Step Forward Celebrates June Graduation

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
 

GCC’s Step Forward Program graduated nine students in a June 10 ceremony. The non-credit program is a 10-month transition program for young adults (18-21) with mild cognitive disabilities; it focuses on interpersonal communication skills, career exploration and workplace readiness.
 
“Our students are from throughout the state. They come from Milford, Woodbridge, Branford, Orange, Stamford, Colchester, Madison and Westport,” said Program Director Jaime French.
 
This year’s Step Forward grads held internships at Barnes & Noble, Masonic Care at Ashlar Village and the Bruce Museum, among others. When not in class or participating in workforce readiness training, students are encouraged to attend campus activities and put interpersonal skills to use by giving tours to prospective students and parents. Several students also participated in the Pilot Program at the Kennedy Center in Trumbull. The program, operated with a grant from the DOT, is geared at training those with disabilities to safely and effectively use public transportation.
 
“One important aspect is to place emphasis on teaching students self-advocacy. We want students to know about the availability of resources and how to access them,” said French. The curriculum also focuses on vocational exploration, work site behaviors and communication and personal finance. Additionally guest speakers lecture students on nutrition and fitness.
 
Several of the grads will continue on to Step Forward II, for an additional 10 months, and will be engaged in college related course work and internships.

One student, Nick, wants to pursue studies in zoology, while another, Mark, will take classes in Business Office Technology. Matt is interested in computers. Another student, Monica has been hired as a peer mentor for the fall.
 
For additional information please contact Director Jaime French at (203) 285-2505 or jfrench@gatewayct.edu.