SRU receives $149,519 to expand Transition Program
Feb. 8, 2016
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University has received $149,519 in funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor to expand student-led job-training programs for local high school and post-high school students with disabilities.
The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation awarded SRU the one-year contract,
said Robert Arnhold, professor of health and physical education who directs the Transition Program. The contract supports an expansion of the Transition Program that SRU launched in 2013 he said.
The program will be able to service an additional 25 high school students this year. SRU students in the adapted physical activity program and from other departments currently serve 29 high school students, teaching them pre-employment skills, community integration and independence.
"There is a lot of focus being placed on addressing the transition needs of high school students with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to get them ready for employment and independent living before they leave high school," Arnhold said.
Supplementing the Transition Program is the new Postsecondary Education Program, which will begin in the fall. It is for "high-school completers"- young people ages 18-25 with intellectual disabilities - who have met their high school graduation requirements and have earned a diploma.
The Postsecondary Education Program will give qualifying students with a disability an opportunity to attended SRU classes with additional support and services as needed to be successful, he said.
The two-year academic curriculum is designed around students' interests and skills, Arnhold said. For instance, one participant may be interested in childcare or retail sales, another in equestrian services.
"For the most part, students will audit the class which means they will not receive a grade but nonetheless participate in all class activities sitting beside their peers in a fully inclusive setting," Arnhold said.
During the time they are taking classes they will also participate in job training, community activities and independent living experiences.
"Ultimately, the goal of the transition program - for high school students - and the Postsecondary Education Program - for high school completers - is to live as independently as possible and be competitively employed in a fully inclusive setting," Arnhold said.
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