How VR works in partnership with community colleges to engage the dual-customer
Cynthia Fairwell, Delaware DVR Business Relations Manager and Sandra Miller, Delaware DVR Transition Coordinator discuss Delaware DVR’s partnership with Delaware Technical and Community College (DTCC). Delaware DVR participated in a Community of Practice focused on community college, VR, and business partnerships that have emerged from the field to address gaps in access to training opportunities for people with disabilities.
Read more about the practices and challenges that other states shared in this Community of Practice: “Vocational Rehabilitation and Community College Customized Training Partnerships: Practices and Challenges”.
Delaware DVR and DelTech Supported Education Partnership
Delaware Technical and Community College (“DelTech”) is the only community college in the state, with four campuses statewide. Sandra explains how Delaware DVR and DelTech’s collaborative Supported Education program was initiated. The Supported Education program offers the opportunity for students with disabilities who test into pre-college level courses to access additional supports and advance to college-level courses or enroll in certification programs.
Engaging Students with Disabilities
The Supported Education program helps students with disabilities stay engaged in school who might otherwise not have access to education and career exploration resources. DVR and DelTech work with students to provide various education and training options and pathways to stay engaged with VR.
DVR Counselor Connection with DelTech
DVR Transition Assistants work as liaisons to DelTech and provide individualized support to students. DVR’s presence on DelTech’s campus improves student access to VR support.
Non-Academic Transition to College: Workshops at DelTech
DelTech and Delaware DVR developed workshops for students about budgeting, navigating social media, talking to instructors about disability, talking to the campus ADA Coordinator, and making healthy decisions. Delaware DVR and DelTech plan to bring these workshops into high schools to prepare students for the non-academic challenges involved in the transition from high school to college and adulthood.
Delaware DVR and DelTech Partnerships with High Schools
The Supported Education program is currently offered to college students only. DelTech offers certificate training programs and provides specialized training to high school students. DVR also met with transition staff from school districts to discuss how to bring more of DelTech’s non-academic college preparation workshops to high school students.
Engaging Business to Develop Certification Training Programs
DelTech is well-connected to the Delaware Economic Development Office and works with business to develop training programs to suit business needs. DelTech creates regionally-specific, industry-recognized certification trainings for students. The Supported Education program helps prepare students for college level courses. The DelTech certification training programs help prepare students for careers and develop career pathways.
“DelTech has always been very forward thinking in terms of the way they work with business”
Examples of Training Programs at DelTech for VR Consumers
Some of the most popular certification training programs at DelTech include programs in early childhood education, manufacturing, and healthcare.
How DVR and DelTech Maintain their Partnerships
DelTech is a great place for VR consumers to start a college degree or career pathway. DelTech prepares students for college through supported education and for careers through its certification and degree programs. DVR and DelTech stay connected at the agency staff level and at the state level through the Department of Education, Department of Labor, Career and Technical Education, DVR and DelTech.
“We’re getting more of a systems change to align our systems to work together in Delaware”
WIOA’s Impact on DVR and DelTech’s Relationship
WIOA will encourage DVR and DelTech to work with high school students to introduce students to career and education information and prepare them for work experience earlier. Introducing college and certification training options to students in high school will help them make informed choices about their future careers.
Who are the voices Informing DVR and DelTech’s Partnership Programs?
DVR meets regularly with students, families, schools, and counselors working on the local, day-to-day operations level to inform the state-level players making systems changes. DVR also meets with local businesses and Career and Technical Education to connect business needs with the needs of students with disabilities.