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Niagara Wheatfield gets nearly $300,000 state grant to launch career-track program for disabled students

SANBORN – A state grant of nearly $300,000 has been awarded to the Niagara Wheatfield Central School District to run a program to help disabled students make transitions to careers.

The $299,550 grant for career development and occupational studies is designed to assist students with individualized educational programs to create a career plan, take related course studies, prepare an employment profile and develop work-readiness skills, with the goal of entering the workforce after high school.

Timothy P. Carter, high school principal, and Patrick M. Canfield, director of special education and student services, told the board that the program is geared toward “increasing opportunities for special needs students” to establish vocations. The program would be run through the district in conjunction with Orleans-Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

Under the program, eligible students would complete about 216 hours of coursework and try to participate in internships. This would result in a long day for most students, with the programs ending at 6:45 p.m., according to the presentation.

The grant would fund a half-time transition coordinator and half-time job developer, as well as a career path academy.

The district would receive the money on an annual basis for the next three years.

Initially, the program was expected to begin in September, but because of state budgetary problems, the awards were delayed.

Carter and Canfield said they hope to have the program by January.