RIO GRANDE —A team of educators, local business professionals and volunteers were recently on hand during a transitional fair at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College in an effort to aid the over 200 eleventh and twelfth grade students who attended the event in their transition to life post high school.
The high school students, all individuals with some type of disability, attended various sessions in located within Bob Evans Farms Hall and the university’s Lyne Center on Friday with the hope of learning to prepare for their future employment or college experience.
The fair, which was supported by the Gallia-Vinton Education Service Center (ESC) and provided through a federal Ohio Secondary Transition Improvement Grant (OSTIG), drew students from the Jackson City, Oak Hill and Wellston City school systems, as well as Gallia County Local Schools, Gallipolis City Schools, Buckeye Hills Career Center, Guiding Hand and Hope Haven schools.
According to OSTIG Southeast Quadrant Coordinator Karen Johnson of Gallia-Vinton ESC, the event provided students with the opportunity to see what options are available to them as they move toward becoming successful adults.
“The event is just to open up opportunities for higher education and for employment for kids with disabilities,” she said.
Sessions held during the program included how to dress for success, how to prepare for successful job interview, how to keep a job, how to succeed in college, as well as a session on learning to advocate for oneself.
Possibly the most popular session at the transitional fair was the “Real Money-Real World” session which allows students to better understand how to utilize their future incomes by simulating “real world” monetary choices.
Johnson reported that, while the five-year OSTIG program has run its course, a final event will be held on next month at the URG/RGCC campus with funds provided through the grant.
National-known motivational speaker LeDerick Horne will be on hand to speak to ninth and tenth grade students with disabilities on November 15.
Horne, who was classified as a disabled student in the third grade, has become a successful entrepreneur, playwright, speaker and advocate.
For more information on the transitional fair or programs available for transitioning youth with disabilities, contact Karen Johnson at (740) 245-0593.