News & Media

IU13 Work Immersion Program at Willow Valley Communities

09/09/2015 By Willow Valley Communities Blog

Did you know that these local students are attending their last year of high school right here at Willow Valley Communities?

The students, between the ages of 17 and 21, are participating in a unique year-long Work Immersion Program for young adults with disabilities. Willow Valley provides a classroom and job training opportunities empowering students with valuable on the job experience. Finding viable employment upon graduation from high school is easier because of skills and experiences obtained through participation in work immersion.

Students work in food service, housekeeping, healthcare, laundry, maintenance, or landscaping, to name a few. They are matched to work that fits their strengths but are allowed to try other positions that might turn out to suit them even better. Also there is value for students in having the opportunity to develop relationships with our Team Members and Residents – a benefit to all.

At year-end during graduation exercises, many Team Members from Willow Valley come out to show their support of the fine work completed by the students. In addition to job skills, the teachers work with the students to develop skills to live on their own, including budgeting and opening a bank account, transportation, looking at housing options, and handling situations that come up during the year.   In the last few years seven of the students have secured employment within Willow Valley Communities and most of the other students found employment nearer to their homes in similar jobs to their internships.

A Willow Valley Communities Team Member commented “It was an honor to be among the professionals that try so hard to help the kids, and an honor to be with kids who are trying so hard to better themselves.”

Congratulations to the students who have graduated from this program in past years and best wishes to new students participating this year!

The IU13 Work Immersion program at Willow Valley was honored with a 2015 Innovation of the Year award from LeadingAge PA.