This summer brought something new to RIKC Employment Services. For the first time RIKC participated in the Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation (MOVR) Summer Work Experience Program. The program offers work-based learning experiences over six consecutive weeks during the summer. The Summer Work Experience Program is available to MOVR Clients who are enrolled in high school, the summer before their senior year. The program is helping students learn skills through their work experiences such as networking, teamwork, professionalism, communication, problem solving, critical thinking, and having a positive attitude that can be applied to future job opportunities.
Thirty one students between the Kansas City, Warrensburg, and St. Joseph RIKC branches are participating in the program! The students are able to work in a variety of settings during the summer program. Those working with the Kansas City branch job coaches are at Union Station working within multiple exhibits or performing light janitorial duties. Some of the exhibits include Science City, The Nature Center, Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life, and Makers Faire Kansas City. The program participants in Warrensburg are gaining experience this summer at the Community Center, Fitness Center, Parks and Recreation Department, Aquatic Center, and Children’s Day Camp. Some are participating in food prep services. Those working with the St. Joseph Branch have been developing their skills at the Maryville Hy-Vee by working as a courtesy clerk, grocery sacker, restocking products, retrieving carts from the parking lot, and helping elderly customers take groceries to their car.
Over the summer Demetrice, a program participant from the Kansas City branch, has become proficient at his job. “Being interactive with the kids and families is one of the best parts of working at Science City, but learning about the wildlife in the Nature Center and bonding with the animals is also really fun. I have learned how important it is to watch the time to stay on schedule and to be accurate with our hours worked”, said Demetrice. Nik, another program participant at Union Station, said, “I really like working with the fulltime employees and learning from them. We help with the guest experience, cleaning, inventory, or whatever needs to be done that day.” Melissa, a job coach with the Kansas City branch, shared her experience working with the students this summer. “This program provides a great experience for all of the participants. We are able to provide the extra support that other first jobs wouldn’t be able to and talk about work place behaviors and skills on the job. Learning in a group environment has been really fun for me and the participants. I am really proud of all the growth this team has made since the first day.”
Many of the students from the St. Joseph branch working at the Maryville Hy-Vee have been extended an offer to apply for a position once the Summer Work Experience has ended. We congratulate all of the program participants on a job well done this summer and wish them luck with future work opportunities.