Work Exploration Program

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 2020 school year the Work Exploration Program had one Job Specialists at each high school and approximately 85 students connecting with 145 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!  

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Work Exploration Program Highlights

Spring Mills High School

John Carlin bags popcorn to sell at our new business partner, Mountaineer Meat Smokers/Mission Popcorn.

SMHS is proud to have thirty-five businesses supporting the WEP. This year we begin our 6th year in the Spring Mills community. Without the support of our businesses our WEP workforce would not have the unique opportunity to gain additional work skills in a hands-on environment...

john carlin

Work Exploration Success Stories