Sauk Prairie-area young adults with disabilities graduated recently from a program intended to help them gain and maintain employment, Channel 3000 reported.
Project SEARCH, which helps young adults with physical and developmental disabilities enter the workforce, partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Sauk Prairie Health Center. Students from the Sauk Prairie, Reedsburg and River Valley school districts participated.
“(The program) consists of three 10-week unpaid internships within the businesses, and the students learn job skills and they learn to develop all kinds of things (so) that they can become really good, productive workers in an integrated setting within their communities,” Liz Kennedy, who oversees the program, told the TV station.
Josh LaHaie, a graduate of Sauk Prairie High School, tells the Department of Workforce Development that Project SEARCH was a “safe place to work and if I made a mistake, my co-workers helped me through it and I learned from it.”
A Stoughton senior is among a small number of girls training to be a welder as part of the Youth Apprenticeship program managed by the Dane County Schools Consortium, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.
Jordan Bittrick, 17, a senior at Stoughton High School, is working at Stoughton Trailers. She is the only girl in her advanced auto class and one of two in an advanced welding class.
Bittrick, who hopes to become a steamfitter, says her fellow employees don’t treat her differently because of her gender.
“It’s not like, ‘Oh you are a woman, you can’t do this.’ So this is what is really nice about that environment, they all support me,” she told the newspaper
Her interest in welding comes from her family. Her great-grandfather, Ken Spink, of McFarland, was a welder and her father, David Bittrick, works in construction.
“At a young age, I always hung out with him,” she said of her father. “I worked on cars and helped him fix things.”
The Journal Sentinel tells the story of a Milwaukee Public Schools 17-year-old who earned her practical nursing diploma while still in high school.
Imunique Triplett has become the first Milwaukee student to complete the M³ (“M-cubed”) program, which allows MPS students to enroll in classes held by UW—Milwaukee and Milwaukee Area Technical College.
The program began in 2019 and is free for students.
Triplett told the newspaper she had feared she would be repelled by nursing because of the “blood and body fluid,” but that’s not what happened.
“If I had let myself continue to tell myself I couldn’t do something, I wouldn’t have known and missed out on a huge opportunity,” she said.
Susan and Jeffrey Bergeman, who attend Chippewa Falls Senior High, have been featured in Runner’s World magazine, Good Morning America and elsewhere.
Susan pushes her brother, Jeffrey, who has cerebral palsy. The Bergeman family has been running with Jeffrey for years, said mother Jess.
“I think all families like to have activities that they can do together and running has become something that we have found that regardless of ability level that we’ve been able to do together and it’s something Jeffrey really enjoys,” Jess told the newspaper.
Eleva-Strum High School students are working with a tiny home builder to convert a shuttle bus into a safe space for 4k students to decompress, WEAU-TV reports.
“We get to do a lot of things many high schoolers don’t get to do and it’s a real-world experience here,” student Garrett Zimpel told the station. The students are working with the Eau Claire-based tiny home company No Boundaries Tiny Homes.
An occupation therapist working with the DC Everest, Alison Vlietstra, tells the TV station that many of the children in the 4k program have some level of disability.
“Some of them have sensory processing regulation disabilities and some of them have autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, some just have developmental delays,” Vlietstra said. The bus is intended to give space to children when they need it, with the goal of returning them to the classroom.
“These students are asking all these amazing questions about their place and just watching their imagination get sparked — it’s been a long time (since) I have been able to work with students, so being with students in this age group, it’s just fun,” Moser told the newspaper.