Internship for Students Provides Valuable On-the-Job Experience
Posted on June 8, 2012
Four special needs students from the Three Village CSD enrolled in the ESBOCES Basic Vocational Skills Program at the Islip Career Center (ICC) are participating in an internship providing them valuable hands-on experience in the labor force.
The students attend the Retail Store Services class where they practice counting money and interacting with the public. Their 10-week unpaid internship is at the Ultimate Laundry Center in Oakdale.
According to Cathy Muller, Work Experience Coordinator with ESBOCES, this particular internship has been so successful that next year, ICC is going to begin the internships earlier in the school year. Said Ms. Muller, “Both the students and the employer are very pleased with the experience. The students love the sense of accomplishment that working in a real retail operation provides them and the employer is happy with their performance.”
Internships afford all students the opportunity to put into play the skills they learn in class in a true work environment. For special needs students, the on-the-job experience is even that much more important because securing internships for developmentally disabled students can be a challenge as employers are often reluctant to give them a chance. However, Susan Carella, an employee at Ultimate Laundry, thought it was a great idea when ESBOCES contacted her about the possibility of granting their students an internship.
Hunter S. and Robert D. (above) and Kathryn K. and Michal H. (below) are enrolled in a 10-week internship at Ultimate Laundry Center in Oakdale through ESBOCES Islip Career Center. While there, students apply many of the retail store skills they study in their school program.
“I have two children of my own with disabilities,” said Carella. “I understand the importance of giving them skills to use as adults. I look forward to seeing these kids at work and I like to see them progress and grow. They are happy to be here and they make my job more enjoyable. This is a really good experience for everyone and I now have extra hands at work.”
While working at their internship, students fold clothes, operate the washers and dryers, use counting skills to handle money (a couple of hundred dollars a day), inventory supplies and get coins for the machines and perform basic cleaning (sweeping, mopping, dusting).
Said Marilyn Huguenin, one of the teacher assistants who works with this group, “The teachers here at ESBOCES really prepare the students to make a smooth transition into the workforce. And, I must say, this transition was seamless. We are all so proud of our students’ growth and performance.”