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 2

Part 2 – (Ohio School for the Deaf’s Innovation Ride) By Michele Timmons, Founder and CEO

Last week, we shared Ohio State School for the Blind’s Innovation Ride as an example of a school that has been implementing pathways and is now ramping up their work to include a tech based pre-apprenticeship that meets the unique needs and interests of OSSB’s students. Our friends at Ohio School for the Deaf (OSD) are also planning disruptive innovations to better prepare deaf youth for success in the workplace of the future. 

OSD’s Innovation Ride is funded by an Ohio Department of Education Innovative Workforce Incentive Program grant awarded to Painesville City Local Schools and six other high schools. 

  • Ohio School for the Deaf (Franklin County – but serving youth across Ohio)
  • Ohio State School for the Blind (Franklin County – but serving youth across Ohio)
  • Perry Local Schools (Lake County) 
  • Riverside Local Schools (Lake County) 
  • Madison Local Schools (Lake County) 
  • Edison Local Schools (Jefferson County)  

EnvisionEdPlus is supporting these seven high schools as they design, pilot and scale programs where students will earn their Ohio State Apprenticeship Council Recognized Pre-Apprenticeship Program Certificate of Completion. Students who earn this 12 point certification demonstrate 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 they are ‘future ready’ regardless of future education and career paths. 

OSDs Innovation Ride 

Like many schools, OSD has used a blended approach to supporting career and college readiness for their students. Some students stay on campus and participate in learning to prepare them for careers in culinary arts and independent living. Students who have a career path in mind may choose to attend a local Career Technical Center and a few participate in College Credit Plus. Instead of graduating in four years, many students choose to enroll in OSD’s 4Plus Program where they further their education, gain employment experience through community based internships and continue developing independent living skills. While these opportunities are beneficial for many students, OSD wants EACH student to be prepared to be competitive with hearing peers for jobs within in-demand career fields. 

Which Path Will You Choose? Wall of Fame at Ohio School for the Deaf

One of my favorite things about my visit to OSD was their Which Path Will You Choose? Wall of Fame.  After learning about different pathways, high school students identified the pathway that most interested them and placed a picture of themselves by that path.

As their interests change, a student can move their photos, but it is a great way to help students visualize where they want to go. Each student’s IEP transition plans and graduation plans include strategies to help students move toward their future.  But OSD lacks a comprehensive academic approach to building the skills students need for success in those career fields.  EnvisionEdPlus and OSD determined that before they start a pre-apprenticeship program, OSD needed to implement more comprehensive high school pathway experiences where students can earn industry credentials and begin to develop professional skills.  Using EnvisionEdPlus’ Doable Credentials tools, the OSD team identified 15 industry credential courses they can implement right away. This summer staff is completing initial training so they can kick off their first three high school Pathways in the fall. One of OSD’s biggest design constraints was their small school size and that many staff teach both middle and high school classes. OSD needed to be able to offer courses that align to current staff experience, interest and qualifications. They also needed to start with credentials that can easily be sustained without grant funds.  This August during EnvisionEdPlus’ LaunchPad Summer Institute, OSD is excited to learn from other schools already implementing similar credentials and pathways so they can fine tune their plans before kids arrive.

In the fall, our team will help OSD create work-based learning experiences with current and new industry partners. Once those steps are complete, we will work toward creating state recognized pre-apprenticeships.  

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

Where are you on your innovation ride? Are you just starting like OSD? 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 9-10th 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! 

Check out these awesome LaunchPad sessions! 

Perry Local (Lake Co) ~ Construction pathways journey from just work-based learning and mentoring to a pre-apprenticeship model

Ohio Department of Education ~ High Quality Pathways Design and Resources

ApprenticeOhio ~ Introduction to Youth Pre-Apprenticeship