Bridgeport Vocational Center is a unique learning environment for young adults with special needs ages 18 to 22 where they can develop and master the critical skills necessary for a successful transition from school to adult independence.
The program offers a structured curriculum that combines classroom instruction with real world application based on evidence that students learn best from this integrated approach. This one-of-a-kind program embeds core academics within community-based instruction and vocational education.
On the job training for young adults in community businesses:
- Job coaches to supervise off-site work in community business partnerships
- Department of Rehabilitation’s We Can Work program
- High staff/student ratio in work groups both on-campus and in off-site placements
- Career Counselor who facilitates successful transitions into adulthood.
- Multi-disciplinary team consisting of administrators, teaching staff, a career counselor, therapists, students and parents working together to ensure success for our young adults
- Concurrent enrollment in local colleges for students to explore college readiness and opportunities for further developing interests and hobbies in a typical and age-appropriate environment.
The Bridgeport Vocational ( Take out Education ) Center utilizes a school-wide framework based on the National Standards for Secondary Education and Transition. Instruction in core areas incorporates a balanced comprehensive program with a strategic selection of methodologies and curriculum. Explicit instruction is integrated with experiential learning providing meaningful instruction. Students at the Voc. Center have the opportunity to practice vocational skills within a variety of settings
The first step in the Career Development course is to identify through various assessments the student’s personal strengths, interests and preferences, which are next linked to viable employment opportunities. Students then gain experience with the practical elements of a job search and the application process. Career Development culminates in learning about accessing community resources as well as job placement. All students meet with a Career Counselor, who works with students individually in addition to collaborating with the team in developing and implementing a career plan. All young adults exit the Vocational Center with a professional portfolio that includes a cover letter, resume, thank you letter, references, an accommodation letter and resignation letter.
The Independent Living courses include the introduction, acquisition and practical application of essential concepts of self-advocacy, budgeting, independent skills for home and work, and recreation/ leisure activities. In addition to on-site instruction, the Center provides the opportunity for young adults to become familiar with and access community resources such as the Regional Center, Department of Rehabilitation, transportation, occupational centers and local community colleges. Students practice these skills during weekly Community Based Instruction and in their off-site jobs – both of which involve typical interactions with the community. The goal is to provide young adults with the skills necessary to achieve a higher level of independence.
These courses provide the introduction and practical application of personal responsibilities, health, hygiene and sex education so that young adults are prepared for adult-themed social situations and expectations. Also included in adult living is instruction with regard to appropriately navigating social media in a manner that protects one’s privacy and vulnerability. Activities in which theses skills may be practiced include social settings such as school dances and the prom.
Vocational training provides hands-on learning experiences through on-campus businesses as well as work training at off-campus sites. The goal of these work experiences is to teach students basic job skills in addition to specialized skills, such as customer service, food preparation, money management, inventory and accounting.
Vocational training and on and off-campus businesses include:
- Office Solutions
- Managing the campus’ Student Store
- Baking and other food preparation
- Operation of school cafes
- Monthly retail events in conjunction with Silverlining Designer Resale Boutique & Student Training Center (remove) and add Fluff and Fold – laundry business
- Campus newspaper
- Retail design and crafting such as card-making and jewelry-
- Operation of School Library
- PAES (Practical Assessment Exploration Program) Lab
Through the Department of Rehabilitation’s We Can Work Program all students are paid for their work, either on-campus of off-site, up to 100 hours per year.
The Center provides students who are getting ready to graduate with the opportunity to do off-campus internships. These internships provide a realistic, meaningful work experience, with the hope that they may lead to gainful employment.
Students have the opportunity to apply for a number of interest-based jobs. Upon completion of the application, the Career Counselor interviews each student to match his or her strengths and interests with available positions. Once this process is completed, a team of 2 to 3 students and their job coach commute to their job site. At the end of 12 weeks, the students are able to apply at another site to broaden their experience.
Throughout the internship experience, students are continuously working on improving social skills, asserting self-advocacy and making a connection with their co-workers and supervisors. Goals may include learning the store manager’s name, greeting a fellow employee, learning a new task, asking for help, etc. Off-campus internships provide students with work training in the most realistic setting possible, enabling them to take these skills and apply them to a job once they leave the Bridgeport Vocational Education Center.
Currently, students are interning at the following sites:
- One Generation
- NAPA Auto Parts
- Best Buy
- Our local state senator’s office
- Sharkey’s Restaurant
- Pit Fire Pizza
- Pinz Bowling Alley
- B & B Hardware
Social Skills and Team-Building Activities
The Bridgeport Vocational Center offers many opportunities to support social skills throughout the school day. Working side-by-side both on-campus and off-site, students practice appropriate social interactions to master and generalize concepts, which in turn improves their self-esteem.
The Super Skills’ “Steps to Success” are published each week in the campus newsletter. Families are able to practice and reinforce the same skills teachers are working on during the week. Teachers use a developmental approach and may utilize students who move at faster pace as role models or peer mentors to the other students.
At the Center, our students participate in team-building activities designed to develop and improve the following areas:
- Conflict resolution – problem solving and negotiating
- Peer and work relationships
- Stress management
The final outcome is for students to be able to practice and master these skills in the comfort of a school setting and then to generalize them at work and at home.
The Career Counselor plays an integral role in helping the students plan as they progress though the program. Each student meets with the Career Counselor as needed during the school year to review progress towards his/her goals. The Career Counselor also initiates collaboration with various businesses and local agencies to assist students in making a smooth transition from school to the work world.
Part of the role of the Career Counselor is to conduct yearly interest and ability assessments for each student. Based on the results, the Career Counselor works with the student and their family to plan an appropriate career path.
The Career Counselor, in collaboration with the teachers, will assist the student with their personal portfolio which will contain all the information to assist the student in their next step after graduation.
Pamela Clark, MA
Director of Schools
Principal – Sherman Oaks
Head of School
Principal – Culver City
* Certified by the California State Department of Education
Thank you for your interest in Bridgeport Vocational Education Center. Please click the button below to begin the application process. Be sure to submit any supporting documents (if you have them). Once completed, an admissions associate will be in touch within three business days. Should you have any questions, please email Patricia Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bridgeport Vocational Education Center recently acquired their own campus on the beautiful grounds of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys. For our young adult students, it is exciting to be at a new campus that is distinct from the site of their high school. This new campus symbolizes that they are embarking on the next chapter of their lives.
Van Nuys, CA 91405