In harmony with teaching students the skills needed to live independently, Trousdale School helps interested students find employment in the community. The vocational program at Trousdale School assists students in applying for and maintaining employment positions. Our students are currently employed by eighteen businesses in town. These students are some of the hardest working individuals in their respective work sites, and they are proud of their contributions to the community.
When asked his favorite thing about work, one student will always excitedly reply: “Payday!” Other student responses may include, my boss, my customers, and my job. These straightforward answers illustrate that Trousdale School students love their jobs and love to work. The students take pride in their accomplishments and the money they earn. At the same time, the students’ employers depend on our students’ contributions as a part of their business plan.
One of our newest learning environments is a Vocational Lab. Students working in the lab will practice skills focused on helping them improve at tasks they are currently utilizing at work and/or skills they would like to develop for future employment. Tasks practiced within the vocational lab encompass a wide variety of skills sets: food service, consumer services, facility maintenance/carpentry, industrial/assembly, and clerical. If you were to walk into our vocational lab, you would find a wide variety of activities occurring simultaneously, for example: rolling silverware, wrapping hamburgers, packaging bundles, sorting/recycling, preparing mail-outs, filling salt & pepper shakers, filing important paperwork, sweeping/mopping, or organizing calendars.
Our vocational lab continues to evolve, but has been developed with a focus on the skill sets being utilized (or needed) by our students at their jobs in the community as well as new skills they have expressed interest in learning. For example, one of our newest students has a fondness for animals and would like to one day have the opportunity to work at a veterinary clinic, shelter, or pet store. You might find this student learning to clean cat litter, put harnesses/collars onto pretend animals, distributing the appropriate type and measuring the appropriate amount of food/water for the animals. The vocational lab becomes a wonderful opportunity for peer mentor-ships as students who excel at certain skills can model those skills for others who may struggle or students may work in pairs or small groups when they are presented with a new task or challenge.