READY Program in high gear at Access Living

Access Living’s new READY Program is now moving full speed ahead. The Beatrice C. Mayer READY Program (Realizing Education and Advancement for Disabled Youth) prepares students with disabilities for college or employment. It is designed to address the significant outcome gap in employment between people with disabilities and non-disabled people. The program will equip young people with disabilities nearing high school graduation with the support and skills they need to make a successful transition to employment or higher education.

The Program launched last summer with a seven-week Kick Off Session at Access Living. The session ran in conjunction with “One Summer Chicago.” As part of the session, 13 students met at Access Living, where they engaged in a variety of skills development trainings, including Access Living’s Reaching Our Dreams Program and meetings with outside consultants who equipped students with skills and techniques to make them more employable. In addition, the students visited colleges and visited with prospective employers.

During the school year, Access Living READY Staff work with four area high schools, where staff teach a 10-week skills development course called T’NT (Teens in Transition). The high schools include Amundsen, Mather, Vaughn, and Southside Occupational. A total of 70 students, including 13 from the summer sessions, are now enrolled in the program. Once students finish the training, they will work one on one with Access Living Staff toward their goal of either attending college or securing employment. To this point, READY Staff have completed two 10-week Skills Development Courses and currently are running four additional 10-Week Courses.

Of the original 13 students from the Kick-Off Session last summer, three students returned to High School, three students entered college and are continuing education opportunity this fall with the READY Coordinator’s assistance, four students have identified employment opportunities with the READY Coordinator’s assistance, and three students continue to work with the READY Coordinators to identify employment. Congratulations to the READY Team for your early success.
Katherine Blank
READY Program Manager