Practically 1 million New Yorkers stay with a incapacity, and almost 17% of New Yorkers of working age with a incapacity have been unemployed in 2021, in accordance with the Heart for an City Future. That is greater than 3 times the US unemployment charge of 5.5% for 2021. Luckily, two New York Metropolis excessive colleges – Discovery Excessive College within the Bronx and Richmond Hill Excessive College in Queens – are actually main the trouble to shut that hole.
A major contributing issue to that prime charge of unemployment for New Yorkers with disabilities emerged from analysis performed for the Institute for Profession Growth (ICD) by the nonprofit consulting agency The Bridgespan Group. It confirmed that tens of 1000’s of scholars with disabilities depart public excessive colleges yearly in New York Metropolis solely to search out themselves nose to nose with a niche the place the companies they depended upon to complete faculty had beforehand been. They’re left on their very own to pursue profession alternatives and infrequently battle because of this.
Working with the Institute for Profession Growth, the place we’re co-presidents, Discovery Excessive College and Richmond Hill Excessive College launched this fall which is anticipated to turn out to be a citywide initiative to make sure that, whereas nonetheless in highschool, college students with disabilities formulate their profession pursuits, whether or not they contain increased training or vocational coaching, and achieve the abilities and pathways wanted to pursue these pursuits after they graduate.
Two different Bronx establishments are partnering with Discovery Excessive College on this initiative: Kingsbridge Heights Neighborhood Heart is offering college students with sensible work expertise, and Montefiore Medical Heart is offering volunteer service alternatives. At Kingsbridge Heights Neighborhood Heart, the Discovery Excessive College college students are offering assist for a neighborhood meals pantry in addition to supporting after-school programming for center faculty college students.
Via this initiative, the ICD now has on-site at every faculty a full-time “navigator.” At Discovery Excessive College, it is Justine Huertas.
The navigators can be found to work with any pupil who has an Individualized Training Program (IEP) or 504 plan – to information the scholars in envisioning and pursuing fulfilling careers. They work with college students beginning within the ninth grade and persevering with by no less than one-year post-graduation to offer a number of companies from in-depth evaluations and profession exploration actions to connecting college students to real-world work experiences and superior post-secondary coaching . The Navigators are supplied by ICD without charge to college students or colleges, as a part of this two-school pilot program to reveal the citywide potential.
The navigators are in flip supported by ICD’s full-time Transition Companies Supervisor Mirka Tejada who splits her time between faculty websites, amplifying the companies supplied by the navigators and working as the first level of contact for college employees and oldsters of program contributors. ICD employees are additionally working with every faculty to extend the variety of employer companions inside their communities to offer work or volunteer experiences for his or her college students.
As we thought of varied colleges to launch this initiative, we selected Discovery Excessive College as one of many two preliminary colleges as a result of it already had a robust dedication to college students with disabilities, and it had a want to enhance that current dedication with the companies that ICD supplied .
With the beginning of the initiative this fall, college students with disabilities at Discovery Excessive College are already enrolled on this new service. They’re robotically included, except they choose out.
These college students now have individualized consideration from a talented navigator to assist them contemplate their futures, what careers curiosity them, and what paths will take them there. As well as, the taking part college students are serving to not solely themselves however all college students with disabilities in New York Metropolis by taking part on this initiative and giving it the momentum wanted to develop to serve all the metropolis.
Diosdado Gica and Joseph T. McDonald are co-presidents of the Institute for Profession Growth.