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WVU Students Get Hands-On Experience While Helping PACE Enterprises

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The WVU students created a packet with a survey, fact sheet, and more about PACE. The WVU students created a packet with a survey, fact sheet, and more about PACE.

PACE Enterprises in Morgantown provides job opportunities for disabled residents. The organization has trouble getting the word out about it's programs, but West Virginia University is helping.

The WVU School of Journalism has classrooms filled with students learning. One public relations class takes the students outside of the classroom so they can get hands on experience for their future careers.

"All of our hard work is definitely going to help PACE," said Marisa Middleton, a senior WVU Public Relations student. "We're creating materials for them that they can use past May when we leave."

Eight WVU public relations students are working hard to make a better connection between PACE Enterprises and special education teachers at Monongalia County Schools.

"We created an informational folder, we surveyed the teachers to know what they needed to know, what's the problem," said Middleton. "Why aren't they sending their students there? So we researched them and asked them ways and what they wanted to find out."

The research the Public Relations students are doing is all part of their Cap Stone class. PACE Enterprises is happy to have help getting the word out about the services they provide.

"Young people with disabilities, as they transition from the school system into whatever the adult life is going to hold for them, need to know what opportunities and options are available for them," said Bob Pirner, the Director of Development at PACE. "So that they can make decisions about what they're going to do with the rest of their adults lives."

PACE isn't the only one benefiting from this partnership. The WVU students say it's nice to have real world experiences that they will face when they get a job in their careers.

"Definitely helping me with deadlines, my organization, this is the hardest thing I've ever done but it's definitely worth it," said Middleton. "It's a really rewarding experience and I really enjoy that. I know a few of my other friends in different cap stone majors, they're just doing busy work. I like that we're doing something that's going to help the community and hopefully PACE will have an everlasting relationship with these teachers."

The students are planning a teacher field trip to PACE at Mylan Park early next week.

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