Dawnisha Fisher is still in high school, but is already working and getting paid in the field she will one day be employed in fulltime.
A partnership between Lima Senior High School and Ohio Means Jobs has placed Fisher at Unity Elementary School, where she works several days a week as a paraprofessional in a kindergarten classroom.
“It’s been good,” said the senior in Lima Senior’s early childhood education program. “I really like working with kids and helping younger people. I really like how when I come into the classroom and they are so happy to see me.”
Ohio Means Job is very present in Fisher’s life right now and will continue to be for another year. The program offers a variety of supports including purchasing work clothing, transportation if needed and other kinds of guidance and help.
“They will follow her for a year after she graduates offering her support,” Lima Senior early childhood education teacher Tina Hamilton-Shoemaker said. “My goal is to get all of my juniors involved next year. They learn more getting that hands-on experience. They really need that.”
Ohio Means Jobs has assisted and found work for five additional early childhood education students. They are at the West Ohio Community Action Partnership and North Middle School.
Fisher started getting important work experience through her Lima Senior class long before being hired at Unity. She spent six weeks earlier this year working with Heritage Elementary School students. She also helped with an after-school program at the Bradfield Community Center.
Fisher was also involved with the Spartan 360 Program, a partnership between Lima Senior, Unity and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Students in the Lima Senior early childhood and patient care programs met with Unity students once a week to mentor, tutor and plan special activities.