More in News
Employability skills help students land that first job
Michael Lake, a MVHS senior, discusses a measurement with Instructor Norm Jamison.
MVHS senior Scott Baptiste drills a hole in a block of wood. When Scott finishes his project, it will be a beautiful wooden pen.
Vanessa Godwin prepares to laser engrave an identification tag as Instructor Jen Barlow answers her questions.
Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of articles about the students in the various programs at the Region 9 School of Applied Technology.
MEXICO -- Employers often look for employees with experience in entry-level jobs. Workers with experience cost less to train and have a proven track record of attendance. In short, experience means less financial outlay for the company.
High school students often lack on-the-job experience but need a job. How can they get a job without already having a job?
Region 9 School of Applied Technology solves this conundrum with the Employability Skills program, formerly known as Diversified Occupations.
“Diversified Occupations was a program designed for students who are eligible for special needs services, section 504 accommodations or have other needs that cannot be met at the sending school,” explained Instructor Jen Barlow. “With the name change, we hope to appeal to a wider range of students.”
Barlow and Instructor Norm Jamison prepare their students for entry-level jobs in food service occupations, janitorial/maintenance occupations, carpentry occupations, small engine repair, sheet metal occupations, retail occupations and fly tying.
Michael Lake is a Mountain Valley High School senior. Asked why he chose the Employability Skills program, he said, “Because I can do more than one thing. For instance, I can make a pen, or a picnic table, or even do car detailing.”
Dirigo freshman Randy Taylor added, “I picked this program because I like to work with people and with my hands.”
“I did this program last year and I really liked it,” responded Telstar sophomore Kayla Waterhouse.
Another returning student is MVHS junior Everett Smalley. “The teachers are great. I learn a lot here. This is my second year and I love it!”
With an eye to the future, Telstar junior Jordan Caldwell said, “Because it would prepare me for the working world.”
The Employability Skills program has a commercial kitchen, a woodworking shop, a small engine repair shop and even an area for automotive detailing. In addition to the hands on skills, students are assessed on personal qualities and people skills including positive work ethic, integrity and teamwork.
Students also learn professional skills like time, task and resource management, customer service, and job acquisition and advancement. Of course, academic skills such as reading, writing and math are stressed.
Finally, workers in the 21st century must be proficient with information technology, internet use and security, and telecommunications.
With all these skills, the students have a wide range of goals as a result of being in the program.
MVHS junior Breanna Morgan said, “I’m hoping to be a better cook and be able to build things.”
MVHS sophomore Zachary Souppa is “hoping to be a good money maker.”
Dirigo freshman Scott Knox plans to use this program as a stepping stone to another program. He “hopes to go into forestry.”
Unlike other Region 9 progarms, Employability Skills is open to students regardless of their year in high school. Most other programs are for juniors and seniors.
Just as different students have different aspirations, they also like a variety of aspects about the program and their teachers.
Telstar junior Wyatt Long explained, “My favorite thing about the program would be car detailing. Another thing would be the instructors.”
MVHS junior Akieva Selleck enthusiastically agreed. “Jen and Norm are the best teachers ever!”
“My favorite thing about this program is going in the shop,” added Telstar sophomore Vanessa Goodwin.
The real testimonial comes when students are asked if they would recommend the program to other students.
MVHS senior Scott Baptiste said, “I would tell that person they would learn a lot and be proud of their career in the end.”
If a student is interested in learning more about the program, contact Region 9 for a tour.