READY FOR HIRE Summer Programs Are a Success
Back in June, the Ohio Department of Education awarded $89 million in Summer Learning and Afterschool Opportunities Grants to 161 community-based partners. The Department received more than 700 applications from across the state. Locally, $1.9 million was awarded in two grants to SPARC, one to create summer programming in summer 2022, 2023 and 2024 and and one to create after school programming, with fiscal oversight from Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center. That program started this summer at F.I.R.S.T. School and Abraxas.
The READY FOR HIRE Summer Program offered a variety of career readiness activities customized to each students’ needs. Three primary activities were provided: Career Internships with a local employer, Career Institutes with a local employer and Career Seminars. The seminars offered a wide range of activities.
- It’s My Future - Students were introduced to OhioMeansJobs K-12, an interactive online career planning tool that will be utilized to help students understand current and relevant jobs, postsecondary school and financial aid information. Students also gained ACT and test prep skills, as well as engaged with the Junior Achievement It’s My Future curriculum, learning about job applications, interviewing and soft skills for employability.
- Career Success - Using the Junior Achievement Career Success curriculum, students were equipped with the knowledge required to get and keep a job in high-growth industries. Students explored the crucial workplace skills employers seek but often find lacking in young employees. Students also learned about valuable tools to find that perfect job, including resumes, cover letters, and interviewing techniques.
- Photography - Students learned key components of the art of photography through the use of an iPad. The seminar included how to edit photos through the use of photo editing software on the iPad, how to craft and stage professional photos, and how to establish a photography portfolio for a future career.
- Business Development & Public Speaking - Students built their understanding of Business Development by exploring a wide range of business models and learning about the pros and cons of entrepreneurship. The Junior Achievement curriculum guided students through the principles of business development and entrepreneurship.
- Horticulture - In collaboration with NECIC (North End Community Improvement Collaborative), students learned about the craft of horticulture including plant disease, fertilization, and the resources necessary to cultivate healthy plant life. Students started and cultivated seeds, and learned about hydroponics and urban gardening techniques.
- Coding and Web Development - Students learned the basic principles of programing, including algorithms and logic, skills to program the RVR robots using the iPads and Sphero. Students engaged in hands-on programing tasks and used those skills to begin creating personal websites related to a topic of their choice.
- Digital Art and Advertising - Students learned how to use an iPad to create digital art work that can be used for advertisements. There was a focus on editing tools, various digital platforms and resources. Students created successful advertisements in both group and independent projects.
- Industry Recognized Credentials- CPR and First Aid Certification was offered. Amanda Spear, Foundation for Living Activities Coordinator said this was a very popular program. “Many residents have been in situations which required life saving assistance and were eager to learn those skills for themselves.”
- Careers in Art Therapy - Students learned how to create mental wellness using art as a tool for transformation. Students used art as a means of taking productive risks to challenge and overcome individual vulnerabilities and to engage in positive cycles of action to overcome any of life’s challenges.
- Reading for Life - Students learned about the personal, business and leadership benefits of joining a book club, reading books and excerpts from genres that support engagement with diverse content and making connections between ideas from multiple career fields. Discussion groups focused on critical thinking, building relationships, understanding broad perspectives and becoming comfortable and confident in professional discussions with peers.
- STEM/MAKER Lab - Students participated in a variety of STEM experiences to design and create items that help to develop their critical thinking skills and technical skills, and will be taught how to market the items they create.
The staff involved said the summer sessions were a big success. “ I feel every program I have been a part of this summer has been of value to our students. This is due to the fact that they continued to show up and their feedback has been so amazing!” said Chris Jones,Transition Coordinator at F.I.R.S.T. School.
Amy Wood, Mid-Ohio ESC’s Director of Grants and Special Projects said what was most exciting about this summer session was gaining the ability to build on the strengths of what took place for the larger rollout of the READY FOR HIRE program among all Mid-Ohio partner districts. "The summer program provided a wide variety of career readiness programming and customized opportunities for students to explore their strengths and interests in career pathways. The successes of the summer program will be used to build a robust after school career readiness program that meets the unique needs of students in participating school districts in Richland, Morrow and Crawford Counties."
Private Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) Programs include the Abraxas School and FIRST School, which are funded through the Ohio Department of Education Private Residential Treatment Facility Pilot Program to operate the academic program at two of the three PRTF sites: Abraxas, located east of Shelby and Foundations for Living, located west of Lucas. These programs are also supported through Title 1-D (Delinquent) funds administered by Mid-Ohio ESC. Mid-Ohio ESC partners with the residential treatment program administration and staff to deliver an educational program that meets the requirements of the Ohio Department of Education for students in correctional facilities.