PYD’s Career Readiness program continues to expand locally and nationally while offering creative virtual programming to young people with disabilities.
The in-school program is teaching classes at Charlestown High School, East Boston High School, and Brighton High School. Classes thus far have covered professional behavior and communication. The After-school program continues to offer a full calendar of after school workshops, collaborating with more high schools than ever before in PYD history!
Real-world experiences continue to be incorporated in creative ways such as virtual guest speakers, mock interviews, and virtual job shadows. Career Readiness Coordinator Darryl Sanchez, also known as “Mr. D,” still provides tours of Boston area businesses to students despite COVID-19. Mr. D is solo for the time being and conducts the tours virtually through videos with the same amount of information and value.
“Technology gives me more flexibility to be creative and experiment, allowing me to bring the experience to our students despite our remote learning,” Darryl said. “And I hope to continue making videos like this, so in the future if we have students who are interested in a career but have missed a job tour, I can show them the video and they can see it for themselves. By watching the videos, I hope it can spark the students’ interest about these careers that maybe they haven’t even thought about before.”
The videos have been a hit with the organizations Darryl has toured.
“It helps us strengthen our partnerships and I have plans to collaborate more in the future,” he said. “It’s a great long-term benefit for our organization to have many collaborative partners which I can show the students who are interested in similar careers.”
Mr. D has been to Piers Park Sailing Center in East Boston and the Boston Public Market to get behind the scenes footage of goods and services offered to the public, showcasing various positions and the skills needed to be successful. Mr. D asks thoughtful questions that students might ask if they were in-person to learn about each business and encourage students to explore all career opportunities that interest them. Take a tour of Piers Park Sailing Center with Mr. D.
The Career Readiness team has also created videos on topics such as searching for jobs and professional Introductions to complement the written curriculum. The videos are an excellent tool for participants to review in the future so they’re able to apply the skills to real-life situations.
In order to have an even larger impact on preparing youth with disabilities for future employment, replication of the Career Readiness program has grown outside of Boston. Career Readiness is training teachers and partners nationally, adding Colorado, Delaware, and Alabama to the growing number of states utilizing the PYD Career Readiness Curriculum. Organizations in Florida, Texas, and Ohio piloted the national model, preparing youth with disabilities for future employment around the country.
To further improve the effectiveness of the curriculum, the Career Readiness team has reviewed, enhanced, and modernized the curriculum. The changes include restructured content, updated activities, and the addition of media resources and inclusion tips. The modernization process provides a robust curriculum set to assist instructors in advancing the workforce readiness of students and learners with disabilities.