Sussex Consortium work program continues to grow

Partnerships help students succeed in real-life job experiences
December 25, 2022

More than 110 Sussex Consortium students now participate in a growing partnership with local businesses that helps them learn the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.

The vocational program helps students with disabilities become independent employees, said Vocational Coordinator Pam Graves. Currently, Consortium students ages 14 to 22 who attend the school on Sweetbriar Road and at Cape High are working at nearly 40 job sites throughout the Cape Region, she said.

Students are placed in jobs that interest them and that also benefit the employer. Job coaches accompany students to the job site and fade into the background as students become more independent over time, Graves said.

“We’re working for them to become completely independent and to get paid,” she said.

Students can now remain in the school until age 22, said Sussex Consortium Assistant Principal Pam Willmot, giving them one more year than they previously had to try a variety of work experiences.

The program provides students with the opportunity to learn valuable skills in custodial, product assembly, food service, retail and business services, clerical and landscaping areas in businesses including the Movies at Midway, Grotto Grand Slam, Bad Hair Day? and Beebe Healthcare.

Supervisor of Special Programs Eileen Baker said a former student who now has a paid job with benefits at Beebe is training Sussex Consortium students on the job site.

“He’s come full circle,” she said, noting Beebe has hired three former students.

In addition to work skills, Baker said students are able to work on their social and conversational skills through interaction with employers. Older students who are independent learn to use public transportation by taking the DART bus to the work site, she said.

Employers benefit from having the students working there because it helps staff focus on other tasks, said Graves, who noted the program is always welcoming new business partners.

For more information about becoming a community partner with the Sussex Consortium, contact Graves at 302-645-7711, Ext. 262124 or

Community partners 

Ace Hardware
Bethany Blues
Bountiful Bowls, Sussex Consortium
Forgotten Mile Ale House
Bad Hair Day? Sussex Consortium
Beebe Healthcare
Buffalo Wild Wings
Cape Henlopen High School
Cape Henlopen School District
Cape Henlopen State Park
Crust & Craft
Delaware Humane Association
Food Bank of Delaware
Grotto’s Grand Slam
JD Shuckers
Jungle Jim’s
Lavender Fields
Lefty’s Alley & Eats
Lewes Public Library
Love Creek Elementary
Matt’s Fish Camp
Midway Fitness
Movies at Midway
New Covenant Presbyterian Church
Nicola Pizza*
Outback Steakhouse
The Pond
Rehoboth Elementary School
Rehoboth Public Library
Southern Delaware Therapeutic Riding
Shell We Bounce
Sussex Consortium
Waves Car Wash
*Tentative start date January 2023


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