STEP Provides Real World Experience for Special Needs Students

3 years 10 months 1 week ago March 05, 2013 Mar 5, 2013 Tuesday, March 05 2013 Tuesday, March 05, 2013 6:17:00 PM CST in News
By: Emily Spain
Embed Code Copied

COLUMBIA - For Rock Bridge High School senior Jared Gulley, this year Boone Hospital is his classroom. He's working there for school credit thanks to a new program called STEP or Seamless Transition Through Enhanced Partnership. It's aimed at helping students with intellectual or developmental disabilities learn job skills. The hope is that the students will be able to make a smooth transition into the workplace after graduation.

"It will help me. A lot of people who employ people like people who can go out there and help and I have a lot of confidence while I'm doing this so that will help me too. I had confidence before, but I have even more now," Gulley said.

Columbia Public Schools joined forces with Boone Hospital and three other agencies to make the program a reality for six high school seniors.

"This has really helped them understand that it doesn't matter what the disability is they can be good as something and contribute to society just like the rest of us," said STEP coordinator Karen Morgan. Morgan's taught special education for 21 years and said this program is giving the students a chance to see themselves succeed.

"It's been very rewarding to see them become more independent," she said.

For Gulley's mom, Cynthia White, it's all about helping her son secure a positive future.

"To have him have that reality piece where he sees what would be required of him to be able to be self sufficient, that's really important to me as a parent to know that he'll have that ability to take care of himself and he sees it himself," White said.

While Gulley studies sterilization, Hickman senior Andrew Carter's main subject is sleep lab scrubbing.

"It's a hospital you know, people don't want to think you can get sick in a hospital," Carter said when explaining why his job to clean up the sleep labs is important. He said he's learning about "responsibility, dedication, (and) mostly teamwork."

Cleaning is the part of the lesson that's easy to see, but what you might miss is the elbow grease that goes into improving interpersonal skills.

"Communication with my staff and also with visitors and everything they're getting more comfortable," said Environmental Services Supervisor for the hospital Ryan Sobba. He helps supervise some of the students like Carter. "These kids have so much opportunity and potential that's out there for them. They can develop into great people and great workers also."

The hospital also provides a learning laboratory that removes the intimidating social circles you find in high school.

"This is probably the first time that some of them have truly felt accepted and truly felt successful because many times...they might have endured bullying, but here at the hospital they are accepted for who they are," Morgan said.

It's a culture of inclusion, where bosses become friends and where work beats going to school.

"Being with all these great people is the best part of my job," Gulley said.

Students in the STEP program will get help from an ACT Career Specialist when looking for permanent employment after graduation. The students do not get paid for their work, but instead receive school credit.

The STEP program earned the "Honorable Mention" for the Governor's Council on Disability 2012 Inclusion Award. The council will present the award on April 16 in Columbia. Another accomplishment to note; on Monday, a student in the STEP program found full-time employment.

 

More News

Grid
List
ST. LOUIS (AP)-Police are investigating after a 34- year-old man was found dead outside a hospital in north St. Louis... More >>
2 hours ago January 16, 2017 Jan 16, 2017 Monday, January 16 2017 Monday, January 16, 2017 10:51:26 AM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP)- St. Louis' fortunes may be looking up, thanks to a surprising surge in business startups. St.... More >>
3 hours ago January 16, 2017 Jan 16, 2017 Monday, January 16 2017 Monday, January 16, 2017 9:41:00 AM CST in News
COOPER COUNTY - Just before 5 a.m. Monday morning, the Cooper County Fire Protection District responded to a structure fire... More >>
4 hours ago January 16, 2017 Jan 16, 2017 Monday, January 16 2017 Monday, January 16, 2017 8:29:00 AM CST in Top Stories
CAMDEN COUNTY - Deputies took a suspect who stabbed three people Sunday into custody without incident. The suspect is awaiting... More >>
14 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 10:20:00 PM CST in Top Stories
BOONE COUNTY - The northbound lanes of Highway 63 near Hinton Road were closed after the engine compartment of a... More >>
15 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 9:49:07 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft are hoping to expan d services to Missouri customers... More >>
17 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 7:50:00 PM CST in News
GRANBY (AP) — Anoth er Missouri school district is c onsidering whether to join 18 others that have adopted a... More >>
17 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 7:46:03 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — Steven Hughes thought he found the perfect car for his family of five — until the title proving... More >>
20 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 4:59:00 PM CST in News
MARSHALL (AP) - Missouri authorities are searching for a suspected parole violator they say exchanged gunfire with a state trooper... More >>
20 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 4:27:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - A break in at popular downtown restaurant Cafe Berlin forced the restaurant to close Sunday, according to a... More >>
22 hours ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 2:19:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Mixed reactions came out of mid-Missouri Sunday as the weekend ice storm began to wind down. While... More >>
1 day ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 12:07:00 PM CST in News
LAKE OZARK - After being stuck indoors waiting for this ice storm to end, some people might be getting a... More >>
1 day ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 5:42:00 AM CST in News
MONTGOMERY COUNTY - A man died at the hospital after a car crash on I-70 Saturday night, according to a... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 9:45:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Room at the Inn, Columbia's emergency winter shelter, will remain open through at least Sunday morning due to... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 8:11:17 PM CST in News
FREDERICKTOWN (AP) — Authorities say a 74-year-old woman was killed in a house fire in southeastern Missouri's Madison County. ... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 4:22:00 PM CST in News
PLATTE CITY (AP) — Missouri authorities say one of 13 occupants of a van was killed when the vehicle crashed... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 3:29:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Works sent home all but eight members of its street crew Saturday afternoon because of the... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 2:43:00 PM CST in News
PULASKI COUNTY - A man was arrested after pointing a rifle at deputies and possibly endangering a female and several... More >>
1 day ago January 14, 2017 Jan 14, 2017 Saturday, January 14 2017 Saturday, January 14, 2017 2:43:00 PM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 53°
2pm 53°
3pm 55°
4pm 54°
5pm 53°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

1:00p
Days of Our Lives
2:00p
The Dr. Oz Show
3:00p
Dr. Phil
1:00p
Maury
2:00p
Judge Alex
2:30p
Judge Alex

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Celebrity Apprentice
9:00p
Timeless
7:00p
Howie Mandel All-Star Comedy Gala
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld