Employment First changing attitudes


A change is underway in how special needs students are encouraged to see their future and in how Pioneer Center teachers and administrators help them prepare for it.

Launched in 2012 through an executive order issued by Gov. John Kasich, Ohio’s Employment First initiative is designed to expose students with developmental disabilities to work possibilities at a younger age and help them choose a career path in the local business community rather than in a sheltered work environment.

The approach is more “person-centered,” said Pioneer Center Superintendent Rick Marriott, meaning that it focuses less on matching opportunities to the limitations an individual has and more on what that person wants to do.

“They are the center of the plan and we’re prioritizing that – what their wants, wishes and desires are – and we cater around that process in a little different way,” Mariott said.

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