Secretary Walker participates in L&I Summer Academy to support college and employment for blind and visually impaired students.

Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Visits High School Students Learning Independent-Living Skills

The Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is making a huge impact on the lives of high school students in Pennsylvania who are blind or visually impaired. Secretary Nancy A. Walker recently visited with 20 students who are participating in the Summer Academy for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired at Penn State. This program, run by L&I’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, has been helping students build independent-living skills since 2009.

The Summer Academy offers a 10-day immersive experience where students learn valuable skills that will help them succeed in post-secondary education and competitive integrated employment. Participants have the opportunity to live in a college dorm, eat in a dining hall, and take classes on mobility skills, study skills, assistive technology, and more. Each student receives a personalized report outlining their strengths and areas for growth.

One of the unique aspects of the program is the involvement of college students as Resident Assistants (RAs). These RAs, who are pursuing human services-related majors, provide guidance and support to the participants, ensuring that each student has a positive experience. In fact, some former participants have gone on to graduate from college and work for the Department of Labor & Industry.

The Summer Academy is not only providing valuable skills to students with disabilities but also creating a pathway for future professionals in the field of human services. It’s a shining example of how government programs can make a real difference in the lives of Pennsylvania families. Kudos to Secretary Walker and the entire team at L&I for their dedication to empowering students with disabilities and preparing them for success in the workforce.

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