Jessica Petre, Program Services Director
Jennifer Holtz, Bridges Coordinator
Darren Long, Program Manager
Scott Brown, Program Coordinator
S. Michael Marinkovic, Jr., Instructor
Bridges to Transition is a Vocational Rehabilitation Public Private Partnership (VRP3), a grant funded by County Boards of Developmental Disabilities and the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission. The goal of Bridges is to expand career exploration and employment options for transition youth with developmental disabilities. The Ohio Association of County Boards is providing statewide project management and support for this VRP3.
The Bridges to Transition Program assists underserved areas of the state to develop employment opportunities for youth (ages 14 to 22) as they transition from school to employment. The mission is to enhance their vocational opportunities, better enabling them to become productive and work-ready upon graduation.
In 2015, Clermont DD’s Bridges to Transition students worked at Grants Farm & Greenhouse, Coney Island and Big Lots Beechmont. They were all paid for their work experience. Each student worked three days a week, had a two-week rotation at three sites for a total of a six-week work experience.
In the Career Exploration Program, students met with peers from school districts across Clermont County and a job coach to learn job-seeking skills, interviewing, work skills, work attitude and behaviors. The different jobs offered students a chance to try different things (working outside vs. inside) and job tasks (cleaning vs. landscaping). The assessment is to help the students gain experience, learn what they like, what they are good at and what they still need to practice. Two students were HIRED by Kings Island and Tractor Supply for the summer.
Thirty-four students participated in the summer work experience in 2015. We anticipate more students in 2016.