SWEP students_webEvery summer, the Center facilitates a program for juniors and seniors in high school that helps them to obtain their first work experience. These students with disabilities, residents of St. Louis City and St. Louis County and St. Charles County, attend one week of “soft-skills” training at the Center where they learn about appropriate work attire, arriving to work on time and getting along with managers and co-workers. They are then placed in part-time jobs for six to eight weeks and receive on-the-job supports from one of the Center’s job coaches.

This year, the Center welcomed 58 students into this program. They are working at businesses throughout the St. Louis metro area, including Schnucks, Marshalls, McAlister’s Deli, Savers and the Center’s own social enterprises, Destination Desserts and Wags in a Bag. With some paid work experience under their belt, they have a better understanding of what is expected of them as an employee and what types of work they do or don’t like to do. The experience also lets them start building a résumé. We wish all of these students good luck this summer!