The Norman Transcript

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July 29, 2013

DRS launches program to match disabled students with jobs

NORMAN — Students in Norman are working at different businesses this summer through a new program that helps students with disabilities prepare for the work world.

Norman North High School senior Lauren McKay found her summer job at Go Kids Childcare through the Department of Rehabilitation Services’ iJobs program.

“It’s good. I like it here,” McKay said over the noise of a room full of toddlers. “I kind of do everything — help change pull-ups, clean.”

Her last day with the iJobs program is Thursday , but the daycare is going to rehire her so she can continue working there after she starts school in the fall.

McKay’s vocational training instructor at Norman North told her about the iJobs program, an eight-week project launched June 3 through the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.

The students’ paychecks are funded by the department, which partnered with Dale Rogers Training Center, Norman and Moore Public Schools and the Moore Norman Technology Center, according to a press release. The program provides 20 hours a week of career training to eight students from the Department of Rehabilitation Services’ Transition program. Most of them have autism or cognitive, behavior or learning disabilities.

McKay said she volunteered at a hospital with her grandma before she started working at the daycare, but this is her first job.

She hopes to continue her education after high school at Oklahoma City Community College, Rose State College or the University of Oklahoma. She’s not sure what she wants to study, but she hopes a career that involves working with children.

The first year of iJobs will end Aug. 2 with a celebration at the Norman library. For more information, contact the Department of Rehabilitation Services Transition at 634-2768 or 800-845-8476 toll free or visit okrehab.org/students/transition.htm.

 

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