The Bethlehem Area School District's STEPS (Site Training Employment Program and Services) Program is a unique program with multiple levels and supports designed to help students of varying ability levels attain the skills needed for gainful employment through authentic experiences across settings and culminate with them receiving paid employment in the community upon graduation.
Overall Description and Mission
This is an overall description of the complete STEPS Program from STEPS 1 through STEPS 3.
STEPS I offers students an in school closely supervised first work experience. The students work individually and as a team to perform real components of various jobs around a school. These may include attendance collection, office deliveries, materials handling, copying and collating. The students are exposed to many hands on task and then as a class prepare for community employment standards. Focuses include attitude, attendance, rate and accuracy and understanding why employment is a desired school outcome. STEPS I is offered 1 block a day across the school year.
STEPS 2 - Coffee Shop
Check out these videos to learn more about the FHS Coffee Shop STEPS/Business Program.
STEPS Expansion provides students direct instruction in social skills, anger control and moral reasoning while focusing on building the community of the classroom through relationships. The focus of this classroom is working to develop the interpersonal skills required for work in a structured environment that will prepare students for the expectations of an employer. Up to twice a week the students participate in community service where they interact with members of the community and practice the interpersonal skills they have been taught in class.
STEPS II - Community Experience
STEPS II, the second level of the program provides a curriculum that is community based. It is built on the premise that students need to be instructed in appropriate work behaviors while volunteering their time and talents in the natural community settings. The student's focus on learn skills that will transfer to success in all employment fields after graduation. The Bethlehem community NCC, Country Meadows, Shoprite and Hotel Bethlehem have partnered with the school district for many years in providing career exploration opportunities. This partnership offers the students first hand knowledge of careers in various employment sites for job shadowing and hand on participation. STEPS II has a classroom component that addresses vocational documentation requirements, problem solving, and self evaluation relating to the participants work experiences. This program is a win-win for the community and the students. STEPS II is scheduled two blocks per day for the student’s junior year.
STEPS III - Competitive Employment
STEPS III is a culminating or capstone experience that takes the students out into the real workforce using a job coaching model. It requires a close partnership between student, family, school and community. Scheduling involves all of these parties to make sure the students academic needs are met as are the employers staffing needs. This student centered approach transitions the learner from school into a long-term job possibility with all of the ancillary benefits and challenges. The student has to make decisions on their chosen career path, develop and interview for a job as well as consider transportation, budgeting, and benefits as part of their plan. The goal is competitive long-term employment. We have found this challenge results in additional benefit of lower drop out rates, improved grades in academic classes and increased attendance. The student is truly a self-directed learner with supports from the school. Our goal is well trained, productive, competitively employed young adult ready for post high school opportunities. We have found the STEPS program delivers on the objective.