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The Role of Education, Community Integration

and Arts Enterprise in Developing


Entrepreneurial Skills in Adolescent At-Risk
Populations
L. Lawrence Riccio
School of Education, Trinity College, Washington, DC, USA
Christopher L. Hannon
George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA

WVSA arts connection, a non-profit arts-in-education organization located in


Washington, DC, serving children and youth with special needs for over 20
1
years, has developed the ARTiculate Employment Training Program , a
community-based learning program that combines arts-based instruction and
a unique environment with the elements of education, community inclusion,
and enterprise to promote participant achievement in the transition from school
to the world of work. These components form the bases for teaching vocational,
social and entrepreneurial skills. This article focuses on the interaction of these
components and shows how the arts connect with 'real learning' using an
innovative, non-traditional approach - a paradigm-shifting view of employment
and social skills development in relation to youth with special needs.

Introduction
Increasing numbers of educators, parents and students are recognizing that traditional
employment training methods can be unsupportive and at times alienating to youth,
particularly those with special needs. Non-traditional models have proven effective in
promoting student achievement and successful transition from school to the community
and the world of work. WVSA's ARTiculate Employment Training Program, a community
based arts-infused employment training program for youth and young adults with
disabilities, is such a model. The program works with the belief that students who have
difficulty learning, processing information, and/or demonstrating knowledge through
traditional methods may be more successful using the arts as a vehicle for gaining and
cultivating the social and vocational skills needed to transition successfully from school
to the 'future' (Riccio, 2001).
The employment training program is funded by public schools, state health or
employment departments, and grants from private foundations or government agencies.
A portion of the sales from participants' artwork is also a source of program funding,
with yearly sales averaging $60,000 and growing.

Transition Services Defined


Transition can be defined as the passage from one state, stage, or place to another;
movement, development, or an evolution from one form, stage, or style to another.
Historically in the United States, transition services designed for youth with special
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CITIZENSHIP, SOCIAL AND ECONOMICS EDUCATION Vol. 5, No. 3, 2003

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Education, Community Integration and Arts Enterprise 181

needs to prepare them for living productive lives after leaving the secondary school
system, have been limited. The introduction of the Individuals with Disabilities Education
Act (IDEA) in 1990 and its previous formats (i.e. Education of the Handicapped Act)
served as a direct solution to this problem. IDEA, in part, was created to guarantee that
all children and youth with disabilities are provided free and appropriate public education
encompassing special education and related services that will assist in their movement
from school to independent living, work or further education (Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act, 1997).

The Individual: The ARTiculate Program Participant


The typical program participant attends a public school (a municipally run school)
that provides transition services that may not speak to each student's needs, thus failing
to cater to all learning styles. Participants range in age from 14 to 25 years and are
predominantly African American and Latino. Many live in the most underserved and
poorest areas in Washington, DC, with a single caretaker, most often an older female
relative. Others live in residential facilities or are in foster care.Very few reside with both
biological parents. Special needs have included learning disabilities, emotional disorders,
cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and schizophrenia. Most participants are
simultaneously involved in individual, group, or family therapy. Levels of self-esteem
tend to be low and most need one-on-one guided attention. Participants rarely are
involved in extracurricular school activities such as sports or clubs and are often viewed
as operating outside of their peers' social arena.

Multiple Intelligences a n d the Arts: A C o m p l e m e n t i n g Pair


The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 1983; 1993) proposes that there exists
multiple ways in which people view and understand the world around them and that
there are multiple ways of learning and knowing. The program philosophy is based on
the affirmation and use of the multiple intelligences of its participants, subscribing to the
belief that we all learn differently and that success is obtainable if programming is tailored
for each participant. It works therefore to develop multiple learning/teaching
opportunities: linguistic, mathematical, body kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal skills,
intrapersonal skills, spatial skills, and naturalistic.
The arts provide an excellent avenue to cultivate multiple intelligences and ultimately
develop new talents, increase self-esteem, enhance social and employment-related skills,
and enjoy mainstream community, cultural, and educational activities. The arts promote
'real -based' learning and learning by doing.

