|Rob Corso, one of the graduates from College of Saint Rose's College Experience|
Program, was offered a position in body shop at Orange Motors, after completing
his internship there this year.
"That's the fun part of my job. Students come in with these backgrounds and motivations and I get to try to find a position that fits that," he says enthusiastically. This year, he has several students interested in animals, and several interested in clerical work, and Lynch is out pounding the pavement looking for the right employers for them.
Lynch works for the College Experience Program, a partnership between the College of Saint Rose and Living Resources that provides individuals with developmental disabilities the opportunity to learn the skills necessary for independent living. The two-year college program includes adaptive living skills and job training and usually culminates with internships, with the goal of finding meaningful work experiences for the students after college.
The Central Avenue Business Improvement District has been partnering with the College Experience Program since 2011, helping Lynch and his team match students with employers. As a result, many students have enjoyed internships at Central Avenue businesses.
Carl Keegan, vice president of Orange Motors, was full of praise for the program and the caliber of the students it produces. Two students recently completed internships at the car dealership--one in the body shop and one in the parts department. "They both worked out very well," Keegan says. One graduated and moved on, but the other has taken a paid position in the body department, and now he's just one of the guys, Keegan says.
Orange Motors has been an excellent partner, offering internships that give students real skills and reinforce
Students have also taken positions at several other district businesses, including ShopRite, Honest Weight Food Co-op, Central Veterinary Hospital, and WAMC.
These students all gained hands-on experience in fields they're interested in. They also gained real-world skills like time management, self-advocacy and mastering public transportation. And the benefits aren't one-sided, Lynch points out. These small businesses get additional help, from a set of enthusiastic, determined workers.
"It's a really great project. I really have to comment that they do a great job over there at College of Saint Rose," say Keegan. "It was enjoyable for all of us, and for the students. I think more businesses should get involved in it."
The program is currently looking for employers to give job talks, provide job shadowing opportunities, and internships (paid or unpaid).
For more information about the College Experience Program, please contact Bill Lynch at (518) 218-0000 or by email at email@example.com