Canton area special needs students gain hands-on experience

February 2, 2012 by  

Six Hoover High School special needs students recently had the chance to gain hands-on experience at local businesses. The “You’re Hired!” program is part of Transition U, a group effort that connects city schools in North Canton with Walsh University to give special needs students a college experience.

The “You’re Hired!” program allows these special needs students to work inside local businesses and gain hands-on experience. The hope is that some, or all, of these students may eventually be hired on a part-time basis at some of the businesses that participate in the program.

Each of the businesses that hire a special needs student from the “You’re Hired!” program will receive a $500 grant from New Work City Foundation that will go toward the student’s future wages. Businesses include food service, medical and local print companies, among a variety of other businesses. The most recent Canton businesses to participate in the “You’re Hired!” program include American Medical Personnel, Ermanno’s Legendary Pizza and Dansizen Printing.

Transition U was launched by Patti Thoman, while the “You’re Hired!” program was the brainchild of Vicki Stanley. Stanley, who is the founder of the New Work City Foundation, created the “You’re Hired!” program based upon a program that involved 5th graders in a similar situation. Together, Thoman and Stanley collaborated to make it happen. The students go to the workplace in teams of two and work for two hours. The businesses are rotated between the students so that everyone in the program gets a chance to gain hands-on experience at each place of business. It is hoped that businesses will see that these special needs students are capable and hirable. Stanley says she thinks many people simply don’t really understand what these individuals can contribute.

Any business interested in becoming a part of the “You’re Hired!” program should contact Stanley.