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Summer academy highlights Pennsylvania jobs

Posted on July 5, 2017

A new program is putting the spotlight on the visually impaired and Pennsylvania jobs.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation kicked off the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services’ Junior Summer Academy this week for students who are blind or visually impaired.

This new five-day program, which runs June 21 – June 25 at Kutztown University, aims to equip students with the strategies, techniques, and skills they need to be successful in high school, college, and employment.

“Programs like the Junior Summer Academy show that access equals success and we must work to help students develop the skills they need to access education and, one day, work,” said L&I Secretary Kathy Manderino. “When we help students with disabilities access the same information as their neighbors, classmates, colleagues, and peers, they can get the same education, the same training, and they can get the same jobs that pay.”
The program is a partnership between the department’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, the Pennsylvania Department of Education Bureau of Special Education’s Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network, and Kutztown University.
Throughout the program, fifteen middle school students from across the state, all of whom happen to be blind or visually impaired, will reside in dorms and attend classes on assistive technology, orientation and mobility, and independent living and vocational skills development, in addition to also spending time developing their leadership abilities during team building and recreation activities.
“Through our partnership with OVR and Kutztown University, we are connecting students who are blind and visually impaired at an even earlier age with the tools they need to successfully transition to high school, college and employment,” said Bureau of Special Education Director Ann Hinkson-Hermann. “Programs like this demonstrate how collaboration works for students with disabilities in Pennsylvania.”
OVR’s mission is to assist Pennsylvanians with disabilities to secure and maintain employment and independence. Last year, the office assisted over 8,300 residents of Pennsylvania with disabilities in finding competitive, integrated employment, and partnered with 6,000 employers, helping them find the talent they need to keep jobs that pay in Pennsylvania.
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