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Learn to Earn Success Stories

The Learn to Earn Pre-ETS (Pre-Employment Transition Services) Internship Program has been growing with students and businesses, as several enrollees recently completed their internships while showcasing remarkable progress. As the program is ending its second cohort, it's evident that the impact of these internships extends far beyond the workplace. Not only are students gaining valuable hands-on experience in diverse fields, but they are also building confidence and independence.

As each internship placement is catered to the student’s interest, one enrollee who completed his 150 hours at the Ocean County Library in Toms River, had a very positive experience.

“I really enjoyed my internship at the library,” Elias Caporino said. “I met new people and learned new skills to help me increase my responsibilities as a young adult.”

Elias also attended multiple workshops throughout the duration of the program which highlighted responsibility, interview practice, self-advocacy and more.

“It was a great experience for me,” he said.

The program offers comprehensive services to students between the ages of 14 and 21 across Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington and Atlantic County. One student from Burlington, who is actively in the midst of her internship, participated in all of the 42 workshop lessons. She credits the workshops to her better understanding of finances, work skills and more.

“I credit the Learn to Earn Pre-ETS Internship Program for my greater understanding of how to manage finances,” Nia Toporowski said. “Also, how to file for federal and state taxation once employed, how to navigate my checking and savings accounts, and how to budget.”

An important piece of the program highlights the onboarding process when employed. As each enrollee is under the Arc of Ocean’s payroll, the program guides and teaches each student on how to properly fill out the needed forms such as a W-4, i9 and more.

Along with finances, the workshops highlight many more topics that Nia found helpful.

“This program has taught me many life skills such as a work life balance, time management, workplace communication and conflict resolution,” she said. “I also have gained valuable knowledge of how to best prepare for job interviews.”

Not only does Learn to Earn have a positive impact on students, but employers as well. Local businesses in the Toms River area have worked with the program since December, like Velting Overhead Door, a garage door repair and replacement company.

“Working with our intern from the Arc [of Ocean] has been an excellent process from day one,” Doug Velting said. “It reminds me coaching little league, where we get to help groom the next generation of service techs.”
With the maximum internship hours of 150, the businesses have the option to hire the student, but that remains completely up to them. A few businesses enjoy meeting multiple interns and hosting them, as others can look to hire once completed with our program.

“We hope to be able to hire our intern full time once he completes the program,” Velting said.