“The most important thing people did for me was to expose me to new things.” – Temple Grandin
ACE Supported Employment Program
The goal of any educational institution is to prepare students for post high school also known as “the real world”. Here is the thing, the real world looks different for different people. Sometimes it leads to continued education, sometimes vocational work, other times it can be entrepreneurial work. As educators it is our responsibility to help guide students to where they can be most successful.
Michael Woodruff, the coordinator for the Alternative Cooperative Education Supported Employment program for Integrated Services in Poudre School District, supports students in developing employment skills. The students he works with have a disability and are served through the Integrated Services program with a high level of special education supports. The wonderful part of this ACE Supported Employment program is that it provides students with opportunities to learn job skills while in school instead of waiting until they have finished! Together students and coordinators work to find the best fit by providing job trials in various places.
The ACE Supported Employment program has wonderful success stories of students finding, keeping and loving employment positions. Often, these positions continue after the students formal education with Poudre School District has concluded. Even with great success stories, there was a piece of the puzzle missing. There needed to be a place for students who were not emotionally prepared for work in the community. Sarah Belleau, Director of Integrated Services, challenged Mr. Woodruff and his team to create an environment within the safety of Poudre School District where students could explore what it is like to be self-employed, with a real monetary product. This environment would allow students with more significant needs to be in charge of all of the ins and outs of running a business including time and money management, ordering, roasting, grinding, bagging, labeling and distributing an end product – coffee!
The 2014 SPIE Grant Mr. Woodruff received granted $3,755 toward a Coffee Roaster, Baratza Encore Coffee Mill, Jenning CJ-4000 Scale, 1 lb. Kraft Tin-Tie bags, 20 + pounds of coffee beans, and a switch Relay Device to operate the roaster and grinder.
The coffee roasting entrepreneurial option creates an environment for students who may have job placement difficulty otherwise. In addition it creates a partnership between a few student run enterprises in Poudre School District including Poudre High School’s Poudre ACE Sign Shop. The Poudre ACE Sign Shop creates the labels for the coffee packaging.
Mr. Woodruff is in the process of setting up production materials and soon the roasting will begin. Keep an eye out for more information on our Facebook page and Twitter. It may be your new, favorite place to buy coffee.
Poudre School District Integrated Services Director: Sarah Belleau 2407 Laporte Avenue, Fort Collins, CO 80521