Summer is a busy season for YAI Hudson Valley Employment Services. The Work Readiness Internship Development Experience (WRIDE) program currently has 40 high school students from seven school districts, most of whom are getting their first job experience, working in various industries across Rockland and Orange counties.
Now in its fourth year, the program prepares students, who have a documented disability, with pre-employment classes that teach them job skills such as the interview process, getting along with coworkers, and finding job leads. Students are then paired up with different employers based on their interests. This summer, students are working at Burlington Coat Factory, Walgreens, summer camps, a local elementary school, a farm, antique shop, radio station, and the library among other places. Students work 20 hours during the six-to-eight-week internship and earn minimum wage while working with a YAI job coach on site. YAI pays the students through a contract with ACCES-VR and the State Department of Education.
“It’s a great way for the kids to get their first real job experience,” said Michelle Newburger, Senior Director of YAI Hudson Valley Employment Services. “They are learning what you need to know about going to work while also walking away with a paycheck.”
Newburger, at the helm with Alicia Pagluiso, Vocational Supervisor, and Evelyn Lynch, Assistant Supervisor, is proud that the program has had a number of students hired and a handful of others who return every year.