2003 Conference Proceedings

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HIGH SCHOOL/HIGH TECH: TRANSITION TO WORK FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

Presenters
Lewis E. Kraus
InfoUse
2560 Ninth Street, Suite 216
Berkeley, CA 94710
Email: kraus@infouse.com

Robert Brostrom
National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth
6810 Creekview Court
Columbus, GA 31904

INTRODUCTION

High School/High Tech is an enrichment program for high school students with disabilities. It is designed to develop career opportunities and provide activities that will spark an interest in high technology fields, and to encourage students to pursue higher education. High School/High Tech programs have been established in numerous sites across the country. At the end of September 2001, there were 42 active High School/High Tech programs nationwide.

High School/High Tech aims to:

By the time young people reach the high school level, it is expected that they will be exposed to a curriculum that emphasizes the knowledge and skills youth need to become successful adults. Yet, even exposure to the highest quality curriculum available will still leave serious gaps in their preparation for life after high school. Experiences outside the classroom are needed to expose young people to career opportunities and post-secondary choices essential for their transition from the world of schooling into the world of adults. Many youth with disabilities are faced with additional hurdles that interfere with preparation for technology-based careers. First, many do not develop a solid education with the strong academic skills needed for these career. The second concern is the low expectations, and resultant low self-esteem, often encountered by youth with disabilities. To combat these factors youth with disabilities need opportunities to be in:

Helping high school students determine their future is a very challenging business. Often, students do not know how to plan for what will happen today, let alone after high school or college. The High School/High Tech program creatively exposes technology-focused career opportunities to youth with disabilities, helping them to better prepare for their futures in a technology-driven society.

HIGH SCHOOL/HIGH TECH PROGRAM DESIGN DEATURES:

Using school and work-based experiences, students build knowledge, self-esteem, improve communication skills, and plan for the future. High School/ High Tech provides students with the skills, experience, and guidance necessary to start a career.

A High School/High Tech program incorporates a mix of learning experiences that broadens the educational horizons of students with disabilities. Research has shown that four basic design features are youth need to succeed in the workplace ( as well as in life).

Features of HS/HT: Over the years core features of HS/HT have evolved. Currently underway is a "codification" of core design features for HS/HT sites and an initiation of a set of self-affiliation standards designed to improve the quality of programs and to help expand the programs due to the design features being based upon documented research of best practices. These features encompass:

High School/High Tech programs are based in a variety of organizations from schools to school districts to employment programs to non-profit agencies. For this reason, programs may serve more than one high school.

HIGHLIGHTS OF PROGRAM DATA COLLECTION FROM 2001

An annual voluntary data collection is conducted to determine charateristics of each High School/ High Tech program individually. The following bullets are results of the aggregation to the national level and represent 26 reporting sites.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

High School/ High Tech Program Report, October 1, 2000 - September 30, 2001. Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor, 2002.


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