DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Northridge High School is partnering with United Rehabilitation Services (URS) to help a group sometimes left behind.
Together, they’re piloting a program that gives students with disabilities the tools and confidence to be successful after high school.
The district’s special education services helped develop a Job and Career Readiness class for its high school and middle school students.
Northridge Superintendent David Jackson says many students in the district’s special education program have limitless potential, but can be discouraged and overwhelmed finding a fulfilling job after high school
“They have these interests and talents and abilities, but they don’t understand what jobs might be available to them,” Jackson said.
Basic life skills like cooking and cleaning make the program similar to a family consumer sciences course, but a partnership with URS helped develop it into a career building seminar.
URS helps students identify their strengths and interests, facilitates site visits to employers and coaches them in everything from resume writing and interviewing to workplace etiquette and maintaining a budget.
Senior Seth Tucker said, “I think it will help me be better at what I do in a job and be more successful.
URS says many local companies welcome employees with learning differences and special needs, and are willing to groom them for skilled positions and career advancement. For many students, it opens up opportunities that weren’t initially apparent to them.
URS Employment Services Manager Jeremy Nelson said, “A lot of industries are really in need of these kinds of workers and a lot of times the student don’t realize there is a need.”
The district says it’s seen a noticeable difference in the attitudes and outlooks of the students in the Job and Career Readiness program.
“Kids are attending school more often, we’ve seen a soaring attendance from the kids in this program and then there’s a new excitement about life,” said Superintendent Jackson.
URS is expanding the program and hoping to make it available for schools around the Miami Valley.