For the past few weeks, six special needs students from Hoover High School have gotten the chance to work in local businesses to gain hands-on experience.
The students are all participants of Transition U — a collaboration launched by Patti Thoman that connects North Canton City Schools and Walsh University and gives special needs students a college experience. But within Transition U, the students also are participating in “You’re Hired!” — a hands-on work experience (think of it as an unpaid internship) for all six students.
They work inside a variety of businesses (this month it was Ermanno’s Legendary Pizza, Dansizen Printing and American Medical Personnel), and the hope is that each student gets hired part-time at one of the participating businesses. Each business that hires a Transition U student receives a $500 grant toward their future wages, courtesy of New Work City Foundation.
Vicki Stanley, founder of New Work City Foundation, said she created the You’re Hired program after a similar program involving fifth-graders ended. She talked with Thoman about offering the program to her students.
“The idea is very similar,” Stanley said. “Instead of going for one hour on one day, they’ll go for two hours in teams of two. They rotate businesses so each student gets to go to each business. The idea is to not just give them exposure to work out there, but to give businesses exposure to them.
“They really are employable. I don’t think people really understand what they can contribute to the city.”
Students involved in the program, in addition to Tedrow and Sutter, are Kristen Hall, Chelsea Jacobucci, Hannah Roberts, Billie Stevenson and Kelly Stevenson.
Stanley said any business that wants to get involved in the You’re Hired program should contact her.
“I’m hoping by getting out and getting them in these businesses, everybody falls in love with them, just like me, and hires them.”