Wednesday, Jul 20, 2016
Berkshire opens doors of student-run thrift shop in Hudson
Berkshire launches a student-run thrift shop Academy Clothing this
month in Hudson, in partnership with the school districts of
Cairo-Durham, Taconic Hills, New Lebanon, and Rensselaer. The shop is part of a plan to implement a jointly acquired
$900,000 workforce development grant that enables member districts to
certify its students work-ready with the Career Development and
Occupational Studies (CDOS) credential. The New York State certified
credential shows employers that students are ready to work and familiar
with the skills essential to thriving in any workplace.
Clothing is a working business in which students with academic and
emotional challenges can practice the skills they learn in class in
Berkshire’s nationally recognized World of Work course. Students drive decisions
a student-run business,” said Jaclynn Wild, School Counselor for
Work-Based Learning Programs at Berkshire. “Which means that students
come up with ideas for the store themselves—spatial arrangement,
organization methods, solving problems—our students contribute so much
to the way we run the store and move this whole project forward.”
Students who work at Academy Clothing can choose between several job
options, including assisting the manager with store operations, sorting
clothing, labeling and hanging clothing, or managing the cash register.
This is a first job for most students at the shop, earning them valuable
experience in retail and customer service as they prepare for the
Since taking on
the thrift shop project, NYS has made the CDOS credential attainable for
all students. This overturns the previous rule that only students with
academic or emotional challenges can achieve the credential and learn
how to work. “It’s all about exploration at this point for our
students,” said Work-Based Learning Job Coach Bert Gamberdella. “Working
at the shop gives them the opportunity to learn about what they want to
do, and what they don’t. They are learning how to communicate with the
public, dress for work, follow steps to complete tasks—all while
reinforcing those skills in the World of Work course.”
the main goals of the store is to expose student employees to elements
found in most retail and customer service settings. This way, they can
discover the kinds of tasks they enjoy, or have no interest in pursuing.
Gamberdella and Wild talk with students about the futures they want and
what they can do to get there.
“Once a student identifies a
goal and a direction, we as advisors can work on getting them to where
they want to be,” said Gamberdella. “You can get a professional network
set up for that student that will help to push them forward in their
careers.” The Work-Based Learning team looks forward to the future of
the store and providing students with even more paid work opportunities.
“I’m excited to see where our students stand next year,” said Wild.
“The group that started with us at the store are already learning,
mentoring new students, and job coaching themselves. It will be exciting
to see them start to coach new students next year.” To donate items to the store or inquire about store hours:
Please contact Maria DeNovio at email@example.com or Jaclynn Wild at firstname.lastname@example.org. —Sydney Lester