Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – Students with disabilities, ages 16 – 21, will build top employment skills at free summer programs hosted live at 13 locations. The camps will take place various dates from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., some beginning on June 7.
The camps are sponsored by the Transition Program in the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
“This is going to be the BEST summer for students to learn how to be successful in future jobs!” Transition Coordinator Renee Sansom Briscoe said, including the acronym for Building Employment Skills for Today.
“We are definitely looking forward to working with young jobseekers in person,” Briscoe said, adding that COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place.
BEST camps are scheduled on various dates from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, in Canadian Valley/Yukon, Edmond, Goodwell, Lawton, Muldrow, Muskogee, Norman/Moore, Oklahoma City, Owasso, Pauls Valley, Stillwater, Tulsa and Weatherford.
Pre-registration is required.
BEST camps will focus on preparation for real life careers with job search activities, work readiness, employment access and career opportunities as well strengthening networking and pre-employment transition skills.
“Our goal is to get Transition students engaged and ready for employment success,” Briscoe said.
Participants will include current DRS clients and those who are potentially eligible for employment services through DRS’ Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SBVI).
VR and SBVI counselors and Pre-employment Transition Services, or Pre-ETS specialists, will lead and coordinate activities at each location. Pre-ETS specialists are employed all year through a DRS’ contract with the National Center for Disability Education and Training (NCDET) at The University of Oklahoma Outreach. OU Pre-ETS will provide lunch for BEST participants.
DRS Transition provides career planning and employment services to prepare students with disabilities for employment, post-secondary education and life after high school. Services may include career counseling, vocational evaluation, work adjustment training, on-the-job training, work study, and job development and placement.
BEST is one many programs DRS offers in partnership with other agencies, public school systems and community organizations.
The National Center for Disability Education and Training at The University of Oklahoma Outreach provides Pre-Employment Transition Service (Pre-ETS) activities to high school students with disabilities. Pre-ETS-career focused preparation activities include job exploration, work-based learning, workplace readiness, self-advocacy and post-secondary counseling.