RCCSD Work-Based Learning Program Creates New Opportunities
April 20, 2022 - Everybody learns differently. Some are visual learners, while others need to write it down repeatedly. Then there are those who need to be hands on, which can be challenging in the classroom. The Red Creek Central School District created a program to generate new opportunities for those high school students. It’s called Work-Based Learning. It includes several different activities like job shadowing, community service and career-focused research project.
“It’s giving these students a chance to explore many different career paths and possibly secure a job along the way,” said Mr. Richard Durocher, the program’s instructor.
This year there are seven students in the program. During the final two periods of the school day, sometimes longer, these students head out to several local businesses to job shadow. In most cases these students also get the opportunity to complete tasks, getting valuable experience in that career.
At the beginning of the year, St. Jude the Apostle Church in Fairhaven reached out to the program. It needed help with some demolition in the basement, as well as painting. The students spent several hours over the course of a week tackling those tasks, helping a local organization in need.
More recently, these students helped the Red Creek School District bus garage in a big way. One of the lifts in the bus garage was out of commission because it wasn’t up to code. Multiple rust spots were found and needed to be restored. The students were asked if they would be willing to take on the job of restoring the lift. They accepted.
“We used the grinder discs to grind those spots out. Cleaned them up and repainted the lift red and yellow,” said Ethan Bauer, one of the students in the program. “We also removed the old decking.”
The students took care of everything on the lift except for the welding since that needs to be done by a certified welder. The district hired Eagle Welding, a local business, to complete that part of the job. The bus lift has since passed inspection and is functioning again.
Currently, the students are teaming up to restore a backhoe. They must rebuild the brakes and hydraulics system and change out the fluids and filters. During this process, the students are learning how to look up and order specific parts for the project. At the end, they will also give the backhoe a new paint job.
“It helps us learn the skills necessary to stay on tasks and prepare us in the future with potential jobs,” said Bryce Huntington, another student in the program. Fellow student Caleb Henry agreed “we have worked on a few projects and Mr. Durocher teaches us a lot of great and useful skills that we are going to be able to use for the rest of our lives. This program has done a lot of good for me.”
So, what’s next for the program? “I’d like to see it expand,” said Mr. Durocher. He hopes to evaluate the students at an individual level and connect them with local businesses with a specific career field. “I see the potential where the students can get into some apprenticeship programs and possibly get hired.”
- Red Creek HS