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St. Michael Special School’s new Exploration Academy will increase positive post-school outcomes for young adults ages 18+ with special educational needs. The program will create successful transition plans and help students access more independence-promoting opportunities through expanded career exploration, targeted job coaching and apprenticeships, continued growth of self-determination skills, HiSET (formerly GED) exam preparation, and expanded health and wellness education.

Exploration Academy will use a Work/Study approach in conjunction with Community-Based Training. Students will apply their Apprenticeship training in on- or off-campus settings where their skills are needed. The work/study cycle will enable students to strengthen their skills as they encounter real-world scenarios and/or challenges at work sites. Community-Based Training will be a key practice throughout work/study, enabling St. Michael’s Job Coaches to provide on-site instruction to help students successfully apply their skills. Community-Based Training is a critical practice as students with special educational needs often require assistance with Generalization Skills—the ability to complete a task, perform an activity, or display a behavior across various settings, with different people, and at different times, thereby increasing their abilities, independence, and self-confidence.

St. Michael also anticipates that Exploration Academy students will use Peer Mentoring throughout training in both on- and off-campus settings. More experienced students will provide practical training assistance for novice students participating in Apprenticeships, while offering support, encouragement, and sharing their own experiences.  Click here for more information.