Georgetown Edition | February 2022

There are 15 local businesses in six categories partnering with Bridges 18+ that act as job sites to refine skills or offer volunteer opportunities. The program will eventually be housed in the Future Ready Learning Complex with the capacity to double its current enrollment. COMMUNITY EFFORT

FUTURE READY LEARNING COMPLEX Design: funded by 2018 bond, finished spring 2021 Bid process: currently open, to be finished March 2022 Construction start: summer 2022 Open to students: 2024-25 school year Construction cost: $102 million

San Gabriel Presbyterian




GROCERY Work includes: stocking inventory, receiving



GISD Custodial



Mel's Lone Star Lanes

RESTAURANTS Work includes: food prep, busing tables, prepping tables, washing dishes


Georgetown Recreation Center

Double Dave’s Pizza

130 TOLL




RETAIL Work includes: folding, inventory, merchandising

18 Carrot Bakery

Academy Sports + Outdoors


East View High School


Hat Creek Burger Company

5 Below

Angie's Discount Groceries

Round Rock Area Serving Center

VOLUNTEER SERVICE Work Includes: preparing food, custodial work, setting up events


will give Bridges 18+ more capacity to enroll stu- dents, make job training more accessible and give students a new environment to focus on their goals. Currently, Bridges 18+ is held at Georgetown High School and East View High School. James Patton, associate professor of instruction at the University of Texas at Austin, said young adults with disabilities need three things to tran- sition into adult life well: obtaining meaningful and competitive work; learning in a college, work or home setting; and living independently within a community. Transition programs are designed to help with these factors, Patton said. “The goal of transition is to prepare students for life after school ends,” Patton said. “They need the knowledge, skill set and support that will allow them to be successful into adulthood.” Often young adults with disabilities need more help to transition into adult life than deciding what comes after high school, Patton said. An individual’s environment also plays a role, such as needing to live with family for an extended period of time. However, he said not all young adults with disabilities want to go to college and seek out work instead. “This transition process is more complicated than some people think,” Patton said. “To do it well requires a lot of really sound work. If I’m ever work- ing with a kid with special needs, I think beyond what is minimally required in terms of what they need.” HowBridges 18+ is helping adults with disabilities GISD launched its Bridges 18+ program in 2007 to help students with physical and intellectual disabilities transition into adult life. Students typ- ically graduate the program by the age of 22, but some complete the program before then, Bridges lead teacher Corey Graef said. The program has grown from five students in 2007 to 39 students in

the 2021-22 school year, Hull said. The program is not an extension of high school education. Instead, students visit various job sites to learn and practice certain skills, become famil- iar with how to use local resources and set indi- vidual goals. The program is centered around practicing basic and employable skills and getting involved in the community. In the morning, Bridges 18+ teachers and job coaches take students to visit various job sites the program partners with such as H-E-B, Just Love Coffee, Chili’s and Hat Creek Burger Co. Stu- dents complete tasks, such as cleaning tables, orga- nizing clothes or putting together to-go orders. “THIS TRANSITIONPROCESS ISMORE COMPLICATED THAN SOME PEOPLE THINK. TODO ITWELL REQUIRES A LOT OF REALLY SOUNDWORK. IF I’M EVERWORKINGWITHAKIDWITH SPECIAL NEEDS, I THINKBEYOND WHAT ISMINIMALLYREQUIRED IN TERMS OFWHAT THEYNEED.” JAMES PATTON, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF INSTRUCTION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN “It’s based on different industries such as retail, restaurants, grocery, volunteer and vocation cre- ation where they make resumes and job appli- cations,” Graef said. “They are getting real-life experience that will give them more employable skills.” Once students are finished with their job sites, they learn social skills to make friends as well as learn more about Georgetown and the local resources, Graef said.

HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY Work includes: custodial duties, greeting, event setup

INDEPENDENT LIVING Includes: healthy living classes



“Through individualized learning and setting aspirations and goals for students, we work to make that happen for them,” Hull said. “We see our students with limited skills or that need additional help to make that transition, and we help them become members of the community and teach them to serve the community.” The added space provided at the Future Ready Learning Complex will allow Bridges to grow from its current enrollment of 39 to a capacity of 80 all under one roof for the 2024-25 school year. Design for the complex was completed in spring 2021, according to a district spokesperson, with a bid deadline set for early March 2022 to allow for con- struction to begin as early as May of this year. Transitioning to adulthood Bridges 18+ is a transition program that helps young adults with disabilities move on from high school into adult life, Hull said. The new facility



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