Partners for Student Success Careers  /  Staff Directory  /  Staff Login  /  Aesop
Special School District of St. Louis County
 

Partners in Transition:
Working Together Toward the Next Step

Whether it’s switching to a new job, moving to a different school or an unknown city, or simply swapping out cell phones, transition can be challenging.

But for several SSD students, transition from school to the work world is off to a tremendous start with the help of Accent Group Solutions.

“It’s just been a few weeks,” said Sydney, a student in SSD’s Vocational Skills Program at Accent. “I love it—I love working in the warehouse doing different kinds of jobs.”

SSD’s Vocational Skills Program (VSP) and the Community Based Vocational Instruction (CBVI) program are keystones of the District’s emphasis on transition. 

“Our mission is to provide a continuum of supports and services to students and families to assist the students in gaining the skills needed to achieve realistic and meaningful post-secondary goals,” said SSD’s Director of Transition Services Casey Wisdom.

At Accent, students learn job skills, as well as “soft skills” that they will use inside and outside of the workplace.

Accent Group Solutions is an all-encompassing service provider that offers clients warehousing, order fulfillment, printing, packing, distribution, and more.

“We deliver tangible marketing through intelligent fulfillment,” said Accent CEO Erica Hughes. “Intelligent fulfillment means no order is the same.”

And that’s where SSD students come in. One job that the students work is filling orders for clients by going “shopping” through the multiple aisles of shelving to get the order assembled and packed before it is shipped out to customers. Other students count out promotional items to send to clients, while other students work on assembling boxes, affixing labels, or working on graphic design programs.

“Anything we can figure out how to do, they will give us a shot at it,” said SSD teacher Kim Gettemeier. “That’s empowering—students come in with different needs, and they have different chances to do things.”

The idea for Accent to become a VSP and CBVI site for the District came about because Hughes’ son receives services from SSD. And as he’s gotten older, the idea of transitioning out of school became an important topic for the family.

“It was something in our lives we were learning about,” said Hughes. “We have a big facility here, so we talked with people at SSD and it worked out. So far, it’s been great!”

As a VSP teacher, Gettemeier said everything she does with students is for a function. “Life skills, plus job training,” she said.

“Teaching the job skills happens quickly and the students do it quite well,” Gettemeier said. “The soft skills—stamina, problem solving, greetings, eye contact—tend to be the barriers to employment.”

Each day includes 90 to 120 minutes of lessons for students that focus on those skills—which align with their Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals. This includes practicing filling out job applications, dealing with money and learning how to use public transportation.

Thus far, Accent has been a welcoming environment for students to learn these skills. As students walk from building to building, Accent employees are quick to greet each student as they go by to their next task.

“It’s a family here,” said Hughes. “The people that work here are on board with our new partnership with SSD—it’s an attitude we’ve taken on with all the workers.”

The District’s VSP and CBVI programs allow students to learn vocational training and work skills beyond the school building setting—and SSD partners with dozens of companies and organizations throughout the area.

“Relationships with community partners are vital in preparing students for life after school,” said Wisdom. “They help us provide students with ‘real world’ experiences that allow students to more easily transfer skills learned in school to post-secondary life. Community partners also help us build a bridge from the support services provided during school to the adult support systems.”

When asked why it is important for him and his fellow VSP students to learn these skills, Johnny, who has already learned numerous jobs at Accent answered: “Because we like to work!”

“Eventually, one day, we want to get a job at the warehouse,” Sydney said.

arrow icon If your organization or company is interested in partnering with one of SSD’s transition programs, contact Casey Wisdom at cwisdom@ssdmo.org.

Published October 2016

Mike, a student in SSD’s Community Based Vocational Instruction program, makes notes on his order sheet as he completes tasks at Accent Group Solutions.Mike, a student in SSD’s Community Based Vocational Instruction program, makes notes on his order sheet as he completes tasks at Accent Group Solutions.

Johnny, a student in SSD’s Vocational Skills Program, picks and packs an order at Accent Group Solutions. Johnny, a student in SSD’s Vocational Skills Program, picks and packs an order at Accent Group Solutions.

Along with learning soft skills, Leah learns job skills by pulling orders at Accent Group Solutions. Along with learning soft skills, Leah learns job skills by pulling orders at Accent Group Solutions.


Contact SSD  /  Accessibility  /  RFPs  /  Public Notices  /  Site Map   /  E-news  /  Legislator Lookup   

12110 Clayton Rd, Town & Country, MO 63131  /  314.989.8100  /  314.989.8552 – 711 (Missouri Relay)

Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
SSD logo
Translate this site:
Disclaimer
Like us on Facebook