Pre-ETS & Intellectual Point’s STEM Workshops
By contributor Lyan Ware
Pre-ETS stands for Pre-Employment Transition Services, a program intended to provide differently abled students with career exploration and skill development—both soft and technical. The program is federally funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and is administered by vocational rehabilitation agencies like the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI). The program helps prepare students for the transition from high school to a post-secondary career path which could include post-secondary education, training, or employment.
To be eligible for Pre-ETS, a student must have a documented disability, be enrolled in an educational program, and be between the ages of 14 and 22. It is free and does not use the family’s household income or resources to establish eligibility.
How does Intellectual Point help?
Since 2015, Intellectual Point has developed a rewarding partnership with Tish Harris of DBVI to craft and deliver innovative STEM workshops on fun, cutting edge topics in technology. In more recent years, we’ve also partnered with Virginia’s Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) to expand our clientele. Some of our most popular offerings include 3D Innovation & Printing, Drone Programming, Power Up Your Robotics with Robomaster, and Practical Threat Hunting with Splunk & Data Science. In an effort to keep up with the vanguards of the fast-moving tech industry, Intellectual Point is constantly updating our workshop content to provide students with the most current and lucrative vocational trends. Our relationship with DBVI’s Pre-Employment Transition Services and Career Pathway Coordinator Tish Harris continues to be instrumental in ensuring that our services provide much-needed enrichment to an often-neglected demographic.
Pre-ETS Goals that our STEM Workshops accomplish:
- Our programs offer vocational discovery and exploration within the tech industry and STEM fields.
- Instructors create content that informs students on possible STEM career pathways.
- We simulate real-world workflows, create interactive lab environments, and facilitate hands-on skill application activities, offering students a glimpse into non-traditional and innovative occupations.
- We mentor students on proper workplace behavior and workplace readiness skills: Zoom etiquette is reinforced and modeled to prepare students for remote and hybrid work environments.
- Students are encouraged and reinforced when they independently demonstrate self-advocacy skills such as disability disclosure and asking for help and/or accommodations.
- In addition to technical skills, we help develop interpersonal and independent living skills by having our instructors model and reinforce functional communication, time management, teamwork, conflict resolution, empathy, problem solving, and professionalism.
- Instructors consult students on outside resources and programs that encourage further exploration and development of the technical skills they learn about in our sessions.
These workshops, aligned with Pre-ETS goals, go beyond traditional education. Driven by the shared commitment of empowering differently abled students, this collaboration between Intellectual Point and Pre-ETS providers has proven to be a dynamic force in preparing them for a successful transition from high school to post-secondary pathways. By offering engaging STEM workshops, Intellectual Point not only imparts contemporary technical skills but also fosters vocational curiosity in high-demand STEM fields, opening a multitude of doors to possibilities they may have previously thought were closed to them.