Several of the 13 students in the Pre-ETS program at Homestead High School worked in retail stores during the 2018-2019 school year. They saw firsthand the behind-the-scenes effort that keeps the stores running.
Pre-Employment Transition Services are designed to help students explore work opportunities and includes hands-on work experiences at participating businesses.
At the Goodwill store on the southwest side of Fort Wayne, senior Kenyon, 17, paid close attention to sorting clothing and hangers. “I like doing the price tags and putting the hangers up,” he said.
In Chestnut Hills Plaza, at the Walgreens store, 17-year-old Andrew helped with unloading trucks, running inventory, arranging stock and pulling expired items off shelves.
“I love putting things away. I think it’s fun,” said Andrew, who was a junior during his time at Walgreens. “I like stuff to be neat and perfect.”
Richey, 18, was a senior when he worked at the Franciscan Family Thrift store in southwest Fort Wayne. He often was the strongest person available on the staff, and other employees relied on him to make the heavy work easier on everyone.
“I like working with heavy stuff,” Richey said. “They usually call me to help with the heavy stuff.”
Homestead students in Pre-ETS worked at a wide variety of businesses. In addition to retail environments, students were employed at the Jorgensen Family YMCA, Lutheran Hospital, Aboite Elementary School, Sunshine Christian Academy, Pizza Hut, and PHP.
Easterseals Arc began its Pre-ETS program in the spring of 2017 at Wayne High School. Since then, it’s expanded to Homestead, Carroll, South Side, North Side, Northrop, and Columbia City High Schools, with a Memorial Park Middle School program coming soon. Any student age 14 to 22 with an IEP or a 504 plan is eligible to participate in Pre-ETS.