The Program Environment


A positive, supportive, unique environment plays a significant role in learning,
particularly in relation to youth, and such elements as space, acoustics, lighting, instructor
behavior, and peer group dynamics affect performance. Therefore, the physical and
social environments of the program have been carefully designed to promote learning
through hands-on experience and community inclusion and support. The environment
(both physical and social) ultimately assists in participant expression and skill development.
The program, as well as the WVSA arts connection office areas and several other
programs (e.g. the School for Arts in Learning, a public elementary charter school) and
182 Citizenship, Social and Economics Education

staff overseen by the umbrella organization, is housed in the center of the Washington,
DC, business district. The non-traditional 'school/employment training' setting includes
a gallery with display space rivaling that of any other in the downtown area and an
adjoining art studio, one of four located throughout the building.
The gallery, dedicated solely to the display of program participants' artwork, houses
the gallery curator's office space and is listed as a 'must see' local Washington, DC, site.
Notice of opening receptions, during which participants sell and promote their artwork,
regularly appear in area newspapers and periodicals and have attracted hundreds of
community patrons.
Studio spaces consist of accessible art tables; a technology-learning center including
computers with Internet access, printers and scanners; and a framing work area. The
fully functioning spaces are designed to engage the participants in all aspects of product
production.
The participants are encouraged to develop meaningful relationships extending from
within the art studios and the gallery (with youth co-workers and program staff) to
throughout the building, creating bonds with the administrative, artistic, and support
staff, and visitors alike.

The ARTiculate Model


The ARTiculate program strives to create a vocational learning environment that
allows participants to learn the basic skills applicable to real-life situations and proceed
at a rate that is achievable for them (making no unfair comparisons with the progress of
others); assures positive reinforcement; and provides curriculum, instruction, and
assessment procedures that reflect the many different ways individuals learn and process
information (Teele, 1994).
As visually represented in Figure 1, the program is able to individually address the
needs of each program participant by combining an arts-based curriculum and unique
environment with the elements of Education, Community, and Enterprise.

Figure 1 The ARTiculate model of interlocking elements


Education, Community Integration and Arts Enterprise 183

Each interlocking element brings a new dimension to the program and all work in
unison to fulfill the goal of social skills building and vocational achievement through the
arts. The basic elements of Education, Community, and Enterprise are further broken
down in Figure 2. Each element is explored further in the following sections.

Figure 2 Program Elements

Education
The program strives to educate its participants by guiding them in the exploration of
themselves to ultimately reveal their skills, talents, and aspirations. Each participant is
thought to be capable of learning and achieving success. The intelligences of all are
appreciated and honed.
Arts as a learning tool
The arts, considered an 'intelligence fair' tool that can be used to cultivate many ways
of thinking and learning (Gardner, 1993), are the core of the program's curriculum. The
philosophy is based on the premise that the arts provide an excellent avenue for all
individuals to develop new talents, increase self-esteem, enhance social and employment-
related skills, and enjoy mainstream community, cultural, and educational activities. The
arts strengthen learning by actively involving participants, and work to provide new
perspectives, to permit trying out different options, engage the whole person, teach
participants skills for working together to manage conflict, and offer alternative ways to
communicate.
Many studies have shown that marketable skills can be developed through an interest
in or talent for the arts. Eisner (1998) reports: 'The arts foster an awareness that problems
can have multiple solutions and questions multiple answers - that good things can be
done in different ways'.
For many individuals, the arts may be the ideal way not only to teach this kind of
multi-dimensional problem-solving, but also to teach individuals to take pride in
approaching challenges in unique ways. An arts curriculum designed in particular for
participants with diverse learning styles advances individual expression, creative problem-
solving, and flexible thinking (Riccio & Eaton, 1995).
Curriculum
Through the program's training format, program participants work a minimum of
six hours each week during the school year and eight hours per day each week during
the summer in designated studios with a staff consisting of artist instructors, artist
184 Citizenship, Social and Economics Education

assistants, gallery staff, an independent living/social skills instructor, and a vocational


instructor. Specific skill development includes, but is not limited to, understanding the
importance of and engaging in regular attendance, understanding and engaging in
interpersonal communication, working within a group, meeting deadlines, understanding
the creative process, and career exploration/development.
The program provides participants with training in three discrete skill areas: applied
and fine arts, social skills, and employment readiness. The program's goal is to move the
participant forward on the continuum of skills needed to live and work independently in
their community as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3 Continuum of Skills

