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Future Transitions

Future Transitions

PSD offers its Future Transitions program, which is an exploration and transition preparation program for our high school students. Through structured associations on campus and with outside business and community partners, the program offers students work experiences to assist with career exploration and skill building in preparation for their ultimate walk through post-secondary education, adulthood, work and career. The program includes assessing skills and interests through classroom work and curriculum modules, which include media and financial literacy instruction, and, participating in mentor-ships, internships, shadowing, volunteer activities and community service projects. The classroom also provides the academic supports, and prepares the students to absorb and apply lessons learned from the experiences. Students are matched with on-campus and off campus internships where they are exposed first-hand to work environments and responsibilities. The exposures help guide the students toward careers and fields related to their emerging skills and interests. These involvements are also designed to demonstrate appropriate workplace behaviors, to build communication skills, self-confidence and self-advocacy, and to promote critical and creative thinking; overall, to begin to understand and navigate the work world. This initiative also helps students develop a virtual toolbox of talents and abilities; enables students to broaden their career exploration; and builds confidence and maturity. As well, the program links students and families to educational, community service and agency resources to further promote their continued growth and independence.

The Engage Academy Transition

Deaf students with developmental disabilities (including, cognitive delays, autism, ADHD, etc.), benefit also from the supportive environment of working in small teams with several PSD staff to develop hard and soft employment skills, prior to participating in individual internships. This pre-trainings can make all of the difference in enabling students who have independence potential to succeed. The Engage Academy’s transition focus is from 3rd grade through graduation with the goal of students with significant disabilities being job-ready for employment within their community at graduation.

Career interests explored include teaching, childcare, culinary arts, computer technology, maintenance & housekeeping, photography, art, auto mechanics, office administration/clerical, nursing, dance, and others. Check out this article and video about our program.

Our goals are to strengthen their awareness and understanding, and help the students recognize the strengths of their abilities; and not to be, or feel limited by any disability. The program teaches the importance and benefits of a strong work ethic, and how to advance and accomplish ones hopes, dreams and life goals.

Business & Community Partnerships

PSD partners with businesses, the community and agencies to offer internship and mentorship opportunities for the students. Students attend scheduled work experience sessions (weekly and/or monthly) offered by partner organizations. There is no charge to the community partner organization for their participation. PSD provides transportation, student supervision, communication support through a sign language interpreter and lunch for the students as needed. For more information, click here

Some of our partnerships are with the following:

  • Awbury Arboretum
  • The Free Library of Philadelphia
  • The Pennsylvania Ballet
  • Center in the Park
  • Mercy Health Systems
  • Art-Reach
  • Aramark
  • Culinart
  • Mid-Atlantic Health Care

For more information about how you can become involved to support this program, please contact Karen Leslie-Henry, Director, Continuing Education & Community Outreach, Voice 215-754-4772, VP 267-331-4349, or Cindy Sawyer, Director, Engage Academy, Voice/Text 309-533-4048,