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Information Fair Helps Special Needs Students Transition To Adult Life


An event this Friday in Pensacola showcases services and opportunities for special needs students and graduates in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. It’s called the Transition Services Information Fair, and it will be held from 9:00 a.m. until noon at the Marcus Pointe Baptist Church, Building A, door number four.

"Our focus for this event is to provide some career opportunities and career exploration for our students who are looking for employment opportunities in the community." said Melinda Davidson, the Transition Specialist with the Exceptional Student Education Department for the Escambia County School District. She says the fair is specifically targeted to students who have been identified as having a physical or educational disability and have been learning through an Individualized Education Program. "A lot of the students that are attending are our juniors and seniors throughout the school district, and Santa Rosa County as well. And these students, they have been involved in some vocational training,  [and] job placement services."

There will be speakers talking about specific career paths at the fair including landscaping and horticulture, pet care, tourism and food service. There will also be opportunities for students to practice their job interview skills. "We have businesses throughout the community that have volunteered time for a representative to come in and to interview out students. This is going to help our students to prepare for the time when they do go into a business and actually apply for a position."

The Transition Services Information Fair has grown over the years and now includes several schools from Santa Rosa County, and representatives from over 35 service agencies ranging from ARC Gateway to the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities to the Epilepsy Foundation and many others. "The primary focus is just to get the information out about our community partners and the services that they have. It is to make our students aware of some of the employment opportunities that are available in our particular area. And also for employers to meet our students and for them to see and actually talk with them and go through that interview process."

Parents, Students and just about everyone else is welcome to attend the event, even if they are not special needs but just want some information about services in the area. 

Some of the agencies who have indicated they will participate (as of
March 1) include:
Agency for Persons with Disabilities
ARC Gateway
Arc Gateway Program for Adult Learning (PALS)
BRACE, Be Ready Alliance
Capstone Adaptive Learning & Therapy Centers, Inc.
Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD)
Center for Independent Living (CIL-DRC/FAAST/FTRI)
Children’s Home Society of Florida Youth Works
Disability Rights Florida
Division of Blind Services
Epilepsy Foundation of Florida
Escambia County Area Transit (ECAT)
Express Employment & Transitional Services
FDLRS Emerald Coast Child Find
FDLRS Emerald Coast
Families First Network - Foster Home Development
Families First Network - Adoptions
Family Care Council - Area One
Family Star Program (affiliated with Family Network on Disabilities)
George Stone Technical Center
Goodwill Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast
Global Connections to Employment, Inc.
Locklin Technical Center
Marcus Pointe Baptist Church
New Life Community Development Corp., Inc.
Parents of the Panhandle Information Network (POPIN)
Pensacola State College, Educational Opportunity Center
Power Employment Group, Inc.
Project 10: Transition Education Network, Un. of South Florida, St.
Project Search (Baptist Hospital/UWF)
Special Olympics Florida, Escambia/Santa Rosa County
Sutton Support Services, Inc.
Vocational Rehabilitation
West FL Regional Planning Council