The PAY Check Program: A Pathway of Quality Services
The Human Development Center’s Post-Secondary Apprenticeship for Youth (PAY Check) provides transition services for young adults with disabilities by providing comprehensive pathways to quality employment.
Since 2016, PAY Check has supported at least 128 young adults to learn and practice skills necessary for independent and self-determined community participation with a focus on work and career skills. Participants have launched their careers and secured community jobs after completing the PAY Check program.
The secret to PAY Check’s success is the program’s hands-on, individualized services within the community and offered along a pathway. The pathway starts on a postsecondary campus where PAY Check participants enroll in college courses and use this environment as an opportunity for social engagement among peers their age. A Transition Specialist supports PAY Check participants as they successfully explore careers by visiting multiple worksites and working two paid internships. The PAY Check pathway eventually leads to permanent placement with an employer.
Finding a career path is PAY Check’s ultimate goal for each student. PAY Check Director Sue Killam, M.Ed. explains that the sum of meaningful employment is better than the parts, “Providing career pathways for youth in transition that include opportunities to gain skills in the community, receive post-secondary education, and experience employer work sites will prove to be a game-changer in creating meaningful employment opportunities.”
Based on the job exposure available through PAY Check, participants choose for themselves the type of work experience they want at the end of the program. PAY Check’s quality services provide interns with tangible skills they can put on a resume. Most participants land in a career pathway that works best for their priorities and needs.
PAY Check has expanded its services from Orleans and Jefferson parishes to include the Northshore. PAY Check currently has 4 interns working through a program at St. Paul’s high school. Sue Killam looks forward to PAY Check’s future and hopes to expand to other districts such as Tangipahoa and St. Bernard parishes soon!
More from PAY Check
For more information on PAY Check outcomes, see the following poster presented at the AUCD 2021 Virtual Conference entitled “PAY Check: Post-Secondary Services to Support the Transition of Students to Community Life and Careers—A Follow-Up Study”
Also see the article “Post-secondary apprenticeships for youth: Follow-up case studies” published in the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation in 2019.
Meet the new PAY Check interns on the Northshore!
About PAY Check
Postsecondary Apprenticeship for Youth (PAY Check) is an innovative collaboration between the LSUHSC-Human Development Center (HDC), Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS), public school systems, and employers in the New Orleans metro area.
PAY Check is a 3 semester program where students participate in courses at a post-secondary institution, engage in professional career development activities, learn community and work-related skills, and gain employment experience through two 10-week paid internships.