Blog Posts, Career and College Readiness

Moving Beyond a Diploma: How Ohio School for the Deaf and Ohio State School for the Blind are Preparing EACH Youth to Thrive beyond Graduation. 

(Part 1: Ohio State School for the Blind’s Innovation Ride)

By Michele Timmons, Founder and CEO

In his book Built to Last, author Jim Collins challenges organizations to create visionary Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG) that compel them to think big and plan for long-term success. Our BHAG is EACH Youth will Thrive in School and Beyond. Everything we do intentionally moves us forward in meeting this vision. 

Our friends at Ohio School for the Deaf (OSD) and Ohio State School for the Blind (OSSB) share this BHAG – they want their students to not only graduate but be well prepared for success in the workplace, college or other postsecondary training. They know that individuals who are deaf and blind have 

  • Lower high school graduation rates, 
  • Lower employment rates, 
  • Higher poverty rates than peers. 

With support from EnvisionEdPlus, both schools are planning disruptive innovations to change this trajectory for the youth they serve. 

HS Graduation Rate92%29%73%
Bachelor’s Degree Rate84%13%49%
Employment Rate79%15%30%
Income Level$44,000$42,000$38,500
Graduation, Employment, and Income levels of Deaf and Blind students compared to their peers.

Innovating from Where They Are

In January 2022, our friends at Ohio School for the Deaf (OSD) and Ohio State School for the Blind (OSSB) began a two year Innovation Ride to create rigorous, high quality high school pathways and pre-apprenticeship experiences that can help break the cycle of unemployment/ under-employment in the deaf and blind communities. 

This ride is funded by an Ohio Department of Education Innovative Workforce Incentive Program grant awarded to Painesville City Local Schools.  EnvisionEdPlus is supporting seven high school partners (OSD, OSSB, Painesville, Perry Local (Lake), Riverside (Lake), Madison (Lake) and Edison (Jefferson) as they design, pilot and scale programs where students earn their Ohio State Apprenticeship Council Recognized Pre-Apprenticeship Program Certificate of Completion. This certification demonstrates the relevant academic and technical skills essential for success in regionally in-demand career fields as well as entrepreneurial and innovation skills and mindsets that will help ensure students are ‘future ready’ regardless of future education and career paths. 

OSSB’s Innovation Ride

OSSB has an awesome Career Tech Education funded graphic design program that operates as its own trophy making company. For years, students have been designing, making and selling their trophies across the country. One thing that sets them apart from most trophy companies is their ability to include braille on all trophies.  

How cool is that! 

This spring, OSSB has focused on defining how they can use Ohio Department of Education’ flexibility options to expand their graphic design program into a pre-apprenticeship program. OSSB is collaborating with Apprenti to link their pre-apprenticeship to Apprentis IT apprenticeship program. This summer during EnvisionEdPlus’ LaunchPad Summer Institute, they will receive support from ApprenticeOhio as they begin designing their pre-apprenticeship operating plan. This fall, the EnvisionEdPlus team will help OSSB finalize logistics, create community based work-based learning experiences and get ready to implement their pathway by January 2023. 

LaunchPad Summer Institute: A Great Way to Innovate from Where You Are

Where are you on your innovation ride? Are you just starting to think about pathways or credentials? Are you expanding an already strong pathway like OSSB? Are you ready to replicate your pathway system so that it can be available to every student like our friends at Riverside Local in Lake County? Regardless of where you are right now, consider joining us August 8-9th at Geneva on the Lake for LaunchPad Summer Institute 2022

EnvisionEdPlus and our partners like Ohio Department of Education, Ohio STEM Learning Network, Certiport, ApprenticeOhio and Buckeye Education Services can help you Innovate from Where You Are! (Read Dr. Thomie Timmon’s Blog The Innovation Ride to learn about the innovation tool we use took better support our team during a period of innovation.)

Check out these awesome LaunchPad sessions from a few of our school partners! 

Edison Local (Jefferson Co) ~ Journey to create pathways for all kids that include capstones and pre-apprenticeship opportunities

Warren City (Trumbull Co) ~ District Sponsored Apprenticeships as Human Capital Strategy

Blanchester Local (Clermont Co) ~ Mindshift: Credentials and Pathways are for Everyone – not just a way to get a diploma for at risk kids.