Wright State hosts program to educate and prepare high school students with disabilities to become independent adults

Through Project LIFE, student interns receive education and preparation for adult life five days a week in a Wright State classroom.

An education and job skills preparation program run by the Greene County Educational Service Center for students with disabilities has found a partner in Wright State University.

Wright State hosts Project LIFE, enabling 12 student interns to receive education and preparation for adult life five days a week in a classroom in Allyn Hall.

“With Project LIFE here on campus, we have an opportunity for the Wright State University community to become even more inclusive because we get to share space, experiences and relationships,” said Dusty Columbia, assistant professor of teacher education.

The Greene County Educational Service Center offers alternative education programs, a learning center for students with mental health or emotional needs, intensive needs programming, mental health services, adaptive physical education and speech, occupational and physical therapy.

Project LIFE was implemented by Butler Tech in 2007 and replicated by the Greene County Educational Service Center this academic year. The program is designed for students with disabilities, ages 18-21, who have met their high school graduation requirements and need additional education and preparation, leading to future employment.

The program consists of 25% classroom instruction at Wright State, 25% instruction in daily living skills lab and 50% unpaid entry-level job experiences in a variety of community businesses.

The classroom instruction portion of the program introduces skills in team building, personal financial literacy, social communication, self-advocacy, technology, employability, independent living and functional independence in the community. The job skills preparation sites provide real-world experiences in learning about essential job skills.

“Our student interns gain knowledge and skills that are beneficial to transitioning to adulthood,” said Kristin Brown, Transition/Project LIFE coordinator. “Also, by being in a partnership with Wright State University, it gives them the opportunity to be on a college campus and to interact with their same aged peers along with partnering with the education department at Wright State, which is a win-win situation for all of us.”

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