Vocational Exploration class meets every Wednesday from 9:00 to 1:00 and includes a lunch outing in the community. This class gives first year students a chance to work in the community in a volunteer capacity. Students explore vocational interests, build work skills, and practice social skills in a work environment.
This year, we are partnering with Dakin Humane Society in Springfield, MA and Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Pantry in South Hadley, MA. Vocational Exploration student groups alternate between these two sites weekly. At Dakin, students volunteer in the animal food bank area of the building, where they measure and sort dry animal food into gallon-sized bags for distribution to members of the community who are unable to leave their homes and provide food for their animals. When students work at the local food pantry, they work alongside other community members to identify expiration dates on dried and canned food items and code them appropriately. Additionally, students sort and store food items and help to bag food orders for community families in need.
First and second year students gain the confidence and skills they need to obtain employment through participation in group vocation classes and fieldwork experiences out in the community. These opportunities allow each individual to explore different avenues, including both music vocation and general vocation. Additionally, students complete vocational assessments to determine their areas of interest, value and skill. Once students have demonstrated readiness and/or upon completion of the core coursework, our Vocation Department works with students to secure individual paid employment, with the support of a job coach. Students work in a variety of fields, including, but not limited to: food service, child care, pet care, office work, grocery stores, and individual music management (securing gigs, website creation, publishing of CD’s).
MUSIC & HUMAN SERVICE
The MHS Second Year Seminar is a pre-vocation skill development course that uses music based experiences for learning and practicing basic, transferable work skills. There are four basic content areas of study with particular focus on creating and managing success in the workplace environment: Social Skills; Music and Activity Skills; Communication Skills; and Organization Skills.
Students enrolled in this second year section will meet 10 hours per week and work together as a team to create and offer music and music related programs to older adults in various nursing home settings, one time per week. The combination of classroom activities plus the practical application of those learned skills at fieldwork help to solidify fundamental and transferable work skills. Rehearsal, role-play, self -critique, peer critique, group work and individual work will all be a part of this seminar experience.
Students who have completed the Two Year Certificate program and have demonstrated musical aptitude that lends itself to performing in the community have the opportunity to pursue music vocation. BHMA offers group music vocation via the Performance Troupe and the Music & Human Service LIVE Band. Both of these groups dedicate time to practicing their trade and performing at a wide variety of gigs. Students also have the option of pursuing individual music management, which supports the students to establish solo music careers via: music identity development, website development, CD recording/production, gig support, music marketing, and other work tied to the individual's goals.