By Associated Press - Saturday, April 8, 2017

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) - A high school in Alaska is helping students with disabilities find summer jobs.

Bethel Regional High School is participating in a state-funded program that will match students with disabilities with local businesses, reported KYUK-AM ( ). The program is designed for students with different types of disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum.

The state will pay students a minimum wage of $9.80.

“We as a school district want to say, ‘okay, doesn’t matter what their skill level or needs are, we as a community as a whole, in the Delta, are going to figure out ways to help our kids,’” said Ashley Crace, the director of special education for Lower Kuskokwim School District.

She said early work experience helps students decide which paths to take for college or career.

“Employment is competitive out there,” Crace said. “So it’s our job as educators to help them be ready or feel comfortable regardless of whether it’s at a port, or being a mechanic, or the local airlines, or the subsistence lifestyle of fending for yourself and your family.”

Bethel teacher Jane Belanger said the students will be able to work for about four to six weeks up to full time, depending on their interest. They will also participate in a classroom component that meets for a couple hours once a week.

Belanger is recruiting employers and students for the program and figuring out how to address the students’ needs in the workplace.


Information from: KYUK-AM,

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