If you have read very many of my articles, you have probably picked up on the fact that we help children and adults in North Central Indiana reach their maximum potential (in whatever form that takes). Did you know that we also assist high school students who are preparing for life after school to do the same thing? It’s true!
The Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) program allows agencies like Bona Vista, Carey Services and the Arc of Wabash to help students at a very important point in their lives. These students will soon face the challenge of transitioning from the school life they have always known to an adult life full of new opportunities and challenges. And, those are opportunities that most people without disabilities take for granted.
Funding for Pre-ETS is made available by a contract with Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services. The North Central Collaborative (NCC), of which Bona Vista is the lead agency (tooting our horn is OK once in a while), is able to go into high schools, meet with students (ages 14-22) with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and start them on the right track for after graduation through the Pre-ETS program — whether that means going on to college, starting a career or learning to live independently. Currently, the NCC provides services to 189 students in Howard, Miami, Grant, Blackford, Tipton and Wabash counties.
“All students have their own goals for life after high school,” said Bona Vista Vice President of Vocational and Day Services Meredith Freeman. “Historically, students with IEPs have not had the extra help they might need in preparing for that life. Pre-ETS will help these students lay the groundwork for whatever they want to do after high school, whether that is employment or higher education of some sort.”
The funds available through this program will help students with job exploration counseling, work-based learning experiences (whether that’s during school or after; paid or job shadow/internship) in an integrated environment, counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational programs, workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living, and instruction in self-advocacy, which may include peer mentoring.
Schools who are actively working or are starting services with Bona Vista soon include:
Eastern School Corp.
Kokomo School Corp
Indiana Connections Academy Online School
Madison-Grant United School Corp.
Taylor School Corp.
The Crossing School (Kokomo Campus)
This is an exciting program for the schools because it brings more awareness to the opportunities available to their students. Post-high school services are critical for so many students! Students seeking employment often are unaware of the expectations and responsibilities connected to a job. Some students are not prepared for job interviews and often have unrealistic expectations. Pre-ETS helps students obtain those necessary skills to be successful in the world of work.
If your school does not appear on the list above, please let them know that you think it is an important and vital asset to the children they serve.
The North Central Collaborative covers Howard, Tipton, Miami, Grant and Wabash counties. Interested school staff or families can contact Freeman at 765-454-5997.