Jackson County School District and Vocational Rehabilitation, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, and many others.
Duration of partnership: 6 years
50+ volunteers (school mentors, businesses/organizations, and parents)
Impacts 323+ students
In collaboration with its partners, the Jackson County School District developed an outcome-oriented transition program designed to ensure that students exit high school with paid employment or unpaid work experiences. The program comprises different transition phases in which students receive specific services and experiences before graduation. Phases are Work Awareness for grades 3 through 5, Work Beginning for grades 6 through 8, Work Discovery for grades 9 and 10, Work Connections for grades 11 and 12, and Life Connections for individuals 19 to 21 years of age. In the Life Connections Phase, services are provided off campus.
Phases involve a mix of classroom instruction, community experiences, and functional vocational evaluation. Students are required to complete a discovery/life book tracking their progress and learnings, and they also complete résumés, representational portfolios, career plans, employment plans, and self-employment plans. Activities for students focus on occupational awareness, job shadowing, work experience, paid employment, mentoring, and service learning.
Since implementation of the district's program, more than 40 students have graduated with paid jobs; 119 have had work experiences and over 175 job-shadowing experiences; 9 students are attending college or trade schools, and 20 have enrolled in a GED program.