D117 & Local Businesses Join Forces to Benefit Transition Students

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District 117 Administration and Walgreens Management Team. Left to Right; Dr. Tanya Branch, Tonya (Asst. Mngr), Cristie (Mngr), Dr. Jeff Feucht, Christine Gialo, Andrew Seketa

CHSD117: Transition Services

Spring is a time for celebrating in District 117! While most of our celebrations over these spring months are focused on our students, we also take time to recognize our community partners who provide opportunities for our students beyond the walls of our facilities. During April and May, the Community High School District 117 Transition Services Department is celebrating the community partners that enable high quality, work-based learning for students. 

The Transition Services Department is responsible for ensuring that students leave high school prepared to reach their fullest potential, specifically in the areas of employment and independent living. For some students, this includes vocational training following high school coursework from ages 18-22. This year, the program supports 11 students, pairing them with local businesses to learn about workplace expectations, customer interactions, and being a positive co-worker. 

The work-based learning program has been operated by the Transition Services department since 2016. While Community High School District 117 is appreciative of all its partners, both past and present, the district looked to pay special recognition to four of our active, long standing partners. These include Walgreens of Antioch, Piggly Wiggly of Antioch, Antioch Pizza (Rt. 59 Branch), and Daisy’s Artish Cafe of Lake Villa. Through partnership with the program, both Walgreens and Piggly Wiggly have converted students to employees on their teams. 

I recently had the opportunity to join the leaders of this program in a visit to each site to deliver a special plaque as a token of gratitude and appreciation for their continued support of students and staff. During these conversations, I was especially impressed by how well the business leaders had gotten to know our students and the care they showed for always finding new opportunities for them to learn and grow as employees.

As we drove around to our visits, I asked the staff members who make the program possible to share some quotes that we include in this article for Connections readers. Andrew Seketa, District Transition Services Coordinator said “We couldn’t do it without the businesses. The authentic, hands-on experience is something you just can’t replicate in a classroom”. Christine Gialo, District Vocational Facilitator said “We really appreciate the partnership. They’re so supportive of our program, and the students learn a lot from the experience”.

Looking to get involved? The Transition Services Department is always working to expand opportunities for students – whether a facility tour, student partnership, or as a guest speaker. To learn more about Transition Services community partner opportunities, please call (847) 395-9097. We are so proud to partner with community businesses who provide opportunities for our students!