Applied and fine arts training


Participants are taught to explore applied and fine arts as a means of providing a
lifelong tool for self-expression and self-awareness. Instructors teach participants how
to mix and vary color tones with acrylic paints, mix watercolors according to the effect
wanted, and produce two- and three-dimensional pieces. Participants also are exposed
to arts-based information technology skills, as a way to foster an awareness of
information technology by developing new skills needed to function in a hi-tech society.
Participants learn basic computer skills as well as how to operate digital cameras, digital
scanners, and digital imaging software.
Social and life skills training
The program provides an environmental and instructional context through which an
individual develops self-respect and self-esteem and respect for staff, colleagues, and
equipment. The staff stress the importance of self-determination and making choices
and decisions regarding quality of life. The significance of appropriate 'workplace' /studio
language, attire, and etiquette are also reinforced. Various role-playing activities give
participants the opportunity to further develop interpersonal communication skills.
Employment readiness training
Upon entering the program, participants complete inventories that are used in the
exploration of their career interests and to identify their unique strengths, talents and
aspirations. Program staff focus on five phases of career development that run along the
continuum of skills needed to compete in a global economy taking into consideration
each participant's interests and abilities. The phases outlined in Table 1 include awareness
of self, career preparation, awareness of the world, career exploration and employment.
Career development is not seen as an event, but as a multi-faceted process. Consequently,
true career development is neither linear nor circular in development. It is more web-
like, in that one will begin the career development process at any point along the
continuum and will move to the next most appropriate phase, depending solely on one's
distinct and personal needs.
Education, Community Integration and Arts Enterprise 185

Five Phases of Career Development

Career Development

Process Description

1. Awareness of Self • Identifying o n e ' s unique strengths, talents,


aspirations, career and o t h e r life i n t e r e s t s ,
preferences, dreams, limitations and needs for
support.

2. Career Preparation • Taking advantage of experiences that will give one


skills, knowledge and attitudes related to specific
career interests;
• Expanding one's network of contacts (people
familiar with one's field of interest);
• Striving to do one's best;
• Taking into consideration the relevance of one's life
interests.

3. Awareness of the • Having basic k n o w l e d g e of other cultures,


World subcultures and the vast range of ways groups of
people live;
• Understanding the spectrum of occupational areas
that exists in the United States and the global
economy;
• Understanding the range of occupational areas
within one's own community.

4. Career Exploration • Identifying at least three career interest areas;


• Becoming exposed to things that catch one's interests
- and exploring these areas in more detail (including
leisure time pursuits, hobbies, jobs, current events
etc.);
• Developing hands-on experience in one's area(s)
of interest.

5. Employment • Listing all of the jobs, both paid and unpaid, one
has had in a lifetime - from childhood to the present;
• Understanding the positive and negative experiences
learned from previous employment situations;
• Becoming aware of how each experience has an
impact on one's current employment situation, i.e.
awareness of oneself; understanding the work world;
preparing for a career.

Table 1 Five phases of career development

1 Awareness of self
Awareness of self is the first step in social independence, communal interdependence,
community inclusion and employment readiness. Self-identity, along with self-regulation
to societal norms, makes community inclusion all the more demanding. Through a
series of written and verbal interest inventories administered by the vocational
coordinator, participants explore their hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Participants also
formulate a positive personal profile, one that delineates the participant's strengths,
186 Citizenship, Social and Economics Education

short- and long-term goals, self-determination skills and strategies for success. These
interest exercises, in conjunction with formal and informal assessments, help develop,
cultivate and nurture a greater understanding of self. Participants are then encouraged
to express their hopes, dreams and aspirations through their artwork. They are
encouraged to find their identity through artistic expression and share that identity with
their peers, families and community. Participants also are encouraged to work
collaboratively, experiencing first hand the value of communal interdependence.
2 Career preparation
The training program provides participants with opportunities to display the knowledge,
skills and attitudes gained through the program at six annual gallery openings that display
participants' artwork to the general public. Gallery openings give participants the opportunity
to interact with new people, discuss their original creations, sell their artwork, establish
networking resources and put into application the social skills that the program stresses.
3 Awareness of world
Program staff schedule group discussion sessions throughout the year with the
objective of exposing participants to other cultures and world views. Ultimately,
participants learn about the global community and how they fit within it.
4 Career exploration
Participants are encouraged to understand a range of occupations and develop hands-
on experience. All participants are encouraged to take advantage of arranged inclusive job-
shadowing experiences that will afford them skills, knowledge and attitudes related to
specific career interests. Job-shadowing opportunities include working in the gallery greeting
patrons, writing sales receipts, working with WVSA's receptionist answering phones, faxing
materials and working with the director of technology on various tasks such as installing
software, trouble-shooting technical problems and working on hardware solutions.
5 Employment
Participants are guided through employment history exercises during which they are
expected to reflect on past employment experiences and the knowledge gained from
each. Program staff use the information gathered to pair participants with appropriate
community employers outside of the program. Periodically, staff take part in site visits
monitoring the participants' performance by observation and interviewing employers.

