An off campus transition career program encourages socials skills among special education students ages 18-21. For them it’s more than job skills; social skills enable them to get a job and succeed in the workforce.
Teacher Tom Flaherty of the New Haven Public Schools Off-Campus Classroom program believes that taking a positive tone in their speech can influence his students’ actions. “Let’s talk about inflection,” he said recently to seven students. “How can you say, ‘I’m going to work today’ in a positive way?”
The students are based at Yale New Haven Hospital’s St. Raphael campus. They are among the 42 students overall participating in the program.
“The goal was to get them out of high school and to focus on skills, like on-the-job training,” said Mark Caruso, the district’s transitional vocational coordinator. “I’ll swear by this model any day for special needs students; it’s reliable.”
The students at the YNHH St. Raphael site learn about customer service, labor laws, and HIPAA laws protecting patient privacy. The program enrollment has nearly doubled in the past ten years.
Students also work at Advanced Nursing & Rehabilitation, Gateway Community College and the Adult Education Center.