Transition coordinator Christine Noy spoke with the Orange Board of Education last week about a proposal to set up a mock work lab in the district for internal career preparation for students with disabilities. special needs. She is also looking for local businesses to partner with so that students can acquire professional skills.
Ms Noy said at the May 10 meeting that students with an individualized education program have a post-graduation plan, such as going to college, joining the workforce, or spending time on a day program. The simulated work environment, known as the Practical Assessment Exploration System Lab, will open in the former sports offices of Orange High School.
“He uses real tools. Students will do different jobs and they will be timed to competitive standards, ”Ms. Noy said on Monday. “Then all that information will be put into the computer and it generates a report. Students will also report on what interests them. It’s an entry-level way to introduce students to jobs and help students with high needs.
The lab supplies are expected to arrive in June, she said. This simulated work environment has a one-time charge of $ 28,200 and consumables cost around $ 500 per year, Ms. Noy said. Consumables include items that will help students learn job skills, such as wood, fabric, or food, depending on what occupation the students want to practice. She expects three to four students to use the lab at a time. Students at Brady Middle School can also use the space, Ms. Noy said.
“The part that it’s really going to help us with is these professional skills, these pre-employment skills, before you go out into the community,” said Director of Student Support Services Karen Moore. “You work on all of these skills as well as on the assessment.”
She said every student with an individualized education program has a transition page starting at age 14, which outlines their goals after graduation and a plan to achieve them. Pupils with an IEP can stay at Orange high school until the age of 22 as part of the transition program. Ms. Noy’s team determines whether students should continue working on their transition goals.
A student with an IEP, for example, might complete all of the academic requirements for graduation, but the team can say the student still needs to work on transition goals. In this case, the student becomes a “social graduate” and crosses the stage with his class but continues to participate in the bridging program. Ms Noy said she would like the students to have less transportation time so that they can receive as much instruction as possible.
“Our students spend a lot of time on transportation and that bothers me,” she told council members. “These are children with special needs who just sit on buses when we have to use that time for teaching. How can we better connect to our community here at Orange? “
Transition students only used the Cuyahoga East Vocational Training Consortium in Mayfield Heights, which is about $ 17,500 per student per year, Ms. Noy said. She is looking to expand Orange’s options by partnering with local businesses. The simulated work lab would also be less expensive for the school district, she said. CEVEC is an Ohio Disability Opportunities Provider, a government agency that supports competitive employment for people with disabilities.
“We are looking to develop partnerships in our community, like businesses that want to help support our students,” she said Monday. “We are looking to train these community partners for job training, leading to competitive employment when a student is ready. We want to stay close to home. “
Ms. Noy spoke about the importance of a student’s preferences, interests, needs and strengths when seeking employment. Supportive workplaces have a work coach present, while competitive employment is the open labor market. Recently, students at Orange High School worked with MedWish, a nonprofit that reuses unused medical supplies to provide humanitarian aid. Students sorted out a variety of medical supplies for MedWish. Ms. Noy said there is a fake CVS store in Cleveland, where students go to practice with the cash register.
Students also did storage for Twinsburg Warehouse Bargains and Pet People, took care of the animals at Rising River Farms in Solon, sorted books for the Cleveland Book Bank, and worked in the liquor store at Orange High School. Some students attend the I&A Automotive Technician and Leadership Academy in Bedford Heights.
Business leaders interested in a partnership with Orange schools for vocational training and employment can contact Ms. Noy at [email protected]