The Work Exploration Program is, simply, business owners and managers allowing students to come into their places of business for job observation and educational work experience. This program is invaluable because no parent, teacher, or textbook can teach community living and survival better than the community itself.
The Work Exploration Program was piloted at Martinsburg High School in 2007. Twelve students partnered with Mountain State University and Coldwell Banker to gain work skills and establish ties within their community. In January 2008, Hedgesville and Musselman joined Martinsburg to expand the Work Exploration Program county-wide. Students were interviewed to determine their interests and based on our student responses many businesses were asked to provide educational work experience for the program. By the end of 2008, the Work Exploration Program student enrollment increased to 46 students and 54 businesses. In 2013 a fourth high school, Spring Mills, was added. As we began the 2018 school year the Work Exploration Program had two Job Specialists at each high school and approximately 131 students connecting with 153 businesses. These partnerships provide much needed job skills training and promote self-advocacy and self-determination as Work Exploration participants connect with their community.
Our program's motto is, "Within the heart of every community, everyone belongs..." Our goal is to abandon disability thinking and think... "ABILITY" - not disability!
For more information about the Work Exploration Program, contact Sallie Askin, Transition Coordinator, at 304-264-5055.