This summer, PYD collaborated with Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) to launch the YEP Pre-Employment Program. The four week long program focused on job readiness skills, soft skill development, and independent living skills through classroom learning and real-world learning experiences.
Program participants at 9 Massachusetts MRC offices completed a four-week long course that covered such topic as Job Resources and Exploration, Resume Writing and cover Letters, Interview Skills and Techniques, Self-Care and Self-Advocacy, Soft Skills, Customer Service 101, Post-Secondary Education, and Banking and Budgeting Basics. Students completed competency based projects such as working resumes, cover letters, and practice job applications, allowing them to leave with tangible products for future career endeavors. In addition to classroom learning, students gained real-world experience through job shadows, guest lectures and mock interviews.
I had the pleasure of coming with Aileen Quintero and her Somerville MRC class on their job shadow visit to Highland Kitchen in Somerville. The owner, Mark, generously showed us around the restaurant, talking about his career path, the different positions at the restaurant, and what kind of skills he looks for in employees. The students came prepared with awesome questions for Mark! Mark graciously answered all of the students’ questions. While we waited for the bus back to the MRC office, I chatted with one of the students about the visit. He had enjoyed the visit so much that he was now interested in working in a restaurant!
The soft skills class at the MRC Braintree office had the opportunity to attend a job shadow at Target, located at the South Shore Plaza. Jazmin Rodriguez, Human Resources Executive Team Leader, was a wonderful host for our visit. Jazmin led students throughout the store, including the warehouse in the backroom, and introduced them to each department. Students learned about the various positions available at Target and the skills sets they look for in their employees. Students then had the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the hiring process at Target. The job shadow was a great opportunity for students to practice the skills they had been learning in the soft skills class.
The first year of the YEP Pre-Employment Program has been a huge success and has allowed YEP to extend its programming throughout Massachusetts. In only four weeks, our students showed immense growth in their job readiness skills and soft skills.