The Department of Community and Human Services’ Developmental Disabilities Division recently hosted its annual Transition Resource Fairs. Held every March for the past seven years, the fairs support the School-to-Work program by informing and better equipping students and their families to prepare for a successful transition from school to employment and other community resources. The fairs were at Highline Community College on Saturday, March 1, and at Microsoft on Tuesday, March 4.
The fairs are intentionally held away from high schools—the message is about adult life in the community. Over 900 community attendees were served at these events, and both fairs continue to draw younger students and their families. This is a good indicator of the success of the Division’s efforts when “starting early” is the local motto for preparing for a successful transition.
With over 45 exhibitors at each event, ranging from government organizations to generic community resources and the employment service agencies contracted by School-to-Work, the fairs have evolved to mini-conferences by offering 12-16 one-hour sessions. Many opportunities were available so that students seeking employment and potential employers could meet one another.
The Transition Fairs are another reflection that the School-to-Work Program has really become the community’s program. The events are a growing success because of cross stakeholder collaboration ranging from the state DSHS partners, to school districts, community organizations, individual families and a major local employer who all pitch in the time and resources it takes to make it happen. A big kudos to Richard Wilson for collaborating with the partner organizations to put these fairs together, and thank you to the DDD staff who volunteered at the fairs. (Excerpted from DCHS’ Touching Base newsletter.)