Assessment Tools
The assessment tools, designed specifically for the ARTiculate Employment Training
Program and outlined in Table 2, are used to define a participant's needs upon entering
the program and as benchmarks for progress made at intervals. Assessment tools yield
literacy levels, knowledge of community and life skills, vocational awareness, as well as
artistic aptitude. Assessment information is used by the teaching staff to formulate
individual lesson plans adapted to the specific needs of each participant.

Community
The physical community (people, buildings etc.) surrounding the employment training
program is a place of learning that reinforces the principles of self-regulation, communal
interdependence and the employment readiness skills needed to succeed.
Education, Community Integration and Arts Enterprise 187

A s s e s s m e n t Tools

Title Description Timeline

Pre-Assessment Used to assess a potential During an intake interview, the


Tool applicant's interest and basic Employment Training Program
skills. co-ordinator informally assesses
variables such as attitude,
motivation and concentration.

Arts Preparedness Used to assess a participant's Given during the participant's


Tool knowledge of arts materials, first two weeks in the program,
terms, shapes and colors. answers lead to an individual's
present level of performance.

Social Skills Converts each participant's Given during the participant's


Assessment Tool present level of social skills first month in the program,
performance into a personal answers lead to an individual's
plan of action and is fed into the present level of perfonnance
Individual Participant Objective and specific transition goals and
Plan (IPOP). objectives.

Vocational Skills Converts each participant's level Given during the participant's
Assessment Tool of employment skills into a first month in the program,
personal plan of action and is answers lead to an individual's
fed into the Individual present level of performance
Participant Objective Plan and specific transition goals and
(IPOP). objectives.

Individual Driving document that provides Created within the first two
Participant a point of reference in training weeks of a participant's entrance
Objective Plan each participant in social, into the program, revisited by
(IPOP) independent living and the program co-ordinator and
employability skills. support staff regularly.

Classroom Used to keep a daily record of Used daily, discussed at weekly


Dynamics Log an individual's participation in staff meetings.
(CDL) the Emplyment Training
Program. Vocational instructors
use the CDLs to keep track of
each participant's progress and
continued areas of need.

Participant The Participant Feedback Form Given during the last two weeks
Feedback Form affords each participant an of the programme/session.
opportunity to voice his/her
opinion about program
strengths and areas of need.

Table 2 P r o g r a m m e A s s e s s m e n t Tools

Community resources
The emphasis on experiencing the community extends into the community at large.
The city has become the program's 'living teaching tool'. Participants engage in many
field trips throughout the year, for example visiting local art galleries, local community
organizations and business offices. Excursions are frequently related to upcoming gallery
188 Citizenship, Social and Economics Education

opening/reception themes. For instance, participants may travel throughout the city
visiting historical sites. The participants take tablets and drawing tools with them to
sketch their impressions of the community excursion with the aim of producing artwork
in the studio that will be displayed at the next scheduled exhibit opening.
The program also partners with schools, organizations and businesses. For example,
the program has partnered with a non-profit organization committed to training and
matching successful adult mentors with program participants, and participants have
created artwork at the request of community leaders to be displayed throughout the
city.
Community inclusion
Participants enrolled in the program come from all over the city; however, most do
not view the downtown business district as part of their community. To most participants,
the downtown area is some place distant, unfamiliar, and foreign. The location of the
program, in the center of the business district three blocks north of the White House,
fosters an awareness of this area and allows the program participants to not only learn
about the place in which they live but develop a sense of pride in their community.
The program's location also assists participants in gaining necessary skills. In an effort
to attend the program, most participants must access the public rail and/or bus system,
enhancing community integration while fostering travel training.
Participants also take part in community-mapping exercises, where they are given a
map and are required to visit local businesses to inquire about what services the business
provides and the possible employment opportunities. These exercises encourage
participants to go into the community, explore and learn about real world applications of
social, employment and interpersonal skills.
Other community inclusion exercises include discussions facilitated by program staff
relating to citizenship, e.g. cleaning up local parks and painting murals in public spaces.
These experiences reinforce the taught principles of self-regulation, social independence,
communal interdependence, community inclusion and employment readiness.
Parent/Guardian involvement
Although community participation is valued in the development of each participant,
parental and/or guardian involvement is an essential factor in a program participant's
success. While parent participation in public schools remains low (Henig et al, 1999) the
program works to combat this by providing services for the entire family. Parents and
guardians are offered training sessions in areas such as transition, advocacy and building
self-determination skills in their children. They are encouraged to participate in the
WVSA-sponsored program ImPACT (Imagine Parents and Artists Creatively Talking).
ImPACT assists parents, guardians and youth to develop communication skills by using
the arts as a tool. The service works to build multiple levels of protective factors against
school failure, violence, delinquency and substance abuse through bi-weekly 2½-hour
sessions that include a family meal and family participation in arts experiences.

