By Heather Algrim
An exciting new classroom vocational program has begun this year for high school students at Ingham Academy! The Ingham Academy Life Skills program, taught by Heather Algrim and Steve Swart, has collaborated with community business partner Peckham, Inc., a nonprofit community vocational rehabilitation organization in Lansing, to develop a job awareness program.
The program’s aim is to better prepare Ingham Academy students in entering the world of work in part-time jobs during high school and full-time employment after graduation or college.
Ingham Academy is a high school, with one 8th grade class, that opened in 2007 for court adjudicated youth and managed by Ingham County Circuit Court, Ingham Intermediate School District, and Highfields. The main mission of the school is to provide high risk students a means of learning the life-skills essential to becoming productive members of society while earning a high school diploma.
Peckham’s expertise in the world of vocational training fits right into the Academy’s mission. According to www.peckham.org, Peckham’s mission is “to provide a wide range of opportunities to maximize human potential for persons striving for independence and self-sufficiency. We embrace collaboration, effective resource management and innovative approaches to achieve world-class excellence.”
Through this partnership, a weekly program hosted in the Life Skills classroom of Ingham Academy is facilitated by Shaun Shaltry and Sarah Britton, both of Peckham, Inc. The program focuses on teaching employment skills, job interest, and money management. Specific vocational topics include:
•True Colors Personality Testing
•Barriers to Employment
The program will also be hosting two discussion panels for the students. One panel will include professionals from a variety of backgrounds and careers. The other panel will be made up of current college students from Michigan State University. Both panels give students the opportunity to learn from others in the community, ask questions and hear the stories of those who are making successful economic lives for themselves.
This academic year is the first year this program has been in place. The successful completion of the job awareness program will help Ingham Academy students find jobs in the community and even potentially work at Peckham, Inc. next year in their work-study student program, also affiliated with Ingham Academy.