Proud of getting her first job

Proud of getting her first job

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Proud of getting her first job

Samantha felt a sense of pride and excitement when she recently obtained and started her first job.

Samantha has been employed at KeyBank Center through Pegula Sports & Entertainment (PSE) since September. She is responsible for helping clean the arena after events. Samantha enjoys working the day shift and has learned many new things while working, such as keeping a schedule, using the public transportation route to get to and from work, keeping herself safe by wearing gloves while she cleans, and navigating her way through KeyBank Center.

Samantha says that having a job requires her to be responsible, to work hard and to learn to manage her time. She has grown in independence, as she is now earning her own money. Samantha has also made a lot of new friends at her job.

Thanks to our partners at Pegula Sports Entertainment and the KeyBank Center for creating a great work environment!

Students develop skills through Banquet and Server Training

Students develop skills through Banquet and Server Training

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Students develop skills through Banquet and Server Training

Our third cohort of students from The Service Collaborative of WNY Inc. started our new Banquet and Restaurant Server training at the Jefferson Career Exploration Center .

During this course, the students will not only focus on the importance of Guest Services, but will also learn, through classroom lessons and use of the Banquet Suite, how to prepare a space for different dining experiences. In addition to this, the course will also feature guest speakers, tours of local businesses and job shadowing opportunities.

Recently, the class welcomed Heather Smith, Director of Human Resources from the Curtiss Hotel. Heather was able to provide the students with great insight as to what they look for in potential employees, while touching upon the importance of Guest Services as well. The students were truly impressed with what the Curtiss had to offer and showed much interest in becoming a part of their team someday! ​

Prenatal class helps prepare expectant mothers

Prenatal class helps prepare expectant mothers

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Prenatal class helps prepare expectant mothers

Last month, Community Services began offering prenatal classes thanks to the support of a mini-grant. The goal of these classes is to keep families together, support the mother and baby in a healthy pregnancy, help and empower families in decision making, and to educate and prepare parents for a new baby.

The classes take place at the Jefferson Career Exploration Center and are facilitated by Angel Kulczyk, a certified doula. Topics covered in the classes include how to create a birth plan, car seat safety, healthy relationships, breastfeeding and bottle feeding, yoga, deep breathing exercises, and more techniques to help expectant mothers.

Jaime, a class participant, is a first-time mom expecting a baby girl in August. She said the prenatal classes have helped her to prepare and get the supplies she needs. She is looking forward to welcoming the new baby.

“I can’t wait,” she said. “My family is throwing me a shower next month and they’re really excited.”

 We are thrilled to be able to provide a program like this to help families.

Out of the Blue dishes out cool treats

Out of the Blue dishes out cool treats

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Out of the Blue dishes out cool treats

Recently, people we support got a sweet treat thanks to Out of the Blue WNY. Out of the Blue arranged for Anderson’s Food Truck to make a stop at our Jefferson Career Exploration Center and serve up some ice cream for people in our programs.

About 100 people had their choice of a variety of flavors, such as Graham Cracker Crunch and Mint Chocolate Chip, or they could order sundaes, milkshakes or frozen yogurt. Out of the Blue provided drinks as well. Despite a few rain showers, everyone had a great time eating their treats, catching up with friends and dancing to music. Thank you Out of the Blue for everything that you do for our agency and the people we support!

 

Microsoft hosts workshops about careers and assistive technology

Microsoft hosts workshops about careers and assistive technology

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Microsoft hosts workshops about careers and assistive technology

Microsoft recently partnered with Community Services to present a workshop for our Pre-Vocational programs and to host an accessibility presentation for the public last month.

Emily Rautenstrauch, Community Development Specialist at the local Microsoft Store, spoke to our Pre-Vocational programs about what it’s like to work for the company and the different types of jobs available. She explained some of the responsibilities of various positions and the qualities Microsoft looks for in an employee.

Afterward, Emily passed out several Microsoft laptops so everyone could play a game that helps teach coding techniques.

The following week, Microsoft held a free workshop for the community to discuss the tools available to support people with hearing, vision, mobility and learning disabilities. This included how to use tools in Windows 10 such as adjusting display settings, using a screen reading app, the Dictate setting in Word, customizing audio and more.

After the presentation, attendees had a chance to try out some of the tools on laptops, such as enabling the Dictate setting in Word. This tool allowed everyone to speak out loud and watch as the words appeared as text on the screen.

We look forward to providing more opportunities like this for the people we support and the community in the future!

First hospitality training course at Jefferson a success

First hospitality training course at Jefferson a success

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First hospitality training course at Jefferson a success

Our first hospitality training class graduated in June at our Jefferson Career Exploration Center. In partnership with The Service Collaborative of WNY Inc., we started our first cohort of classes in April with a small group of students to provide them with the opportunity to explore careers in the hospitality industry and develop the skills needed for specific jobs in that field.

The classes focus on two main areas of hospitality: housekeeping attendant and front desk representative. Classes are held four days a week at Jefferson and instructed by Joelle Amico, our Hospitality Workforce Development Specialist. A certified curriculum is used to guide the classes and teach students the fundamentals of the hospitality industry.

“The students who have signed up for these classes want to better themselves and want to explore the opportunities that are available to them,” Joelle said.

Over the duration of the course, students received hands-on practice in our mock hotel room at Jefferson, toured hotels in the Western New York area, and had the chance to job shadow professionals in the field.

A small graduation ceremony was held in June where students were presented with their certifications from the American Hotel & Lodging Association. We are thrilled that our first class passed their testing with flying colors and look forward to working with our next group of students!