Enterprise
The collaboration between enterprise and education is not a new strategy as exemplified
by programs within the United States and abroad. Enterprise education in the US has
been in existence since the close of World War I.The decade of the 1990s brought about
Education, Community Integration and Arts Enterprise 189

significant change in the perception of enterprise and education as a national conscience


emerged that the US had a serious deficiency in the system by which youth obtain
needed skills to move from the school world to the world of work (Barton, 1993).
Today's working climate has been characterized as the 'third wave' of the industrial
revolution, with the first and second being steam and the assembly line, and this wave
mandates students acquire a 'new set of skills to survive economically, politically and
socially' (Krieg et al., 1995).
In stark contrast to the needs of the American workforce, the US General Accounting
Office found that American youth were poorly prepared for entry-level work due to
poor academic preparation, limited career guidance and virtually no workplace experience
(US General Accounting Office, 1993). This fact is not lost on American employers who
work to bridge the gap between the needs of the market and the skills the American
labor market possess, as it is estimated that US organizations spent approximately $60
billion on formal training in 1997, up from $43.2 billion in 1991 and up approximately
five percent from 1996 (Industry Report, 1997).
The School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994 established national guidelines for
states to design and implement a broad range of public school activities with the intended
outcomes of addressing the documented problems in transitioning youth from secondary
to post-secondary options such as career indecision; lack of consistent career plans;
irrelevancy of secondary curriculum to post-secondary education training and
employment; and lack of entry-level job skills (Griffith, 2001).
A source for many components of American work-based educational programs can
be found in European models that focus upon significant co-ordination between
employers, school, labor and government; integration of school- and work-based learning
experiences; broadly recognized certification of academic and occupational skill mastery;
and high-skill, high-wage career routes that do not require a bachelor's degree (Smith,
1997).
Common to work-based employment programs in Europe and America is that
evaluation and assessment is critical to informing the development process, assessing
program impact and maintaining support for innovation (Smith, 1997).
Entrepreneurship
Although the term 'entrepreneurship' is used primarily in the US and Canada, as
opposed to the term of 'enterprise' as used in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, the
ARTiculate program's entrepreneurship component is very much in line with European
models of enterprise education. The common thread is bringing about a cultural change
toward more enterprising, self-directed and innovative attitudes towards work and
personal life management (Vento-Vierikko &Varis, 1998). The goal of ARTiculate's
entrepreneurship education is not necessarily to channel program participants into artistic
entrepreneur ventures, but to focus the training upon personal attributes that are essential
to being a viable contributor in a global economy.
All program participants are responsible for their learning pace and style of expression.
Participants are given the responsibility to self-monitor and regulate their behavior and
to fulfill the requirements of the program. They are required to sign contracts to enter
the program and treat the program as their job. These contracts set forth the requirements
of attendance, behavior, expected outcomes and commissions for artwork sold. The
program is run as an entrepreneurial enterprise where there is a direct correlation
190 Citizenship, Social and Economics Education

between effort given by the participant and numbers of items created by the participant
displayed in the gallery for sale.
An important element of the program is to allow participants the independence to
make their own decisions regarding pace, style and medium of artwork to be offered for
sale to the gallery curator and later to the retail customer, which requires participants to
bear the consequences of their decisions. Artist instructors offer suggestions to the
participants and are there to provide professional input if needed but the participant has
the final approval on what will be created. If the artwork does not fit in with the theme
of the next gallery show, or it is not appropriate for display, the participant must bear the
consequences that the artwork will not be displayed and has no chance of being sold.
Hence, the entrepreneur (participant) can either adapt to the market trend and consumer
needs (gallery curator) or the entrepreneur can create a product that is not in demand by
the consumer market. If the artwork is 'sold' (accepted for display in the gallery) to the
consumer (gallery curator), there is still no guarantee that the artwork will sell in the
gallery to the general public and a commission will be earned by the participant. This
technique is often referred to as learning under conditions of uncertainty. In the American
educational context it is called self-determination, or making your own decisions and
bearing the consequences of those decisions. The entrepreneurial training focuses upon
developing participant's decision-making skills.

