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HUSD Workability Program Chosen for 2024 CCEA Plus Exemplary Program Award

HESPERIA, Calif. ( — This year’s California Continuation Education Association Plus Exemplary Program Award Committee selected the Hesperia Unified School District (HUSD) Workability Program as a 2024 CCEA Plus Exemplary Program.

HUSDstudents@work is a comprehensive youth employment initiative within the Hesperia Unified School District, aimed at equipping seniors with essential workforce skills and providing paid work experiences.


The program is led by teacher Werner von der Heide, and instructional assistant, Melissa Larabell and they begin the program with a 12-hour hybrid Work Readiness Class covering job application, resume writing, interview preparation, workplace etiquette, and career planning, followed by up to 225 hours of paid work experience opportunities in the public and private sectors.

The program emphasizes the importance of preparing students for the workforce and also has tailored support for certain student populations, including foster, homeless, English learners, and special education.


The program aims to empower students to achieve academic, personal, and professional success. Notably, over 20 participants have transitioned to unsubsidized employment since its inception in July 2022. 

Mojave High School Principal, Chris Fore, said, “The mission of Mojave High School is to foster life skills to prepare students to become responsible, contributing citizens.  There is no better way to do this than integrating them into the workforce during their high school years. This is precisely the aim of Mr. Von der Heide’s HUSDStudents@Work program. It is truly gratifying to see that the California Continuation Education Association has affirmed its immense value for our youth.”

The Hesperia Unified School District joins the California Continuation Education Association in honoring our workability program. The workability program and staff go above and beyond every day to help our students be successful in school and the workforce. The workability program is a shining example of how HUSD helps prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s world.


Superintendent David Olney said, “I am so very proud of Mojave High School and the amazing staff that have dedicated themselves to providing our students in alternative programs with such incredible opportunities. Again, this is an example of our district’s commitment to ALL students.”

The HUSD Workability Program, along with the other California programs, will be celebrated at the CCEA 2024 Conference that takes place on the weekend of April 25th – 28th, 2024 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel & Convention Center in Burbank, CA.

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