Participants work with a job coach in a 4:1 ratio to learn basic job skills at for-profit and non-profit organizations in Orange County. Generally, they will spend half the day in the field working with fellow participants learning about the business, operations, job duties, responsibilities, teamwork, and safety. The goal is for the participant to learn what it means to be a good employee, understand responsibilities, and job expectations.
The remainder of the day is spent in the classroom with follow up instruction regarding employment, vocational skills, and topics related to work, life, and independence.
Fridays are typically reserved for fun activities in the community or at the Academy.
While participating in the Vocational Day Program, participants will engage in Community Instruction that teaches participants how to be a good employee, on the job, with the goal of helping each participant understand how to earn their way to the role they desire. Each participant works through up to the four levels of competencies listed below. Students learn to generalize their social skills in the workplace, advocate for their needs, initiate inquiries and work with customers. They also learn how to lead and how to overcome barriers to social interactions, build relations with influencers, develop a work persona, and respect differing views.
Level 1: Effectively work with predictable patterns, keeping busy and attentive at all times, and learning mastery of tasks. More complex processes will be built over time.
Level 2: Learn to multi-task and to manage a change in predictable patterns mid-stream while on the job. Participants will be able to effectively change processes and go back to finish their initial task.
Level 3: Master interactive skills including appropriate customer service activities/communication.
Level 4: Become adept at managing higher level, self-directed tasks and become an effective problem solver, take initiative and be proactive in approach to work.
Once the participant has successfully completed each level, the next goal is to develop the required skills for individuals to be successful in the workplace within their career pathway, successfully understanding how to interact, provide acceptable work product, and advocate for their career goals. This part of the program concentrates on providing participants with experience in an individual’s career pathway that leads to a better understanding of the profession and development of skills in a professional setting that leads to job hiring.
Upon completion of this aspect of the program students should be able to display the following skills in a work environment:
- Display confidence and professionalism
- Effectively communicate with employees and managers
- Work at a competitive pace
- Complete high-quality work
- Effectively work as a team and as an individual
- Display responsibility by maintaining good attendance, arriving on time, well groomed, and in their work uniform
- Assist customers independently
- Stay on task continuously for 2-4 hours
- Complete basic retail tasks such as: processing inventory, organizing displays and tagging merchandise, receiving shipments, cleaning, facing/blocking items
Examples of New Vista Career Academy Workplace Partnerships:
- Renewable Farms
- Sheraton 4 Points Hotel
- Dana Point Marine Institute
- The Ecology Center
- CKO Kickboxing
- Second Harvest Food Bank
- Lakeview Rose Garden Senior Center
- Mercy House
- Santa Ana Zoo
- Local law firms
- Smart and Final
- Gold Coast farms
The goal of classroom instruction is to develop skills that are needed to achieve self-sufficiency. Areas of instruction include life management, career management, and personal management.
Through direct in-class instruction, participants will participate in the following topics:
- Proper grooming & hygiene
- Student leadership
- Nutrition and cooking skills
- Living on a budget
- Managing a bank account
- Creating realistic goals
- Job searching (Filling out applications, creating a resume, interviewing)
- Fitness introduction
- Reading and interpreting job postings
- Understanding job qualifications
- Reading and understanding paystubs
- Post-secondary education/resources
- How to safely and efficiently utilize the internet
- Horticultural topics and photo journal seed-growing projects
- Exercising social and communication skills in the service of interviewing
- Art and craft projects
- Gardening and safety
- Speeches and presentations
- Understanding business operations. Inventory, budgeting, etc.
Students will receive direct community-based instruction in order to advance their ability to navigate, interact and utilize resources in their local communities. Students will be assessed in a variety of life-skill areas including: pedestrian safety, money skills, accessing community resources, shopping skills, mobility readiness, community navigation, as well as assertive communication.
Upon completion of this aspect of the program students should be able to display the following skills in the community:
- Pedestrian Competency
- Volunteer opportunities
- Community outings
- Shopping and Money Management Skills
- Emergency Situation Skills (Using 911, Police Interactions, Contacting Security)
- Using Public Transportation
- Stranger Danger Safety.
- Accessing Free Health Care
- Recreation Skills.
- Community Navigation (Reading and understanding maps)
Independence: Self Care
Each participant learns to be prepared for weekly life at work inclusive of proper financial planning, nutrition, time management, transportation requirements, grooming, and physical fitness. This includes planning meals for time at work with a budget and a plan for eating breakfasts and lunches, coming to work with appropriate attire and grooming, and creating a schedule that includes exercise as part of a weekly routine.