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Developmental department at James Clemens to host open house on Tuesday

James Clemens High School developmental department will host an open house on Nov. 13.

“Come tour our school, meet our business partners and find out more about the community work-based education program designed to assist students with intellectual and cognitive disabilities transition successfully from high school to adult life,” special education teacher Jacqueline Wilson-Bradley said. She serves as liaison for teacher/community-based education.

From 5:30 to 6 p.m., experts from numerous service providers will answer questions and explain eligibility. Open house starts at 6 p.m.

Sen. Arthur Orr will deliver opening remarks on “the changing face of our society and the impact of employing people with disabilities,” Wilson-Bradley said. Representatives from Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, Phoenix Industries and The Westin Huntsville, among others, will attend.

Visitors will learn that the program benefits not only students but also businesses and the community. The event is intended for parents of students attending James Clemens and Liberty and Discovery middle schools. “However, it’s open to all parents of students with disabilities,” she said.

The program “is a conduit for community integration. It creates a symbiotic relationship between the school and business community,” Wilson-Bradley said. “Participation in the program has a positive impact on student’s self-efficacy.”

Students are enthusiastic about working at these businesses. “They work alongside employees, which helps to destroy stereotypes and preconceived notions about individuals with disabilities,” Wilson-Bradley said.

This school year, 23 students will be placed at job sites. Previously, Madison students have worked at The Westin Huntsville, Cintas, Huntsville Botanical Garden, Dominos, McAlister’s Deli, Belk, Burritt on the Mountain, Etcetera, HudsonAlpha Center for Biotechnology, Huntsville Marriott, PESA, U.S. Space and Rocket Center and 305th 8th Place.

Homewood Suites and Madison Hospital are new to the program this year. “We try to add at least two job sites each year,” Wilson-Bradley said. “We’re always looking for a business to partner with us — as either a group or individual job site.”

James Clemens PTSA will serve refreshments at open house. For more information, send email to jwilson-bradley@madisoncity.k12.al.us.

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