Did you know that Summit DD’s Summer Youth Work Experience Program is just one of the many initiatives funded by local tax dollars provided by our generous Summit County residents? Thanks to you, more than 50 young adults with developmental disabilities gained valuable work experience this summer!
For many years, Summit DD has funded and coordinated this essential program and it continues to grow each year. In fact, in 2022 Summit DD added a Career Exploration component to the program that enabled students age 14 and 15 to participate in guided curriculum, informational interviews, and tours at employers and area colleges. The program was designed as an introduction to the world of employment and post-secondary opportunities.
“These programs are essential at a pivotal moment in a young adult’s life. As a parent, I fully understand the pressure a teen can face during this unknown time. Summit DD is committed to helping these students and their families explore the vast opportunities throughout our great community,” shared Lisa Kamlowsky, Summit DD Superintendent.
This year’s Summer Youth Work Experience Program had 33 students who gained work experience at employers like Fairfield Inn, the Akron Zoo, Canal Park, Big Lots, Loyal Oaks Golf Course, House of the Lord, and the City of Stow. In addition, the new Career Exploration Program had 18 students participating this year. They explored opportunities at Summa Health and Wellness Centers, Rocco’s Pizza, Petitti’s Garden Center, and the University of Akron just to name a few.
Each student had a skilled Direct Support Professional (DSP) on-site throughout the summer to help hone and develop their skills. DSP’s are absolutely essential to the success of these programs. Summit DD would like to thank Koinonia, Hattie Larlham, Weaver Industries, and Total Education Solutions for making this program possible each day for the teens and young adults involved.
Summit DD Referral and Support Specialists (RSS), Service and Support Administrators (SSA), and Community Supports and Development staff also worked diligently to make sure the individuals were enjoying their work experiences while communicating essential information between the families, DSP’s, and employers.
See the impact this program has on families like Nathan’s below! He participated in the Summer Youth Work Experience Program in 2021 and 2022, gaining valuable work experience at Winking Lizard and Fairfield Inn.