Hands-On Experience
The gallery plays an integral role in the ARTiculate Employment Training Program.
Not only is it a place to display and sell the participants' artwork, but it is also a training
site for entrepreneurial and enterprise skills. Participants job-shadow the gallery curator
to learn the vital skills of marketing, framing, presentation, customer relations and how
to consummate a sale (price decision, generate sales receipt, credit card/debit transaction
etc).
The gallery has six annual shows exhibiting the art produced by the participants. The
artwork created for each show focuses on a particular theme (e.g. Valentine's Day;
springtime; the holidays). Each participant must interview with the gallery curator before
their artwork will be selected for upcoming exhibits. There is a limited amount of display
space available in the gallery and the participants are very competitive in getting their
artwork displayed. These gallery interviews help participants refine their interviewing,
presentation, interpersonal and marketing skills while simulating a real work environment.
Participants are represented in the gallery opening through paintings, two- and three-
dimensional pieces or original greeting cards. However, the amount of artwork
represented in the gallery for each participant is directly tied to his or her effort and
dedication. The participants' reality is based on performance outcomes and successful
completion of the gallery interview.
Each gallery show opens with a reception for 125-150 attendees, which is essential to
the overall success of the program, giving participants the opportunity to share their
creations with, and potentially sell them to, the public. For every piece a participant sells,
he or she receives a commission. During these receptions, the participants have the
opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, skills and attitudes gained while in the program.
The interpersonal interaction fosters a strong artist-patron relationship and, since many
of our participants have a distinct artistic style and personality, they have developed quite
Education, Community Integration and Arts Enterprise 191

a following among patrons of the gallery. As a result, a number of patrons have


commissioned original artworks by their favorite artists.
The participants are expected to co-host each exhibit opening. Examples of work
they might engage in include:
• distributing invitations to the public;
• greeting gallery patrons (eye contact, talk clearly and slowly, lead the patron to
their artwork and explain the relevance of the work to the patron);
• replenishing ice or food items;
• helping with the sale of the art;
• cleaning up at the end of the evening.
Essentially, the gallery opening is an evaluation of progress.The staff stand back and
let the participants shine in the light of their success. The day following the gallery
openings, the staff meet to critique the participant's performance, discuss strengths and
areas of need and refine the skills training as needed. The whole process of education,
community integration and enterprise starts again leading up to the next gallery opening.

Community Business Links


The program has a business advisory board that meets quarterly to discuss the needs
of the local business community; how to effectively transfer those needs to the vocational
curriculum of the program; and opportunities for job-shadowing, internships and part-
time job placement for program participants.
All advisory board members agree to hire at least one participant during the course of
the program year and all members agree to allow the program to use their worksites as
inclusive job-shadowing opportunities. Staff recruit business partners from a variety of
sectors (for-profit, non-profit, educational, technology, etc.) to give the participants a
well-rounded exposure to diverse workplaces. Program staff also attend on-site training
sessions hosted by members of the advisory board to gain a better sense of the business
needs and skills required by program participants who may ultimately be matched with
the employer.

Program Graduates, Post ARTiculate


The ARTiculate program tracks participants who have exited the program with follow-
up meetings and interviews with parents/guardians, schools, social service providers
and employers at three-monthly intervals to gauge the success of former participants in
the community setting. Training and program delivery is refined in conjunction with
information garnered through these follow-up activities.
The employment and educational outcomes for program graduates reflect the various
levels of disabilities they present. Some graduates are employed at stores, restaurants or
other local businesses, others work in community organizations or government agencies.
One former participant is a District of Columbia firefighter. This year five program
graduates will be attending college.
With feedback generated by the participants and those who provide care for them,
the program continues to learn and grow from its experiences and provide programming
that develops the whole person, incorporating all of the participant's special talents and
special skills.
192 Citizenship, Social and Economics Education

Conclusion
The ARTiculate Employment Training Program functions to provide for its at-risk
youth participants with special needs the necessary skills to become productive citizens
and workers in an ever-changing global community setting. The program's emphasis
on the intermingling of the arts, the environment, education, community integration
and enterprise has proved to be successful by working collectively to instill social, self-
determination and employment readiness skills in youth.

Correspondence
Any correspondence should be directed to Prof L. Lawrence Riccio, School of
Education,Trinity College, Washington, DC 20017, USA (E-mail: lriccio @trinitydc.edu).

Note
1. For more information about the ARTiculate Employment Training Program or WVSA
arts connection, visit www.wvsarts.org.

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