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R5 Program

R5 is a state approved Alternative Cooperative Education (ACE) school for students ages 16-21. ACE is a career preparation program that combines academics and workplace skills. Students attend academic classes from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily. In the afternoons, students engage in a Secondary Placement. For a Secondary Placement, students must either have a job with a verified employer, a pre-approved service learning experience with a non-profit organization, enroll in the R5-Eureka Outdoor Program, enroll in an approved vocational/technical program such as CMU Tech or Career Center, or be enrolled in the R5 Young Parents Program. Each of these will earn elective credits toward a diploma. All goals and objectives meet or exceed District 51 standards. No transportation is provided by District 51 for Secondary Placements. (Grades 10 -12)

 

“Learners and Jobs”

A key part of the ACE program at R5 is for students to maintain a vocational experience for at least fifteen hours a week. With the teenage unemployment rate as high as it has been since the government started keeping statistics in 1948, this may be a challenge for some students, particularly those who are sixteen. However, a persistent job search can be rewarding.

Learners will need to remember that seeking their first job means that the result is NOT the job that he or she will have for life. Jobs that require low levels of skill usually are found in fast food restaurants where employers work to train new employees. Most employers in this market are unlikely to invest in training time until there is a reasonable expectation of hiring employees who will stay with them after they reach 18 or graduate. The value in the first job comes from the work ethic that can be developed during time on the job. The communication and worker qualities that young workers can develop will foster increased competency for future jobs.

So how to get that first job? While on-line applications are common, these applications are often filtered, leaving out younger workers, especially in a market where plenty of older workers are seeking employment. Taking the time to visit sites and filling out the applications immediately is an effective way to make an impression on the employer. Following up on applications submitted may often lead to increased chances of successful employment. Learners should bring a list of critical information such as contact information of references, accurate home address, and phone numbers. A black or blue pen and a firm writing surface is helpful. Turning in one or two completed applications an afternoon is far more effective than collecting a dozen applications and returning them haphazardly.

Volunteering will also meet the requirements for work experience. Treating a volunteering position the same as a job is difficult, but important. Learners will earn elective credit for their vocational experiences and there are paraprofessionals who will check student volunteers the same as working students. The paraprofessionals will support the learner as he or she grows on the job, ensuring that learning life skills develop during the experience.