Students who choose to remain in Learning Links School for a 13th year and beyond and have met their academic requirements will enter the STEPS Program. Developed in response to the need for further education for individuals with disabilities, the STEPS Program is a job training/transition program for post-secondary students and young adults with special needs.
STEPS will provide students with training in independent functioning, transferable vocational education and relevant social skill training. The acquisition of these skills will improve a student’s ability to live a more independent life as well as gain necessary skills that will prepare them to enter the workforce.
The goal of the STEPS Program is to facilitate students’ successful transition to life after high school. To achieve this goal, STEPS will develop an individual transition plan, transition education and vocational training based on each student’s needs, abilities, independent living skills, personal interests and goals.
There are three components of the STEPS Program:
1. Individual Transition Plan: STEPS will develop customized, assessment-based vocational and transitional goals with a focus on each student’s interests, abilities, independent living skills and personal goals by collaborating with students, families and community partners and services.
2. Transition Education and Vocational Training: STEPS will incorporate transition education in each Individual Education Program (lEP) to help students, ages 18 to 22, identify career and life goals – and work to achieve them.
STEPS will offer:
o Career exploration
o Job skills training
o Work experience
o Vocational skills taught across multiple settings
o Resume writing/interviewing skills
o Executive functioning skills (e.g., organizing, prioritizing, time management, regulating emotions)
o Social and communication skills development
o Independent living skills
o Personal financial management
o Support with post-secondary options; vocational/trade school or college
o Supported or independent employment
3. Work Experience Opportunities:
In the final phase of the STEPS program, eligible students will be able to gain work experience in a variety of community internship opportunities, giving them the experience to gain the skills that will secure jobs with local employers. Upon completion of the program Students will be referred to local organizations that specialize in successful job placement (e.g. The De Moya Foundation, Vocational Rehabilitation and ASPIRE)
Another change for the students will be an all new unique individual schedule that allows them to have a combination of classroom time, work exploration time, and recreational time which will be held outside of our facility. Although our students enrolled in the STEPS program may interact with students in our PACE high school program for a specific activity, the majority of their day will be designed on an individual schedule that will fit the student’s individual needs. This new program delivery will provide the students with real world, hands-on training that will allow them to explore a number of different career paths. Students will be enrolled in individually designed courses that will teach them a variety of vocational skills. In addition to the course work students will have daily opportunities to put the skills taught into practice in our mock school businesses. Additionally, students will receive community-based instruction that will allow them to explore their community and learn valuable skills and lessons for their adult life.