Local agencies will provide services to 22 northern Indiana schools

Last Updated on August 1, 2016 by cassnetwork

peak.jpgPeak Community Services, along with partners Cardinal Services and Four County Counseling Center, have recently been awarded a grant from the Indiana Bureau of Rehabilitation Services for the purpose of providing pre-employment transition services to qualifying students with disabilities between the ages of 14 and 22 starting in October of 2016. The grant provides funding for up to 24 months of services.

The PETS program is designed to supplement the already successful Indiana School-To-Work Collaborative. The three partnering agencies were able to serve more students through the collaborative than any other participating group in the State of Indiana. The new program, PETS, allows agencies such as Peak Community Services, Cardinal Services and Four County Counseling an opportunity to help students at a very important point in their lives. These students will soon face the challenge of transitioning from their typical school life to an adult life full of opportunities that most people without disabilities take for granted. Among these opportunities is meaningful, integrated employment.

Services provided through the grant will include:

1. Job exploration counseling: this may include, but is not limited to, interest

and ability surveys, transition assessments, reviewing career websites, high school based courses on career choices, or other similar activities.

2. Work-based learning experiences: this may include, but is not limited to,

paid or non-paid work experiences in the community, volunteer work, job shadows, short or long-term internships, on the job training, apprenticeships and employer mentoring activities.

3. Counseling on opportunities for enrollment in postsecondary education:

this may include, but is not limited to, exploration of the wide range of career pathways (i.e. agriculture, manufacturing, etc.), counseling on postsecondary training opportunities including community colleges, universities, trade/technical schools, etc., and counseling to support a smooth transition from high school to postsecondary education (i.e. documenting and advocating for accommodations, identifying financial aid options, etc.).

4. Workplace readiness: this may include, but is not limited to, soft-skills training, employability skills training, social/interpersonal skills (i.e. communication, problem solving, decision making, conflict resolution, empathy, professionalism, etc.) and independent living skills training (i.e. good hygiene, money management, using transportation, time management, using technology and assistive technology, appropriate dress, appropriate behavior, etc.).

5. Instruction in self-advocacy: this may include, but is not limited to, instruction in self-awareness, disability disclosure, requesting accommodations, understanding rights and responsibilities, self-determination, etc.; and mentoring including peer mentoring.

These services will be offered in class room and one-on-one settings depending on student need. The following representative from each agency will be the lead in providing services; Peak Community Services: Jennifer Roush, Employment Services Manager. Cardinal Services: Mindy Eisenbise, Cass/Fulton County Community Services Coordinator. Four County Counseling Center: Bethany Schoenradt, MSW, LCSW, Senior Director of Community Based and Residential Operations.

Peak Community Services Director of Marketing, Greg Packard, states, “We couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to reach so many students at this important stage in their lives. I couldn’t think of a better way to expand upon our mission to create opportunities and support success.”

Carrie Cadwell, Chief Strategy Officer for Four County, adds “We are very excited to continue our collaborative work with Peak Community Services to engage and empower the youth we work with to achieve the very best in their lives within a community supportive of them.”

SOURCE: News release from Peak Community Services