PREP Students Prepare for Employment
Prepared, Responsible, Employable, and Productive, referred to as PREP, is the Bloomfield Hills Schools program that aids in the transition of students from school to independent living. PREP offers instruction in daily living skills, domestic skills, social skills, functional academics and employment skills. It also provides community-based work training opportunities in varied settings.
One resource PREP utilizes is the Practical Assessment Exploration System (PAES). This is a system of practical, step-by-step tutorials and hands-on learning activities. Students select their area of interest and learn the necessary skills to be successful on a specific job. Skill advancement topics include business/marketing, construction/industrial, processing/production and consumer/service.
An essential skill on the path to employability is learning how to interview. At least once per year, students engage in mock interviews with volunteers acting as an employer. Nona Cleary, Job Coach, said the goal of this activity is to, “get [the students] comfortable, give them an idea what it's like to interview for a job.” Cleary discussed the process, “We had them fill out a [mock] job application, update their resume (in the form of a slideshow,) ask them questions, help them come up with answers to the questions… we practice, we talk about the importance of wearing the right outfit, and being prepared.”
Some students brought their job coach with them into the interview. The job coach helped the student understand the questions being asked. Other students conducted the interview independently, answering questions about their previous work experience. It was evident that all of the students practiced extensively. The big smiles on the students' faces showed how pleased they were of their accomplishments.
Lisa Brown, Transition Coordinator, finds work based learning for students and handles the preparation for the jobs. Brown assists with resumes, filling out applications and interviews, and puts PREP students into worksites throughout the community where they work alongside other employees. Brown commented, “Many of my students have gotten jobs from the worksite they are learning at, they had an opportunity to demonstrate their skills.” Brown was proud of the students after the interviews, “Students took it seriously, answered questions to the best of their ability. Really proud of all of them!”