“I noticed he has gone from being a kid, to thinking about adult things,” remarked Dale, father of recent Construction 101 graduate, Jonas.
A 2018 Champlain Valley Union High School graduate, Jonas enjoyed working with his hands but had no idea what career he wanted to work in. As someone with high-functioning autism, Jonas prioritizes hands-on learning experiences, and his experience in Construction 101 has taught him worksite safety, tool usages, and building construction. Working on projects from scratch to finish, has helped Jonas feel a sense of pride and confidence.
Dale and Joanne, Jonas’s mother, are taking note of Jonas’s growth. “Jonas is shining a little bit now. He’s realizing what a 9-5 job entails. It [Construction 101] raised his maturity level…He’s speaking about his future a lot more now.”
As part of the program’s on-the-job experience component, Jonas job shadowed under Matt Peck, owner of Haven Mechanical, with whom he bonded well and has willingly received career advice from. Social interaction is not typically comfortable for Jonas, but being in class with other students and working alongside Matt, has helped him to open up.
Joanne noted, “It [Construction 101] is a comradery…Jonas is coming out of his shell a little bit.”
Now that the class is over, Jonas is sad to see it end, but he has found a trade he wants to continue with – plumbing. Dale summed it up this way, “Jonas experienced a taste of different things, [the program] allowed him to find a niche, find that one trade he enjoys.”
While there is no guarantee every student will figure out their path through ReSOURCE programs, there’s no doubt that students can engage in diverse learning settings that enhance their experiences and expand their vision of what may be possible.