START Graduation

In 2008, Strafford Learning Center approached Great Bay Community College with a unique idea. We asked them to collaborate with us on a program that would blend and braid resources from schools, agencies and families, and would offer a new and innovative job training option to students and young adults who need some extra support to get into the world of work.

Heidi WymanGreat Bay Community College’s Business and Training Center, led by Lin Tamulonis and Chris Lawrence, stepped into this enthusiastically, as did our partners at Vocational Rehabilitation, NH Restaurant and Lodging Association, and the NH Developmental Disabilities Council. Several school districts in the Greater Seacoast, including Portsmouth, Milton/Wakefield, Farmington, Rochester, and Salem have helped students access the program, while Living Innovations and One Sky Community Services have been key partners in ensuring that students received the support they needed to be successful.

Heidi Wyman, Transition Consultant at SLC, has played an active role in developing the program, by helping the college to navigate funding and systemic challenges and by speaking and meeting about the program to help schools, families and organizations determine which students are most appropriate for this unique training opportunity.

Students pictured worked hard to complete the required elements of the START Certificate: 180 hours of classroom time and 90 days of internship; as well as the additional pieces that are included in the program at Great Bay Community college: workplace math and reading skill building with the Keytrain program, internship seminar classes, and vocational assessments.

The internship portion of the program begins with job shadows and job trials at the Sheraton Harborside, which has been instrumental in the program success. Students moved into their individual internships in the second semester to complete the program. Those internships took place at some wonderful local organizations, including  Sheraton Harborside, Motel 6, Governor’s Inn, Nashua Radisson, Strafford County Homemakers, Langdon Place, Johnson Seafood, Courtyard Marriott, Mama Lena’s, Exeter Inn, Downeaster Train, Nute High School Food Service,  Southern NH Services. CONGRATULATIONS CLASS OF 2010! Great Job!

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