In a joint program with Hopkins school district, young adults with disabilities, ages 18 to 21 receive opportunities to train for jobs, be involved in the community, and learn skills to live independently. Transition Plus services help students set and achieve their goals by providing specialized instruction, training, and support. Students have access to skill-development activities designed to meet their individual needs.
Ryan Erickson, one of the students at Transition Plus is in his final year of the program. He enjoys being involved and shared great appreciation for what he has been able to learn. As he gears up to complete the program, he reflects on his time learning job skills and partnering within the community. In class, Ryan likes to help guide his peers, but he also likes to make time for fun.
“I’m always helping others out, and I’m a little bit silly,” said Ryan.
Career exploration is one of the key components of the program, and at each stage of the programs there are different opportunities to learn new skills. There is also flexibility to meet students where they are at, while engaging in meaningful activities within the community.
Destiny Windom is in her first year of the program. During her time in Transition Plus, she has been able to explore museums and learn at nature centers. Her favorite experience was visiting the mall. While at the mall, students were able to visit stores while learning about employment opportunities.
One of the jobs Destiny was able to do this year was at a factory. This particular job had a structured routine that seemed too repetitive for Destiny. She realized it was not the best fit for her because she likes more variety in her work. Destiny has found more variety when she is able to work with kids.
“I used to watch my niece, and I like it because I get to play with kids,” said Destiny.
The opportunity to work in a factory and her personal experience has led her to think about ways she can merge her interests. She is considering future employment in daycares, where she will get to work with children and use many of the other skills she has gained during her time with Transition Plus.
There are many people who make Transition Plus possible. One of the team members, Alaina Martin started as the Transition Plus Coordinator within the past few months. She moved into the position after about 8 years teaching at the high school. One of the most exciting parts about her new role is getting to work with the students that she knew and getting to grow with them at Transition Plus.
“It is a bridge from high school to adulthood. There are a lot of students who won’t be ready because while they are in high school, they are focused on completing graduation requirements, and there is less time to learn life skills,” Alaina shared.
Being a part of students' next steps has been an important part of her career. She finds it rewarding to get to know her students deeper.