Prime Data helps York Region special education students gain work experience

16-01-2013

Prime Data is committed to giving back to the community in many ways including an ongoing partnership with the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) and their Work Experience program for students with an intellectual disability.

Prime Data is committed to giving back to the community in many ways including an ongoing partnership with the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) and their Work Experience program for students with an intellectual disability.

The Work Experience Program is a training program for students in special education, aged 14 to 21. It is designed to promote career awareness and exploration while students complete their secondary education program. The program was brought to Prime Data by staff member Manoj Mistry who has been working with students from the program for 15 years.

Prime Data provides an opportunity for the students to practice work-related skills in the community in preparation for the transition from home and school to the world of work. Currently, one student joins Manoj and his mail fulfillment team each week for two hours performing a number of light duties such as:

  • folding envelopes,
  • putting elastics on mail bundles,
  • attaching stickers to envelopes,
  • and more.

Classroom staff provide onsite support based on the students’ ability to work independently and complete the tasks assigned. “I am really impressed by how dedicated the school program staff are,” says Manoj.

Right now Prime has the space to support one student per six-week term. As the company grows, Manoj would like to extend the program to five students. “The kids need help outside of school,” he says. “They don’t get many opportunities to view the workplace so when they are here, they are really happy to be part of something different. They tell me it’s fun.”

Steve Falk, President, Prime Data agrees: “It is great to see the students learn new skills and benefit from being in the work environment. We hope to help them build self-confidence, increase self-esteem, and enhance their social skills -- contributing to their future success. The best part is when I get a call a few months later from a prospective employer looking for a reference. You know the young people who Manoj has worked with are on the their way.”