Students develop vocational skills, self-determination

GBN’s Transition staff has been busy partnering with Northbrook community businesses to expose students to different vocations. 

The Transition curriculum focuses on preparing students for life after high school by developing communication skills that ultimately lead to greater community participation, self-determination and interpersonal relationships. 

In preparation for such vocational experiences, teachers Rita Umansky and Nick Capalbo help students identify their likes and dislikes in class so that trips are tailored to their interests. 

“These classes really help the students get to know who they are,” Umansky said. “We hit the pavement running with our freshmen because the future is never really that far away.”

The students, in grades 9-12, work on everything from crafting voice messages and emails to setting a placemat and serving food. GBN job coach Chris Layfield continues to build positive relationships with community businesses, even helping some students land internships.

“It’s very beneficial for the students because not only can these job-related skills help them in the future, they also develop a sense of purpose, self confidence and the ability to problem solve,” Layfield said. “These skills will be with them forever.”

When asked how Transition classes have helped them, the students said they have learned social and organizational skills, and have been encouraged to think about jobs they can obtain in the future.

“There’s a lot of cool jobs – more than I ever thought about,” one student said.

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Students develop vocational skills, self-determination