STEP Program Celebrates Graduates

Photo of STEP graduates and supervisors

In May, the Seamless Transition through Enhanced Partnership (STEP) program held its second graduation send-off for the five young adults who participated in the program this year. The STEP program, a partnership between Columbia Public Schools (CPS), Alternative Community Training (ACT), Vocational Rehabilitation, Boone Hospital Center, Boone County Family Resources (BCFR), and Missouri Department of Mental Health Central Missouri Regional Office, is designed to improve employment outcomes for youth with developmental disabilities. Instead of completing their senior year at high school, these students spent the year on site at Boone Hospital.  Academic learning administered by CPS instructors in a classroom setting provided by the hospital was augmented by real-world work experience in various departmental internships.

Photo of Fahim and Graham working togetherAt the recognition ceremony, each of the students stood up in front of the packed conference room and delivered a presentation about their experiences working at Boone Hospital and what they learned from their internships. Here are some of their observations:

  • Brandon worked in the Central Services Department: “I learned responsibility and how to be a team player.”
  • Desmond worked in Patient Transport: “I learned how to communicate well with others and how to act appropriately on a job.”
  • Dominick worked in Environmental Services: “I learned how to problem solve and prioritize and the importance of coming to work on time every day.”
  • Fahim worked in WellAware as a Physical Therapist Aid: “This gave me more work experience and I learned to be the best worker I can be.”
  • Graham worked as a Supply Assistant: “I learned about taking initiative, being flexible and asking what I can do next.”

Photo of Brandon and the team he worked withAfter the presentations, Boone Hospital supervisors presented certificates of completion to each student and honored them for their hard work and dedication. At the time of the ceremony, four out of the five students had already successfully landed jobs in the community – the ultimate goal of the program. “Desmond is working at Schnucks; Fahim, Dominick and Brandon are working at Walmart,” said Mark Satterwhite, Director of Life & Work Connections at BCFR. “We are very proud of these students and the dedication they put into their internships, and congratulate them on their new jobs.”

“Our motto this year was ‘Believe in ourselves and have faith in our abilities,’” said Karen Morgan, STEP Program instructor from CPS. “The students all worked hard this year, believed in themselves and should feel very proud of their accomplishments. They are going to be missed by their co-workers.”