Making the bridge

Galt Joint Union High School District Transition Partnership Program facilitator Tracie Cross (left) speaks to guests at the January Galt District Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday, Jan. 16 at Comfort Inn & Suites. Cross said that the transitional program has helped over 250 students gain employment since 2016.

The Galt Joint Union High School District (GJUHSD) has joined forces with the Department of Rehabilitation to provide special needs students the help they need to secure good jobs just out of high school. Facilitator Tracie Cross of the Transition Partnership Program (TPP) has seen many of her students succeed in finding good jobs with the help of local businesses. She thanked the Galt business community by giving them an update on the programs’ progress during a Galt District Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Comfort Inn & Suites last Thursday.

Cross began as the facilitator in 2008. She has experienced successfully finding jobs for 22 students in 2016 and has continued seeing successful job placements every year. A few of her students have made huge leaps into the workforce. One of her students interned with KCRA and now produces her own show. Other standouts include an operating engineer, medical assistance, phlebotomists, truck drivers and even an asbestos removal apprentice starting at $45 per hour.

“We serve students age 16-21 who have a disability and a desire to work,” Cross said. “We develop Individual Employment Plans with each student. We provide services to prepare for college, vocational training and competitive employment, including an employment portfolio completed by their senior year, workplace readiness training and assessments, counseling on post-secondary goals, self-advocacy training, paid work-based learning experience, which often leads to permanent employment, develop resumes, cover letters, interviewing skills, job coaching and career exploration.”

Cross said the Department of Rehabilitation also provides assistance with transportation, clothing for interviews and jobs, funding for vocational training, college and other employment needs. The local program has helped over 250 students since 2016.

“We have several community business partnerships in our Work Experience Program, including Comfort Inn, Denny’s, Carl’s Jr., Ace Hardware, CVS, Pastosa by Lucia, Cal-Waste Recovery Systems, Country Kennels, city of Galt, Kidz Come First Preschool, New Hope Preschool, Animal Friends Connection, Iron Dragon, Anytime Fitness, Fitness Pro, CVS, Wine and Roses, New Hope Church, and growing each year,” said Cross who thanked them for their support.

The development of the program has been an enriching experience for Cross.

“It has been an exciting journey to grow my skills in networking, case management, event coordinating, and teaching students vital skills in preparing for employment in and after high school. We have a monthly Job Club in the junior and senior Curriculum Support classes at GHS and LRHS.”

The program sponsors a College and Career Fair every year. This year is the 9th annual and will be held at Galt High on March 18 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The fair features many local professionals who give mock interviews to students and workshops on topics such as budgeting, resumes, cover letters, customer service, and job applications.