The Oconomowoc Raccoons have already experienced success in getting four students paid positions for the summer. Two students are still working, another is engaged in unpaid work experience in her area of interest at the middle school and another is volunteering at an assisted living center. The staff is reaching out to the community, presenting at Rotary and other local community organizations to encourage businesses to employ high school students with disabilities. Within the school the students will soon have the opportunity to work side-by-side with DECA students at a new coffee cart, which has already generated a profit, and work in the high school mail room. Four grant students have also been integrated into regular ed classes.
The project’s goals are to obtain paid, summer employment for the pilot students; increase students’ employment skills through both community partnerships (staff are actively pursuing local businesses for job placements) and in school training opportunities like the coffee cart and other collaboration with DECA; create a partnership for students at the Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) to take vocational tech and other classes the high school does not offer.
The school team has held two Community Conversations for business leaders, local officials, families, and school staff to discuss community employment for their students with disabilities. These have led to increased employer contacts for the school.
Hear from Raechel Torf, Oconomowoc School Psychologist talk about why integrated employment is important for youth with disabilities.
Hear from Joseph Moylan, Oconomowoc High School Principal talk about hiring youth with disabilities.