Summer Job Training Program in Methuen
By; Tom Duggan – May, 2012
Methuen School Superintendent Judy Scannell has reinstituted a jobs training program for graduating students who are not attending college after they get their diploma.
Scannell says the “Pathways” jobs program is funded by a federal grant and was in place “for about ten years but a few years ago the program was stopped for whatever reason.”
Scannell told the Valley Patriot that she asked her administration to put in the paperwork for the federal grant when she realized some kids were graduating and had no idea what they were going to do when they got out of school.
“I wanted to make sure that we could give these students, former students technically, a chance to learn job skills and give them some temporary employment until they are ready to go out into the workforce.”
“The students start working for us right after they graduate. Our newest group of students will start working for the grounds crew at Methuen High School in June but we don’t just put kids to work,” she explained.
“First we give them training. We teach them safety standards. We teach them resume writing skills, we help them get certified in different things they will need in the workforce, like first aid, CPR, OSHA workplace safety standards, we teach them how to properly use different kinds of equipment. And when they finish their training we put them to work on the grounds crew for the summer.”
Scannell says she keeps students employed at the end of the summer if they want to stay or can’t find a job by the end of the summer.
At least four students have been employed by the Methuen Public Schools from the 2011 graduating class. Four more students from the 2012 graduating class are currently going through Pathways training.
Eighteen year old Jeff Sadezwicz says he signed up for the summer jobs training program before he graduated this year because he wanted to make money over the summer. “I was looking for a skill so I could go out and get a job. This has been good. I’m learning a lot that I can use in the future,” he said.
Nineteen year old David Lopez said while he really likes the program “it’s not what I expected. I had a job before this but I was miserable, I was always watching the clock. Here, the day goes by much faster. I learned to do stuff I never did before. Learning how to use chain saws, mulching, painting furniture moving all kinds of stuff.”
“Hopefully they will keep us on grounds keeping when the summer is over,” Lopez added. “It keeps us off the streets, keeps us out of trouble and it feels good to know we are helping our community, too.”
Lopez said he wanted to thank Superintendent Scannell for “changing my life”.
Eighteen year old Nicholas O’leary said he joined the jobs program “because I need to buy a car, I need to be able to pay for gas and insurance, ten dollars an hour is pretty good for a summer job.”
He also thanked Superintendent Scannell for helping graduating students. “It’s like a second chance, we graduated and the school is still helping us,” he said. “This has been good for self-esteem, it’s kind of showing us we can do things we didn’t think we could do. It’s going to make it easier to get a job when we are done I know that.”
Superintendent Scannell personally attends the student training at Methuen High School and says that Facilities Director John Mastrangelo, a 30 year veteran of the Methuen Schools has been “wonderful with the students. He really is good at reaching them and getting them ready for the new renovations. The kids are going to be the key this year because we have a lot of work to do moving things for the renovations.”
Superintendent Scannell says that as long as the funding is available to continue the Pathways program she will continue to help graduating seniors prepare for the world of work, even after they graduate.