SCRANTON — Graduating from high school and going to college or starting a career is a tough transition for any student, but on Wednesday in Lackawanna County, educators were focused on helping students with special needs find the right path after high school.
Danny Voyce’s parents and teachers at Abington Heights High School gave him the tools he needs to succeed on his own after he graduates this spring, something he says is still a little scary and confusing.
“Probably for what I would like to do after high school, like go to college or get a job,” he said.
Voyce and his mom came to Allied Services in Scranton to see which college program or job might be the best option. And there are a lot of options. About 20 vendors had booths at the career fair aimed for students with special needs.
Students and their parents learned about services to help them achieve their dreams.
“I want to work on cars and figure out how they run and how they go and all that,” said Chris Curtis from Carbondale Area High School.
This is the first year Allied Services has held a special needs career fair. They invited students from 10 different school districts in Lackawanna County. But organizers never expected a few hundred students to show up, which they say speaks to the need for a career fair like this.
“We are blown away by the amount of people that are here, but it just goes to show the community how important this is for disabled individuals,” said Joan Murphy of Northeast Educational Intermediate Unit.
Organizers say there’s often a disconnect between families of special needs students and the services, college programs, and jobs available to them. Their hope is that the fair makes it all seem more possible.
“There are these great individuals who can do so much. Focusing on their abilities and not what they can’t do is so important,” said Scranton School District teacher Lottie Olson.
Students left with lots of papers, plans, and hopefully a little encouragement.
Organizers for the career fair say they plan to make it an annual event.