Ready, Set, Work!


Program Description:

Ready, Set, Work! (RSW) is a program designed to develop job readiness skills and the motivation for continued learning for at-risk Burlington students aged 14-16. The program begins with an intensive 5-week summer session, which combines classroom based employment skills training 2 days per week and on-the-job work experience 3 days a week. Many participating students are transitioning from middle schools to high school and are recommended for enrollment by guidance staff or teachers. The summer program is followed up with a scheduled after school component during part of the school year to continue job skill development and maintain support connections for students. Students participate in team building and problem solving activities, research careers as well as their personal skills and interests, develop job search strategies, write resumes and cover letters, and conduct mock interviews. 

Career guest speakers and work site tours are integrated into the curriculum to expose students to a range of career options in area businesses and to understand professionalism on the job, employer expectations, and ways to make their employment search successful. Students are also matched with community employers for paid work experiences throughout the summer program. The classroom time also provides an opportunity to discuss work experiences the previous day and to jointly problem solve issues that arise on the job.

“At first, I was just thinking that when I grow up, I was going to become a cartoon artist or something. I’m now looking through a wider variety of stuff.”

The program has been developed as a partnership of the Vermont Department of Labor, Burlington Community Schools Project, Burlington High School and Linking Learning to Life.

Why is it Important?

Many students don’t see the connection between school and the ‘real world’. When they are not being

successful in school for any of a number of reasons, students may choose to drop out and try to find ways to make some money. The transition from middle school to high school can be particularly challenging because of the additional factor of moving into that big, unknown institution from a smaller and more comfortable setting. Creating a way for students to clearly make the connection between learning and earning can be very motivational. Students also develop a sense of personal pride and confidence by getting paid for a job well done. Additionally, the Ready, Set, Work! program operates out of the high school during the quiet summer hours and thereby also builds a sense of ownership of the high school by at-risk students coming in.

Who Does it Benefit?

“It taught me better organizational skills that helped me this year at school.”

Students: Gain a “real world” job experience; learn job readiness, problem-solving and team-building skills; connect academic learning to on-the-job applications; refine their own career interests; learn more about their own community and the job opportunities that exist there; develop ownership of the high school increasing their likelihood of staying in school.

Teachers: Integrate applied learning strategies and community-based activities that address different student learning styles and motivate students to learn.

Employers: Help to prepare the future work force with needed skills; develop potential employees.

For More Information:
Please email Kim Sansone, Employment Training Specialist, or call (802) 864-8430.

LINKING LEARNING TO LIFE   52 Institute Road, Burlington, VT 05401   Ph: 802 951-8845 | Fax: 802 951-8851