Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services, the Devereux Center for Autism Research and Education Services and Devereux Colorado.

Learn more about Devereux Pennsylvania Children’s Behavioral Health Services, and learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.

 

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