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Agnesian HealthCare, FDL School District piloting new apprenticeship program
April 05, 2013

Agnesian HealthCare and the Fond du Lac School District are collaborating to pilot a new program that helps high school students with special needs to transition to the workforce after graduation.

Called the Mentor Apprenticeship Program (MAP), Agnesian HealthCare’s Volunteer Services department has been working with Fond du Lac School District special needs services to pilot the program at St. Agnes Hospital.

Three students are currently participating in the program, which began in mid-January and continues through early June. Students work between several departments over a six-week period before rotating to a new area.

They are being exposed to working in food service, housekeeping, patient discharge, gift shop and printing at St. Agnes Hospital. They are present for two hours each day, weekdays.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to students, helping them to prepare for what lies ahead of them after high school graduation,” says Linda Becker, Agnesian HealthCare Volunteer Services supervisor. “The experiences they are receiving by working directly with our associates have been priceless, and we are honored to help pilot such an important program with the Fond du Lac School District and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.”

Students benefiting from this experience all have parents that are part of Agnesian HealthCare, and they include: Hunter DeVelice, Rylee Jones and Logan Mueller. They work in conjunction with Judy Goebel, a special education teacher with the Fond du Lac School District. 

“This has been a wonderful program for the students,” Goebel says. “Being able to use a community site to develop their interests and strengths has been priceless. Students are learning how to clock in for a job and complete tasks. We are grateful to Agnesian HealthCare, DVR and Fond du Lac School District for the collaborative success.”

For Logan, he is finding the experience enjoyable as he makes new friends and is receiving actual experiences to help him get a job, and helped him “get his first real paycheck.”

“I have learned about different locations in the hospital I had never seen before like the outside box disposal, how to keep the silverware organized, and how to fry a burger on a grill like a restaurant, and I got to eat it. That was the best,” Logan says.

When asked what the real life experience means to Logan, he replies, “It means I have a chance out there in the real world.”

 For Rylee, it has meant working with so many nice people who are teaching her many things. “Work in the gift shop has not only taught me how to use a cash register, price items and set up displays, but also how to deal with people. I also had to be interviewed and go through training, which is good experience for me in a future job.”

Her experiences are helping to build Rylee’s confidence. “I am very shy so having to deal with people every day here is helping me overcome that and be more comfortable. I love coming here every day! In fact, I miss it when we have a day off of school and don’t come here. Working here has helped me understand what is expected of me in any job.”

Hunter is using his time at Agnesian HealthCare to learn what things he can do on a job and do his best. “I have learned the importance of keeping a clean environment at work,” he says. “I have found that during my time at the hospital, I am getting to experience what jobs are like. I am building up experience for my life and learning what I can do for my future.”

For Becker, it has been a rewarding time as well. “I have so thoroughly enjoyed working with each of these students. They have inspired me and their mentors in so many ways, and we will truly miss them as they graduate and move on to other opportunities. I must say that I have seen so many changes in each of these young individuals in such a short amount of time. I hope that our experiences will be a stepping stone for others to join us on this worthy program.”

To learn more, contact Becker at (920) 926-4966.

Photo caption: Three Fond du Lac School District students - Logan Mueller (standing), Rylee Jones and Hunter DeVelice are participating in a pilot Mentor Apprenticeship Program (MAP) at St. Agnes Hospital. The program helps high school students with special needs to transition to the workforce after graduation.

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