DOWNINGTOWN, PA — The Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the County Cup, a food kiosk run by students in the CCIU’s Discover program. On December 16, current and former employees attended the anniversary event at the CCIU Educational Service Center, where they were offered free coffee and snacks provided by local sponsors. Students who work in the program were on hand to assist with the event and even presented a special gift to the 10th customer.
Anita Riccio, a retired CCIU employee who was involved in the creation of the County Cup, was present at the celebration. “The County Cup was designed as an opportunity for individuals with disabilities to be trained and employed in a customer service industry at a time when those positions were difficult to obtain and maintain. Our cross-divisional team provided opportunities for students and staff across the organization to get involved in designing the logo, preparing food, establishing community partnerships, obtaining licenses and naming the kiosk,” Riccio shared.
Also in attendance was Gary Entrekin, the former Chester County mental health/intellectual and developmental disabilities director. “What I’m most proud of seeing is the students interfacing with people in the community. They are building relationships with people and that is what we wanted with this project,” Entrekin said.
In addition to the Downingtown location, the County Cup has locations at the Chester County Government Services Center, the Technical College High School Pennock’s Bridge campus, Chester County Learning Center and the Chester County Justice Center. All five locations celebrated the 10th anniversary with free coffee for customers.
The Discover program offers students integration of classroom and pre-vocational instruction with on-the-job training. Students with IEPs, between the ages of 16 and 21, are assessed for placement in a group or individual setting within the community. Group work experience varies in length and intensity depending on student ability, past experience and student worker/employer match. Trained evaluators assess students, contact employers to identify appropriate employment opportunities, and provide or coordinate on-the-job coaching and support from the classroom teacher by integrating consumer economics, career awareness, and social responsibilities into the curriculum. The goal of the Discover program is to prepare students for success in the workplace and for independent living.
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