School-to-Work Programs Nearly Triple Enrollment, Increase Capacity for DCPS Special Education Students 

February 22, 2011

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Two school-to-work programs, Bridges…From School to Work and Project SEARCH, have more than doubled their enrollment and capacity, providing even more DCPS students with disabilities the opportunity to learn real world skills through local employment opportunities.

Both Bridges and Project SEARCH create mutually beneficial job placements to meet the workforce needs of local employers and the career goals of young people with disabilities.

“It takes a community to make sure that students with disabilities are successful adults leading independent lives,” said Richard Nyankori, Deputy Chancellor for Special Education at DC Public Schools. “By giving students more opportunities to learn and improve their job skills, the more prepared our students with disabilities will be for life after they leave DCPS.”

During the 2009-10 school year, Bridges enrolled approximately 30 DCPS students across the District. Since then, DCPS has ramped up recruitment and enrollment, with 75 students participating in the program for the 2010-11 school year.

Through the Bridges program, 28 DCPS students have secured a permanent work position after graduation.

Project SEARCH, a program that’s in its second year at DCPS, places students on a 10 to 12 week supported employment rotation in a variety of offices within the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services.

During the 2009-10 school year, Project SEARCH only had a site at the Department of Labor. Nine DCPS students participated.

For the 2010-11 school year, DCPS added two additional sites at the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, which means Project SEARCH can serve up to 36 students each year.

Currently, there are 30 DCPS students who are participating in Project SEARCH.

To be eligible for admissions to Project SEARCH, students must be between the ages of 18 and 21, on the IEP certificate track and in their last year of school. To learn more about Project SEARCH, please email Project SEARCH Program Manager Deirdre Williams or call her at (202) 492-1270.

To be eligible for admissions to Bridges, students must be at least 17 years old, eligible to attend school on a half-day schedule and able to access and use public transportation. To learn more about Bridges, please email Norma Villanueva or call her at (202) 270-5403.

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