NILES, Ohio (WYTV) – Sophomore, junior and senior students in the emotional disturbance program at Trumbull County schools are getting some on-the-job experience with a new vocational program that just started a little more than a month ago.
On Friday, we stopped by the Niles Wellness Center where the students were working to see how it was going so far.
Deciding what you want to do and be after high school can be tough, but the new vocational program is helping this group of eight students sift through options with some hands-on work.
“Throughout the landscape months when you have nice weather, it’s good for them to get outside, do some weed whacking, some trash pick up, litter pick up,” said Niles Mayor Steve Mientkiewicz.
The program supervisor, Laura Revetti, teamed up with Niles’ mayor to place them in the jobs. Now that it’s colder, they’ve started work in the Niles Wellness Center, keeping up with special projects and cleaning. Today, it was working in groups, sweeping the track and then mopping.
“I didn’t know anything about cleaning until now. I’m a master at mopping now,” said sophomore Kayse Metlicka.
It has opened their eyes to career routes that Metlicka says she didn’t even know she was interested in.
“I don’t know like construction because I like to work outside, maybe landscaping. I like to weed whack, I love to mow grass,” she said.
The hours they put in go toward school credit and could open doors to summer or post-graduation jobs.
“It’s not only teaching them those skills, it’s giving them a chance to network, get their name out there, something to put on their resume,” Revetti said.
Maybe even more important than job skills, it’s teaching them about social interactions and work ethic.
“If we don’t do something right, they tell us how to do it better and we improve that because we need criticism in work,” said senior Martasia Ingram.
“Before this, I couldn’t work in a group with people because I’d always get frustrated, but now it’s nice to work with somebody,” Metlicka said.
“The idea with this was to take what we’re teaching them in the classroom and be able to transition them into the real-life field to help them determine what they wanna do after high school,” Revetti said.
As a bonus, the students we talked to seem to enjoy it.
“It works, it really does work,” Metlicka said.
And hopefully, it can lead to a job after school.
“It’s really giving them the confidence to have that motivation and kind of learn those self-advocacy skills and motivate themselves to figure out what they wanna do,” Revetti said.
The program’s director says she hopes more businesses join the program to expose the students to more career paths.