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Transition to Work students back on job

BLOOMINGDALE — Transition to Work students are back on the job after the coronavirus impacted their ability to hone their job skills.

Instructor Christina Henderson said her 12 juniors and seniors at Jefferson County Joint Vocational School have been performing tasks outdoors at Vaccaro Field, where they clean up after local games. The work allows them to get hands-on experience outside of school and she hopes they will also resume working for area businesses.

“We’re only allowed to have them at Vaccaro Field because it’s outside, but here at school we’ve opened our school store to staff only,” she added. “That allows the students to get their skills by running and cleaning the slush and popcorn machines and making cookies.”

TTW has also partnered with the health technologies and auto body collision programs to provide laundry services and will also clean the modular home built by the carpentry lab in preparation for its upcoming sale. In the past, students have performed tasks at six sites around the community such as helping with hounds at Gold Star Kennel in Cadiz, and Henderson has been in talks with others to provide more work opportunities for the pupils.

“Hopefully, once the restrictions are lifted, we can get back to Kroger. That has led to jobs for students after they graduated,” she continued. “We’re in talks with other businesses and a lot of students are aligned or lining up with the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities. They are supports for our kids for job skills and offer job coaching and on-the-job training and transitions kids into adult jobs and adult lives.”

The OOD will work with students like senior Devin Rea, who will take part in a summer job program and receive six weeks of on-the-job training sprucing up local parks, plus he will make some money along the way.

“It’s great and I can earn a paycheck,” Rea said. “I want to save my money [because] the future is unknown.”

Other students say they enjoy the experience and it helps get them ready to join the workforce.

“I like helping the community,” said senior Angela Talbott. “It’s fun being on a team together and working outside.”

“I like going out in the field, being with my friends and helping out,” added junior Hunter Springer.

In the end, Henderson said it is all about preparing them for the real world.

“Our whole goal is to make them successful contributors to society,” she concluded.

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