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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jul 01, 2017

Holmdel Schools Build Partnership with Bell Works

In the winter of 2008, a group of Holmdel educators and community members came together with the goal of preparing students with intellectual disabilities to complete their education with a sense of a direction and a skill level that would allow them to successfully transition to community life. Thus, the district’s Student Transition Readiness Independent Vocational Experience, or “STRIVE” Program, was born.

Through an ongoing collaborative effort of educators from across the district, the STRIVE program has since then been helping students to develop work skills in a realistic work environment, in offices and other workspaces in the district schools. The program gives students the basic job skills and behaviors needed to transition to life outside of school. From developing a resume, interviewing for jobs, and learning how to self-advocate to learning and practicing effective workplace habits, the program has continued to expand over the years.

Until now, the students’ workplaces have been within the district’s schools, where they assist office personnel and the parent-teacher groups with various tasks, but with the rebirth of Bell Works and through the efforts of the district’s new Transition Coordinator Doreen Riegal, STRIVE recently took a big step forward. On June 7, the district celebrated a new partnership, with students “working” in positions throughout the Bell Works facility, such as delivering mail and performing other tasks.

As one of the individuals who has, for the last several years, served in the capacity of providing “job interviews” for STRIVE students, Superintendent Dr. Robert McGarry said, “We are thrilled to be initiating this first partnership with Bell Works. The renaissance taking place within this facility is already proving to be a great opportunity for our students as learners. I just know that the staff is going to find that they can’t function without these amazing young people and it is our hope that this may lead to employment opportunities for these students when they graduate.”