iGROW ProjectI Generate Rural Opportunities for Work
The intended outcomes of iGROW is to provide students with disabilities pre-employment training and workplace readiness activities that will support students with disabilities within the rural area with pre-employment skills. In addition, the iGROW project will serve as a demonstration and model of pre-employment training for rural areas that can lead to change while advancing pre-employment training for rural youth at the state level. The first iGROW site is located in Lee County, Texas. The Center on Disability and Development (CDD) at Texas A&M University has collaborated with local schools, families, businesses, and partnered with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Vocational Rehabilitation (VR).
- 16 Pre-Employment Skills lessons via the NextUP Transition curriculum,
- Person-centered planning with a goal of employment provided by trained facilitators. The PCT Facilitators will design and provide activities for students to identify career goals, social and independent living skills necessary for that career, as well as the steps necessary to reach their goals. Students will practice self-advocacy skills with the support of project staff and trainers throughout the development and dissemination of their plan. Developing a person-centered plan with a goal of employment will lead to the pursuit of a career, rather than just a job. The Person-Centered Plan for employment is much more than a road map that supports and guides students toward their career goals. This training helps students gain autonomy for their own lives and planning and teaches them to create and communicate their own employment goals.
- Career/College Exploration Enrichment Opportunities such as presentations from local business owners and employers and college campus visits
- (1) Summer work and/or (2) Summer Camp with a focus on leadership, career/college exploration, independent living as approved by the VR Counselor. Student will apply for participation in one of the youth leadership and pre-employment summer programs or work-based learning opportunities in their county.
- Parent and community training will be offered as well as opportunities for transition-related agencies and organizations to share information with the community.
The program focuses primarily on four of the five core Pre-ETS areas, which include:
- Counseling in post-secondary educational programs or college level courses
- Job Exploration Counseling
- Workplace Readiness training to develop social skills and independent living
- Instruction in self-advocacy
Check out our on-air advocate broadcasts for iGROW: Meeting the needs of Texas Youth with Disabilities in Rural Communities and watch our program video.
Outcomes from Year 1 (Spring – Summer 2022)
- 19 students who have received Pre-Employment Transition Skills (Pre-ETS) instruction with teachers,
- 19 students who finished up their first person-centered plans with goals for employment this spring,
- 17 student applications were submitted for Summer Earn and Learn (SEAL) program with the Texas Workforce Commission and all of those 17 students will be working this summer via SEAL,
- 6 students will be participating in the Leadership Employability and Advocacy Project on the Texas A&M campus this summer, and
- 3 students will participate in the Youth Adventure Program on the Texas A&M campus this summer.
- Plus, we hosted a community/parent training in the community this spring.
- We hired a Program Coordinator, Angela Griffin
There is so much to be proud of here in Lee County!
Thank you to Local Employers
Thank you to our local businesses for working with us to host a student this summer. And thank you to the 5 educators who are working as transition educators this summer to support our students on the job. Thank you to our Lee County SEAL sites/employers!
Please share a “thank you” to these businesses for being willing to host a student for 5 weeks this summer and help them learn more about employability skills.
Local Summer Earn and Learn (SEAL) Business Sites:
Co-Director, Center on Disability and Development
Texas A&M University
School Leads and School Educators
Giddings iGROW Campus Contact
School Lead, Giddings ISD
Lexington iGROW Campus Contact
School Lead, Lexington Middle School
Lexington iGROW Campus Contact
School Lead, Lexington High School
Lexington Middle School
Lexington High School
Dime Box ISD
TWC: Vocational Rehabilitation
VR Counselor, Giddings ISD
VR Counselor, Lexington ISD
VR Statewide lead
VR Regional Manager