The Program for Successful Employment (PSE) at Baton Rouge Community College has signed official partnerships with 12 area businesses where its students will participate in internships as a part of the process towards obtaining valuable employability skills. PSE is a four semester vocational training program for adults, ages 18 to 26, with autism and/or other intellectual disabilities. It combines academic and job skills training with externship opportunities in regional businesses. Businesses are selected based on students' career interests and a mutual vision of empowering those students to overcome challenges in order to maximize success in transitioning into employment and adult life.
The first three official partners to PSE at BRCC are School Time Uniforms, Our Hope Thrift and Donation Center, and ARAMARK at Southern University. School Time Uniforms was the first to host a PSE student, who began as an intern, but has been employed part-time since Sept. 2017. Two PSE students are interns at Our Hope Thrift and Donation Center, and one student is in the process of being hired part time at Burger King in the Smith-Brown Memorial Union at Southern University through PSE's partnership with ARAMARK.
The desired outcome of the partnerships is to cultivate relationships with a variety of businesses across a broad cross-section of industries. That way, internship opportunities will be waiting for PSE students once they complete the preliminary training at Baton Rouge Community College.
Other businesses either hosting interns or scheduled to officially partner with PSE are UFC Gym, Wild Birds Unlimited (Cajun Wild Birds), Shamrox Clothing Boutique, East Baton Rouge Public Library, Gambino's Bakery, Ink On, Knock Knock Children's Museum, Tiger Deaux-nuts, and Hammond Aire Auto Spa.
PSE at BRCC's industry partners are ARC of Baton Rouge, ARC of East Ascension, LRS, Families Helping Families, Gateway Transitions, State Independent Living Council, LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, Capital Area Services, and East Baton Rouge Parish Schools.
The Program for Successful Employment at Baton Rouge Community College admits students into the four semester, two year program through cohorts. Each cohort occupies a time slot during the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students are evaluated as both students and prospective employees. Upon completion, graduates receive a PSE Certificate of Employability with a specific concentration based on their career goals. In order to be considered for admission into PSE, prospective students must be between the ages of 18 and 26 with a documented diagnosis of an intellectual disability and/or autism, have completed a high school or learning resource program, read at or above a fourth grade reading level, and meet other interaction related requirements as noted on the admissions application.
PSE at BRCC began in February of 2017 with seven students of which six have been placed with paid employment or internship opportunities at local businesses.