Making Communications Connections

Photo of Transition Network classTransition Network, a program of Boone County Family Resources Life & Work Connections, educates young adults with developmental disabilities in an effort to increase their independence. The program continues into its second year of partnership with Columbia College this spring with the “Work It – Communications Connections” class. Six young adults served by the agency are paired with undergraduate Columbia College students who work together to learn and practice the communication skills necessary to prepare for future employment success.

“Although they are able to complete the job tasks in the workplace, social and communication skills are difficult for some of our students,” says Christi Brown, Life & Work Connections instructor for this course. “This semester’s class was designed to further develop the students’ communication skills especially as applied to the workplace.”

“I like the class,” says Dorothy, who has taken several of the Transition Network classes in the last year and a half. “I am learning a lot.”

Photo of class participation in Transition NetworkThe curriculum focuses on learning communication skills in a variety of methods such as lecture, videos, role play, and activities with each other and Columbia College student volunteers. The class has partnered with Dr. Teresa VanDover’s undergraduate class for Special Education students. The college class and the Work It class even meet together for some sessions where they partner together and practice preparing for interviews, and role play conversations with co-workers, supervisors and customers. They also work on telephone skills.

“Some of this, I already know since I have a job,” says Leanna. “But I am learning more.”

Christi says, “My favorite part of teaching the class is the activities. I like to make training fun and engaging. If the students are not enjoying themselves, they are not learning the skills necessary to reach their employment goals. Getting jobs – that’s what it’s about!”

Photo of students in Transition Network classFuture Transition Network classes planned for this summer include:

  • Apartment Planning – Students will learn about planning for their own apartment and skills to live on their own.
  • Financial Management for Living on Your Own – Students will learn what it costs to obtain their own apartment, long term budgeting and developing assets.
  • Columbia Transit-New Routes – Students will learn about the new Columbia Transit routes and review bus safety.
  • Exercise Groups – Students with physical fitness goals will get together for camaraderie and exercise.

It seems Christi’s down-to-earth style of teaching is reaching through to the students. Becca says she likes taking the Work It class. “It is a good class. Christi is fun. I am learning.”