Career Center Program Partners with Brethren Care

Career Center Program Partners with Brethren Care

A partnership between Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center and The Brethren Care Village of Ashland is bringing work experience to Career Center students in the Job Training Coordination program (JTC). 
Career Center Special Education VOSE/Instructor Roberta White, along with Special Needs instructor Kristin Burke and Mechanical & Maintenance instructor Gary Strine, wrote a grant for the training program which will ready students for paid employment after graduation.  The students are recommended by teachers in their associate schools and participate in Maintenance & Mechanical Training and Hospitality & Tourism programs at the Career Center. 
White noted the program provides a full experience through actual work and a curriculum called “Bring Your “A” Game to Work.”  The curriculum’s accompanying workbook invites students to complete activities, review content, and reflect on their experiences as they learn foundational workplace skills. Currently, classes are capped at eight students per program with students going to their jobs two days per week.  “Parents are totally cooperative and on-board with this program,” said White.
One of the many goals of the program has been to familiarize students with the area’s public transportation system that they may need to utilize following graduation.  The six seniors in the program have taken turns confirming their rides to and from Brethren Care via the Ashland Transit Authority.  Transportation costs come from the grant which has also supplied shirts and hats embossed with the name of the school and program to enhance a sense of professionalism in the work environment.
White noted the students can’t wait to get to their jobs on work days.  At the Career Center, the Hospitality & Tourism students learn food safety, basic kitchen skills and food preparation taught by Kathy Diederich who also teaches the Culinary Careers program.  On the job they may be found in Brethren Care’s kitchen/dining area as they help with food preparation, serving, and cleanup.  At the Career Center, Strine teaches welding, drill press and other tool skills along with basic auto maintenance.  At Brethren Care, he supervises the maintenance students as they work wherever they are needed.  On any given day, they might be found removing carpet or appliances from a cottage, installing light fixtures, patching walls, or setting up tables and chairs for a special event.  Jeff Book, lead maintenance person at Brethren Care, oversees all work and calls the program “awesome.”  “I love it,” he said, “and being able to help these students learn useful skills is something near and dear to my heart.”
Strine, who oversees all the students while at Brethren Care, praised the program as a good transition for students to the work place and White calls the cooperation of Troy Snyder, Brethren Care CEO, and his staff “phenomenal, a positive situation for all involved.”  CEO Snyder expressed his heart-felt belief that “There is a place for everyone and I think this (endeavor) has been a real success.  My staff has indicated they are willing to go forward and help in any way they can.  So, we are ready to think about expanding and moving to the next step in the relationship.” 

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