Richmond Hill High School partners with Institute for Career Development to launch new citywide program to help students with disabilities

Richmond Hill High School program disabilities
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Richmond Hill High School and the Institute for Career Development (ICD) announced a partnership on June 21 to launch a new citywide initiative to help students with disabilities transition from school to a career. 

The partnership completes the 2022 two-school launch of the initiative that begins with two New York City schools and will grow to be citywide to help students. The other school — announced on March 30 — is Discovery High School in the Bronx. 

ICD provides vocational evaluation, career planning services, job skills training programs, internships and job placement services to youth and adults with disabilities.

“ICD is excited to be working with Richmond Hill High to launch this much-needed new initiative,” said Diosdado Gica, ICD president of programs and operations.

Richmond Hill High School Principal Neil Ganesh said that the school is excited to help launch the new citywide initiative. 

“We are pleased that the benefits will start to flow in the fall to our students. They will receive long-term, holistic support through their high school years and beyond that we expect will result in greater self-determination, better economic mobility and improved overall well-being,” Ganesh said. 

Tens of thousands of students with disabilities leave public high schools every year only to find themselves face-to-face with a gap where the services they depended upon to finish school had previously been. 

This new initiative, created by ICD, is designed to bridge this gap by providing services that will enhance college and career opportunities for youth with disabilities.

Through this initiative, the 105-year-old Institute for Career Development will work with high school students with disabilities to prepare them to make the jump to college or vocational training and start their careers. ICD staff members will serve as navigators for individual students to guide them around obstacles and over hurdles as they work toward building the skills needed to launch fulfilling careers.

ICD identified this citywide gap in support for youth with disabilities while working with the nonprofit consulting firm, The Bridgespan Group, on a new strategic plan and is now shifting its focus to bridge that gap. 

ICD has similarly adjusted its focus at different intervals in the past, always retaining its commitment to people with disabilities but adapting to contemporary priorities. Most recently it has focused on vocational evaluation, career planning, and job training and placement primarily for adults with disabilities.

Joseph McDonald, ICD president of development and communications, said the new initiative will help students with disabilities to better understand how to advocate for themselves and successfully navigate their way through the complex systems of services and support available to them after they leave school.  

“It offers enormous potential to build the self-confidence, resilience and agency that they will need to continue overcoming the biases and barriers to employment that they will face as adults,” McDonald said.