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C’aron Jackson is a student at The Children’s Guild Baltimore involved in the Independence Academy program. Independence Academy offers vocational opportunities in digital media, information technology, business and entrepreneurship, and hospitality. The program is available to high school students, allowing them to participate in an internship and learn specific skills that can be transferred to the workforce or a secondary education. C’aron participated in a digital media internship through Independence Academy. Of his experience, C’aron says, “It was challenging. I had to take my time and work through the projects.”

Students learn what kinds of goals to set for their future when they are given the opportunity to experience new things and explore their options. This is especially important at The Children’s Guild Schools of Baltimore and Prince George’s County, which educate and provide clinical services to students with emotional and behavioral disabilities and to students who are on the autism spectrum. These students often take alternative paths in their education.

“College is not for everyone,” says KaMyka Glenn, M.Ed., the transition coordinator for The Children’s Guild School of Baltimore. “Some young people go directly into the workforce, while others need a little more training and coaching in order to be independent and successful in life after high school.” The Children’s Guild recognizes that some students are lacking in job skills and not prepared for post-secondary life. Independence Academy is a program that was created to bridge this gap and expand students’ horizons to what is possible.

Independence Academy offers vocational opportunities in digital media, information technology, business and entrepreneurship, and hospitality and is available to high school students during school hours. Students participate in an internship and learn specific skill sets that can be transferred to the workforce or a secondary education. They gain hands-on training and real-life work experiences in a supportive environment with coaching from The Children’s Guild’s team of professional. Mrs. Glenn says, “It is a valuable opportunity for students to develop the awareness and professionalism needed to transition into the workforce.”

“It was challenging,” says C’aron Jackson about his experience in Independence Academy. A rising senior at The Children’s Guild School of Baltimore, C’aron participated in a digital media internship. “I realized I had to take my time and work through the projects, which is hard for me to do. I gained a lot of patience.” C’aron aspires to one day become a professional photographer. He describes himself as naturally very quiet, so he appreciated how the internship encouraged him to be more social. He says, “I liked everything about it and look forward to being in Independence Academy again this year.”