Goodwin Welcomes Project Worth Young Adult Academy
The 2017 fall semester brought a new community partnership program to campus, forming a unique synergy between Goodwin College’s Facilities Department and Project Worth Young Adult Academy, a program of South Windsor Public Schools. Project Worth is a transitional opportunity for young adults, 18 to 21, with special needs, who have completed high school and are preparing to move on to an adult agency.
“We are a vocationally based program,” said Sarah Wadsworth, South Windsor special education teacher. “We collaborate with community organizations to help our students access work experience and build their life skills. It’s a positive way to help young adults prepare for what’s next in their lives and to be part of a college community.”
Word of Goodwin’s experience in community building originally led Project Worth to the College and into discussions with Vice President for Academic Affairs Danielle Wilken, Assistant Vice President for Facilities Dan Larson, and Director of Custodial Operations Ray Maselek, who all recognized the possibility of forming a partnership in which the students would become part of the Facilities team and learn what it means to join the workforce.
“Since we were creating something new to us, we put a lot of thought into what the Project Worth students’ responsibilities would entail,” Maselek said. “We wanted it to be a positive experience for them, and to coordinate with the schedules and duties of our Facilities team.”
Last fall, the first two Project Worth students came to the Riverside campus. Student Brenden Prattson was supervised by custodian Tim Perkins at the Riverside Magnet School. Maya Sparks was directed by lead custodian Amerfi Roman at the Connecticut River Academy. Both students also worked at the main campus building under the supervision of Ismael Roman, Supervisor of College Buildings, and Esteban Romero, Goodwin custodian. Overseeing the program was Samantha Allard, Project Worth job coach.
Also involved in the project was Casey Kennedy, a student in Goodwin’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program. “Project Worth has a partnership with the OTA program at Goodwin in which we serve a clinical site,” Wadsworth explained. “Under the supervision of a Goodwin OT, OTA students spend eight weeks working with us to fulfill part of their program requirements. Project Worth students get the benefit of their OT knowledge along with the chance to interact with college-aged peers. It’s a win-win.”
Everyone involved in this first venture considers it a success. Brenden and Maya wrap up their jobs at Goodwin in June and additional Project Worth students are scheduled to join the Goodwin workforce for the summer session.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.