JOBS for AMERICA'S GRADUATES

JAG and TherapyWorks’ Partnership

The Rio Grande High School’s JAG program is proud to announce a unique opportunity in partnering with TherapyWorks, Inc. This opportunity may well expand into benefiting the whole Rio Grande community to collaborate with international lecturers and authors, who happen to live in Albuquerque. Kristine Moore, the JAG Specialist, summarizes by sharing, “The students are taking ownership of their job responsibilities and are working together as a cohesive team.” 

TherapyWorks is co-owned by occupational therapists, Sherry Shellenberger and Mary Sue Williams. Since 1990, TherapyWorks has published Alert Program® books, games, and songs to teach self-regulation concepts to children and adults. (Self-regulation is the ability to change how alert one feels and it affects students’ ability to learn and graduate from school, keep a job, and/or share their unique strengths as contributing community members).

Over 20,000 parents, teachers, therapists, and administrators have been trained in using the Alert Program®world-wide since 1990. This successful approach has been researched and proven effective in supporting students to prepare for “real life.”

In the fall of 2011, unexpectedly TherapyWorks’ outsourced order fulfillment center closed its doors. This center was filling approximately 100-120 orders per month for TherapyWorks. Inventory was moved back to a small office and the search began for a way to share the Alert Program® information with students at risk for drop-out from high school to add another set of "tools" as options they can use to succeed at school, at a job, or in college. Kay Provolt, JAG-New Mexico State Director, and Mary Sue Williams were introduced by a mutual friend and this productive partnership began.

An office "environment" was created in Rio Grande High School’s JAG classroom so that students would feel that the environment looked similar to an area in which they might work, if they were filling orders at a real job site. They have access to computers, printer, fax machine, shipping supplies, scale and the Internet.

Ron Winkle, TherapyWorks’ COO, personally trains JAG students. He uses a “System Action Plan” to teach the students to fill the Alert Program® books and game orders in several sessions, similar to a real job site orientation. Now, JAG II students fill, package and ship orders independently in their “work environment.” They work in teams to help all students learn from one another and ensure “cross training.” Each order includes a label that describes the partnership, stating that the order was filled by JAG students and referencing the JAG website. While students are working toward their JAG competencies, they benefit from learning basic job skills.

The authors of the program (Mary Sue and Sherry) have expressed their gratitude for finding the JAG program, not only for helping to fill their orders, but for the “satisfaction in knowing that the students are learning real life job skills.” After giving their first workshop to the students about the Alert Program® and self-regulation, Mary Sue emailed a note about the successful partnership: “Wonderful to be with the students today! Loved watching them build confidence, learn job skills, and feel great about a job well done. All the qualities we are hoping for in their adulthood…so great to see their skills in action.”

In yearly workshops to the JAG students, Sherry and Mary Sue teach self-regulation concepts to help them be more successful at school or at a job. For example, students learn how to be ready and focused for job interviews (how to remain calm).  They explain, “The more we understand what helps us to change how alert we are, the better we are able to demonstrate our knowledge and succeed at a job.” After the first presentation one student stated, “I’m going to tell the principal that all students need the information we learned today.”

TherapyWorks will continue to support JAG students to provide not only job training, but to teach the importance of self-regulation for job success. They are in the process of looking for grant monies to further support the students’ self-knowledge and contribute to their high school graduation. TherapyWorks looks forward to the opportunity to partner with JAG this school year.Together, they are well on their way to achieving their joint goal of supporting students, as demonstrated by these quotes:

“My work experience with TherapyWorks has been great.  ...  It's great to work with the rest of my classmates. We help each other with anything we don't understand that well.”  Flor

“It's a great skill to learn for a good job or career I would like to have.”  Chantalle

“I have enjoyed this very much and have learned many new things such as shipping and packaging, and I also hope to learn more.”  Crystal

“I was able to get work experience with TherapyWorks.”  Jesus

“I like the experience because I can put it on my resume.  I like packing the orders and working on the computer during class.”  Destiny

“My work experience with TherapyWorks in JAG is actually pretty interesting.  It's like a job because you work on a team and you collaborate with others which is fun.”  Moises

“TherapyWorks is a great company that provides an excellent product.”  Aide 

Photos:

Jesus Miranda locates shipping destinations for TherapyWorks orders.  The pins identify destinations for orders shipped this school year.
 

(From left to right) Vania Olivas, Brian Woody, Johnathan Rodriguez, Juanita Ortega, Cruz Cardenas, and Alferes Marquez participate in a workshop activity, designed to teach self requlation techniques, with Sherry
Shellenberger, TherapyWorks co-owner.

(From left to right) Kimberly Perez and Vanessa Guerrero attach shipping labels on packages for TherapyWorks orders.