It all started with a parent
The pilot launch of Digitability’s Work-Ready Skills Training Program at Blue Valley North all started with a parent of a student with neurodiverse needs.
After Karen Embry discovered Digitability and learned how the program could help her and other students with neurodiverse needs gain their independence, her excitement quickly led her to become a strong advocate for the program. Next, she reached out to her daughter’s teacher at Blue Valley North to get a free demo of Digitability.
“Digitability is a perfect example of what can happen when outstanding educators, parents and community partners join efforts to ensure innovative technology and enlightened attitudes provide more students the opportunity to succeed in today’s marketplace.” –Karen Embry, Parent of student with neurodiverse needs at Blue Valley North
The #1 school district in Kansas
Blue Valley Unified School District is the #1 rated school district in Kansas, and during our demo with the team at Blue Valley North it was obvious why -- their strong enthusiasm for how Digitability can lead to jobs for their students with neurodiverse needs in our tech-driven and highly social workplace said it all.
In fact, there’s a number of reasons why Blue Valley USD is #1. A teacher who will be piloting Digitability said, “While we have many great programs here, it is the strong community and relationship between neurotypical and neurodiverse students that makes us shine. Our students even volunteer to work with neurodiverse students.”
Launching the Digitability pilot program
After Blue Valley North had their demo, their team decided to bring Digitability’s Work-Ready Skills Training Program to their school through a pilot, with the intention of growing the program in the region.
For the recent pilot launch event, Michele (Founder & CEO) and Kayla (Technology Integration Specialist) from Digitability flew out to Overland Park to lead the Blue Valley North team to a deeper understanding of the many resources and features of Digitability.
Digitability met with special educators, administrators, parents and transition coordinators who all showed a high level of enthusiasm for the program. It was encouraging to see the overall eagerness and excitement from all stakeholders for Digitability’s Work-Ready Skills Training Program.
A peek into how Digitability trains program facilitators
During the training, the Blue Valley team brainstormed ideas for ways to incorporate the community into the students’ first workplace simulation using Digitability. Participants also engaged in an activity to practice appropriate and inappropriate online behavior.
As a group, they had to decide what information and content should remain public vs. private in context of the workplace and online.
Building partnerships with employers in Kansas
As you can see in the photogallery, while in Kansas, Digitability met with major corporate stakeholders in nearby Kansas City, like Sprint and Hallmark at their corporate headquarters.
One of the purposes of our meeting was to learn more about Sprint and Hallmark’s neurodiversity efforts and their specific workforce needs. These early conversations focused on the positive impact of employing people with neurodiverse.
“We’re excited to learn more about the core functions of the job roles at these companies. Knowing what kind of help organizations like Sprint and Hallmark need, helps us develop a path that leads to real-world work experience and careers for neurodiverse students,” said Michele McKeone, Founder and CEO of Digitability.
“The future for Digitability, Blue Valley USD, and state of KS is clear. For this partnership, our key focus is on building an ecosystem of educators, employers, government stakeholders to change the status quo of staggering unemployment among people with cognitive disabilities, beginning in the Kansas City area,” said Michele McKeone, founder and CEO of Digitability.
Get a free demo of Digitability
If you’d like to learn more about Digitability's Work-ready Skills Training Program, you can request a free demo.
This story was written by David Cohen, Digitability’s Digital Marketing Director. David is an advocate for tearing down the walls and bureaucracies that prevent people with cognitive disabilities from gaining their independence in our tech-driven economy.