Posted on School News Network, March 6, 2014 by Tom Rademacher, this article highlights an initiative called ACE – “Achieving Competitive Employment”, funded by a grant from Michigan Transition Services Association and Michigan Rehabilitation Services.
Placing Students with Special Needs in Real-World Jobs
Kent ISD, MI — You can learn only so much inside a classroom, especially if you’re a young adult with special challenges.
At some point, savvy educators say, you need to bust out and immerse yourself in the real workaday world.
Joe Carlon and Michael Taylor are discovering what it means to make that critical leap – from the nest a comfy school provides to the scary environments that can define some workplaces.
But with help from staff and others who administer transition programs for the Kent ISD, chances are that Joe and Michael will soon be working full time for pay. “I’m here every day, and I haven’t been late even once,” says Michael, 20, as he wipes sweat from his brow.
It’s hard-earned perspiration, and something he embraces, part and parcel of working part-time at the Meijer store on Alpine Avenue in Grand Rapids.
….[ACE] is an intensive course in “giving students experience with things they might like to do, and seeing the reality of what it takes,” says Kim Norman, who developed ACE for a consortium of high schools in northern Kent County where she serves as a transition coordinator.
ACE, which commenced in March 2013 and will serve some 30 students before it concludes in June 2014, is just one of many post-high school transition programs in place throughout Kent ISD.