SAILing into new summer work program

The Copper Country Intermediate School District is partnering with Superior Alliance for Independent Living (SAIL) and Michigan Rehabilitation Services to provide a Summer Work Program for its students who are in Special Education.

The program will allow students who are 16 or older the opportunity to work during this upcoming summer.

“We’re developing this program to give students the opportunity to gain work experience,” said SAIL Employment Services Director Rita Keiholtz.

The CCISD transition coordinator, Lois Weber, said this is something new that they wanted to do for the students to give them skills that’ll be helpful when they graduate.

She said there was a similar program that Michigan Works used to do and this was a way to bring it back.

They are accepting applications until March, will be having interviews in April, and then are hoping to have students begin working in June.

The purpose of the interview process is to give the students in special education a realistic experience in job hunting and working.

“We would like them to gain experience like any other job,” said Keiholtz.

Weber also agreed.

“We’re really trying to pattern a summer job,” said Weber.

They are currently looking for more job sites to host the students. They would like to have three.

According to Weber, Lake Linden City Council has already expressed interest in being a job site. They are looking to possibly have one in Baraga and another in Hancock or Houghton.

On the site, the students will have job coaches. The coaches will supervise and train the students for those jobs.

Eventually, the coach will step back and allow the students to take the lead. They want them to be able to work independently.

The program is funded by Michigan Rehabilitation Services.

“The extra funding is being encouraged to give students work-based training so when they graduate they’ll have more opportunities,” said Weber.