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School program for disabled students gets renewed focus

Easter Seals, other partners hope to rejuvenate JOBS 2000

Sunday, April 29, 2012 5:12 PM
Last updated Monday, April 30, 2012 12:58 AM
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Special education students have had an extra resource in Richmond County to help them land jobs after graduating high school.

But in recent years, it has been harder to get the word to parents in time to take advantage.

For 17 years, Easter Seals East Georgia, the Richmond County school system and the Georgia Department of Labor have put students through JOBS 2000, a vocational training program for physically and mentally disabled high school seniors.

After graduation requirements tightened in 2008, it affected the types of students eligible to participate and made it harder for teachers to identify students to recommend for the program. The changes caused a gradual drop in enrollment in the program and gave Georgia Seals East Georgia President Sheila Thomas a new sense of urgency.

“This is a really critical juncture,” Thomas said. “A lot of people don’t even understand we have this program. … That would be a travesty for this to just go away for whatever reason.”

In a meeting of the three partner groups Friday, school officials said it will take extra outreach to get principals and teachers to identify which students should be recommended for the JOBS.

The five-day-a-week, yearlong program helps students finish course credits, get job training, learn work habits and earn a paycheck for work performed.

Students have to be fifth-year seniors who have met all requirements except math and English or are working toward passing the Georgia High School Graduation Test. They can’t have more than three unexcused absences or a recent disciplinary record.

JOBS can accommodate 13 students at a time but has none signed up for the 2012-13 year. About 250 students have gone through the program since its inception, but enrollment has gradually declined, with nine in the 2010-11 year and seven in 2011-12.

Richmond County Board of Education member Jack Padgett said it’s important to keep students in the program because of the specialized services it provides.

“We’re missing out on identifying kids that need help,” Padgett said.

“I’d urge everybody to put the rubber to the road and do it. We can change them in the right way if we put them in whatever programs are available.”

Certified vocational rehabilitation counselor Tara Lark said JOBS has helped recent graduates develop skills for jobs at grocery stores, warehouses, laundromats and in retail.

It’s a resource she said the community can’t lose.

IS YOUR CHILD ELIGIBLE?

About the JOBS 2000 training program:

REQUIREMENTS:

• Fifth-year senior who has met all graduation requirements except senior math and English or who is working to pass the GHSGT

• Must have employment potential

• Must be able to follow at least two-step directions

• Able to read at a second-grade level or above

• Have no more than three unexcused absences or 10 tardies in the previous two semesters

• Have no recent behavior record

TO APPLY: Contact your child’s classroom teacher or call the Georgia Department of Labor Rehabilitation Services at (706) 650-5638

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Little Lamb
49247
Points
Little Lamb 04/30/12 - 12:33 pm
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0
You can sense the dismay,

You can sense the dismay, almost panic in the minds of the bureaucrats and politicians when they soak the taxpayers for a useless program; and there are no clients, no one who needs to use the "service."

I am not being cheeky or sarcastic here — please help me parse the sentences in this paragraph and figure out what Ms. McManus means:

After graduation requirements tightened in 2008, it affected the types of students eligible to participate and made it harder for teachers to identify students to recommend for the program. The changes caused a gradual drop in enrollment in the program and gave Georgia Seals East Georgia President Sheila Thomas a new sense of urgency.

The first thing that confused me was the word “it”. The sentence begins with a prepositional phrase that clearly modifies the verb "affected." The phrase tells us when something was affected by whatever is referred to by the word “it.”

“It” cannot refer to the tightened graduation requirements, because "requirements" is plural, and "it" is singular.

Surely "it" does not refer to the program itself (i.e., JOBS 2000), because there is no mention in the story about the program undergoing any changes at all.

Clarity is missing here.

Little Lamb
49247
Points
Little Lamb 04/30/12 - 12:50 pm
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It would appear to me that

It would appear to me that the eligibility requirements for the JOBS 2000 program are so narrowly drawn and almost contradictory, that no student can meet the requirements. Look at them:

REQUIREMENTS:

• Fifth-year senior who has met all graduation requirements except senior math and English or who is working to pass the GHSGT

• Must have employment potential

• Must be able to follow at least two-step directions

• Able to read at a second-grade level or above

• Have no more than three unexcused absences or 10 tardies in the previous two semesters

• Have no recent behavior record

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

You have to be a fifth-year senior, i.e., you have to have flunked (PC term: "held back") the twelfth grade. But then they throw another obstacle in there: you have to be satisfactory in social science, PE, science, arts, and whatever other requirements there are. So a person who managed to pass English but not history is out of luck.

And, let's face it, the subjects that trip us the most people on graduation tests are the sciences, so that cuts out a lot of potential program fodder.

And isn't it a bit scary to think that we have some fifth-year seniors around who read at a second or third grade level. If so, they are eligible for the program.

And the number of fifth-year seniors who had fewer than three unexcused absences in their second semester of their fourth year would seem to me to be very small.

Let's ditch this program and save us all some money.

Little Lamb
49247
Points
Little Lamb 04/30/12 - 12:54 pm
0
0
I'm not sure about the

I'm not sure about the Georgia math requirements or the Richmond County math requirements, but when I went to high school, you had to have only two units of math to graduate. There were many, many students who graduated and went on to be successful businessmen (and women), government bureaucrats, lawyers, corporate managers, etc., who never took a "senior" math class in high school. yet, being deficient in "senior math" is a requirement for the program. Could it be that this requirement is excluding many candidates?

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