Secretary Walker Tours L&I Summer Academy, Equipping Blind and Visually Impaired Students for Success in College and Employment

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

Are you a high school student preparing for life after graduation? Or maybe you’re a parent looking for resources to help your child with disabilities transition to adulthood? Look no further, because the Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) in Pennsylvania is offering an amazing opportunity for students who are blind or visually impaired.

The Summer Academy for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired, hosted at the Pennsylvania State University, provides a 10-day immersive experience that equips students with the skills they need to succeed in post-secondary education and competitive integrated employment. From mobility skills to study skills, assistive technology to career planning, this program covers a wide range of topics essential for independent living.

But it’s not just about skills development – the academy also offers students the chance to live on a college campus, eat in dining halls, and participate in team-building activities. This holistic approach ensures that students are not just learning skills, but also gaining valuable life experiences that will benefit them in the future.

What’s even more impressive is the support system in place for students at the academy. Resident Assistants (RAs), who are college students with human services-related majors, provide guidance and support to ensure that each student has a great experience. And the impact doesn’t stop there – some RAs have even gone on to work for the Department of Labor & Industry after graduation.

The commitment to supporting individuals with disabilities doesn’t end with the summer academy. Governor Josh Shapiro’s proposed budget for 2024-25 prioritizes services for Pennsylvanians with disabilities, including an additional $787,000 investment in vocational rehabilitation. With more than 50,000 individuals with disabilities receiving services through the vocational rehabilitation program annually, it’s clear that Pennsylvania is dedicated to creating opportunities for all.

So, if you’re a high school student interested in the Summer Academy for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired, or a parent looking for resources to support your child’s transition to adulthood, be sure to check out the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation’s programs. It’s a great example of how government can be a force for good, helping Pennsylvania families navigate the path to independence and success.

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