Horizons School in Birmingham, Alabama
A chance meeting after an exercise class led Field Attorney Kathy Chahrouri to a unique opportunity to share the mission of the Agency with students of the Horizons School in Birmingham, Alabama. The HorizonsSchool offers a non-degree postsecondary program specifically designed to facilitate personal, social and career independence for students with mild learning disabilities and other mild handicapping conditions. The school also shares their space with the local community, hosting weekly Zumba classes. It was after one such class in August 2010 that Ms. Chahrouri met Cory Reinkemeyer, the school’s Career Coordinator. During the last year of their program, students attend classes at the school while also working their first jobs out in the community at various offices, hotels, and retail establishments. Upon learning that the school’s classroom curriculum included information about the EEOC and other employment-related agencies and laws to help prepare the students to enter the work place, Ms. Chahrouri offered to assist Mr. Reinkemeyer in modifying the curriculum to include information about the NLRB (Ms. Chahrouri has an undergraduate degree in Special Education). After observing a couple of classroom sessions, and developing a one-hour module on the NLRB following the curriculum format used in the existing classes, Ms. Chahrouri gave a two-part presentation on the NLRB in May 2011. On the first visit, she introduced the Agency, briefly describing its mission and organization. She then conducted an election among the students where they voted between two choices to select the first topic to be presented on the final visit. During this exercise, many of the students experienced their first exposure to the mechanics of participating in a “formal” secret ballot voting process. On the second visit, Ms. Chahrouri gave a one-hour interactive presentation to the students, briefly covering the history of the NLRB, before addressing more practical Agency-related topics for new workers, such as social media policies in the workplace, and the rights and pitfalls of discussing wages with coworkers. The students were very engaged, and their questions led to some animated discussions. Ms. Chahrouri has accepted Mr. Reinkemeyer’s invitation to make this presentation a yearly tradition.