Longtime Supporter, Volunteer and Former Board Chair Shares her Story!
Marian Melville, an Aspen resident since 1955, started her philanthropic pursuits in the 1980s after former Easterseals Colorado President and CEO, Francis Steers wanted representation from the mountain communities on the Board of Directors. With six children, Marian juggled life as a mother, owner of a lodge and Easterseals Colorado Board Chair. During her time as Chair, Marian helped oversee the expansion of Rocky Mountain Village Camp, the Talking with Technology program and the ADA laws still in effect today. Her support of Easterseals from then to now is incredible.
Easterseals Colorado provides employment-focused services to students with disabilities who are transitioning out of high school and into community employment, post-secondary education, adulthood and independence. Our Pre-Employment Transition Services are aimed at promoting and exploring competitive, integrated employment options for these youth in transition.
Project SEARCH’s primary objective is to secure meaningful competitive employment for people with disabilities.
What is it? – Too often, individuals with disabilities leave high school unprepared. Community members have low expectations of them and their ability to work. Additionally, adult services are confusing to navigate for the individual and their family. Project SEARCH provides a framework for efficient and effective collaboration between schools, service agencies, and employers to help individuals with disabilities acquire the skills they need to succeed in a competitive work environment, help students find and secure employment, and link them with the support they need to keep their job.
How does it work? – Project SEARCH is immersive, where students learn skills over the course of two internships at either Children’s Hospital of Colorado or UCHealth Anschutz Campus alongside the business’ employees. Students begin their day with class-room instruction lead by a transition teacher from Jefferson County Public Schools, then head to work in their internships for four and a half hours before returning to the class-room for a daily debriefing. While a skills trainer works with students throughout the course of the year, come spring, the staff works one on one with each student intern on individualized job development in order to place the individual into a job that is best suited to their strengths, interests and skills.
Beginning this 2018-19 school year, the Employment Services Department at Easterseals Colorado is partnering with the US Geological Survey’s STEP-UP (Secondary Transition to Employment Program – USGS Partnership) program at the Federal Center. STEP-UP provides transition-aged young adults (ages 18 to 22) with disabilities with a variety of life and job skills that help promote independence and aid in the transition from school to work.
With the assistance of a skills trainer and para-educator, students complete two internships while at the USGS, one digitizing maps in the Map Store, and one translating fossil ID cards.
Employment staff work with student interns to:
• Learn and master skills necessary to complete intern tasks
• Build resumes and fine-tune interviewing skills
• Enhance self-advocacy skills
• Explore strengths, skills, and interests as they pertain to community employment
Partners of this program include: The Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Jefferson County Public Schools Transition Program, and The Jefferson County Workforce Center
Pre-Employment Transition Services for Individuals
As stated by the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), “Pre-employment transition services are provided to students with disabilities to further develop an awareness of career and education opportunities, the general skills needed for employment success in any field, and the skills needed to appropriately advocate for themselves as they prepare to exit secondary education and enter the workforce or other post-school activities.”
As a vendor of these services, Easterseals Colorado works with individuals one on one in the following areas:
• Job Exploration
• Work-Based Learning Experiences including:
- Informational interviewing
- Job Shadowing
- Paid Work Experience
- Workplace Tours
• Counseling on Comprehensive and Post-Secondary Education Programs