Goodwill Easterseals offers a program in Escambia and Okaloosa counties called High School High Tech, which provides services to students with disabilities in juvenile justice facilities, one of the most challenging populations we serve. We try to create meaningful opportunities for students that can be provided within the restrictions of a juvenile justice program.
Over the past two years, in collaboration with the Dept. of Juvenile Justice, we have recognized that the key to success for students goes far beyond basic work and soft skills. Students must leave the facilities with actual hard working skills to have a better chance of success in their home communities. We rose to that challenge and along with other community partners have been able to provide a wide range of industry certifications to students, including Oil Change & Tire Rotation, Fork Lift Operation, Safe Serve Food Handlers, Retail & Customer Service, Adobe Certified Expert, and Hospitality Certification. As a result, youth served in these programs have achieved a recidivism rate of 27%, well below the state average of 44%.
Last week, The Able Trust presented Goodwill Easterseals with a Guidepost Award for our commitment to providing School-Based Preparatory Experiences to incarcerated youth with disabilities, leading to more productive lives and community reintegration. The Guideposts for Success are nationally recognized and evidenced based guidelines for developing a successful secondary transition program for high school students with disabilities.
On behalf of our staff and the HSHT program, we are honored to have received this prestigious award and thank The Able Trust for recognizing our dedication to those we serve on the Gulf Coast.