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Oct 20, 2015
Referred to Goodwill from HealthWest (CMH) in June of this year, Taylor is a young woman with adjustment disorder, depression, and mild I/DD.
Upon her enrollment to Goodwill’s Work Readiness Program, it was apparent to her Goodwill case manager that Taylor had very low self-esteem and diminished confidence in her abilities.
With low motivation for working on physically demanding jobs – often saying they were causing her physical discomfort – her work duties were limited. Taylor was assigned to paid skills training in Goodwill’s Industrial Services Center performing packaging, sorting, and other light assembly work.
In August, Taylor was identified as a candidate to participate in Muskegon Community College’s Jayhawk Academy, a 13-week enrichment program for people with disabilities who are working towards creating and sustaining independent lives. When offered the opportunity, she was very hesitant and unsure. She said she “wasn’t ready to leave Goodwill” and was afraid of having to learn new things.
With some encouragement, Taylor did decide to join the program, and in just three weeks since the academy began, has demonstrated her ability to grow and learn. She transformed from being scared and reluctant, to looking forward to the classes. The academy is helping her realize her potential and she is no longer afraid of pursuing community-based employment.
“I like school! I’m doing it!,” Taylor told her case manager. “I can do it!”
While she is still working on her self-esteem, and needs assistance with informed decisions, she is doing well in her self-advocacy and knowing what she wants to do to better her future.
Taylor is one of six Goodwill Work Readiness Program participants enrolled in the academy. The Jayhawk Academy fall session is September 15 – December 15. Students are engaged three days per week, for three hours a day at MCC.
Work Activity / Readiness Programs
These programs are designed to provide psychosocial / vocational rehabilitation for persons with developmental disabilities and mental impairments who need facility-based training and employment services, or who choose not to seek community-based employment. Participants may select from paid vocational training, basic skill building, community-based education, and volunteer opportunities. Participants are referred from HealthWest, MAISD, local school districts, and other referral sources.
MCC Jayhawk Academy is designed to produce adults who are as productive and independent as possible. By developing the necessary life skills, students in the program will be better equipped to face the day-to-day challenges of independent living. Students who possess key employability skills have more employment options available to them and are better equipped to find and maintain meaningful employment. Some of the skills that will be covered are: Workplace Skills and Attitudes, Responsibility, Interacting with Others, Computer and Internet Skills, Basic Academic Skills, Habits of Wellness, Planning for Success.