What are the Transition Program Courses?
What are the Transition Program Courses?
The basic areas of the Transition Program’s vocational component are: clerical, mailroom, shipping and receiving, facilities and maintenance, and retail. Courses offered correspond to the student’s vocational career choice. Students focusing on office support training will prepare for entry level employment as office assistants, data entry clerks and receptionists. A focus on business support training will prepare students for positions in shipping and receiving, facilities and maintenance, stocking, retail and mailroom.
All required Transition courses are separate from the regular college course offerings and taught only by Transition faculty. However, students are able to access all other facilities of the college (e.g.: library, cafeteria, bookstore, fitness center, etc.) Transition students are integrated into all available student activities, clubs and functions and, upon graduation, participate in the Middlesex Community College commencement exercises.
Students attend classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday. In addition to the classwork, students work in unpaid internships on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The internship experience provides the students with the opportunity to practice and further develop their skills in “real life situations.” Students do not earn money at their internships because they are receiving training. In some cases, students may be offered employment over the winter or summer vacations.
The Transition Program is not an academic remediation program. Consequently, course requirement do not include research papers, final exams, and lengthy text book reading assignments. Rather, the program prepares students in vocational training and teaches independent living skills. Curriculum and teaching techniques are geared toward practical, applicable work and life skills with the goal of preparing our students to work and live independently as adults.
The Transition Program has its own full-time and part-time instructors to develop and teach courses. Most staff has a background in special education or social work; others have a business background, with a commitment to individualized instruction. Courses are designed to allow students to progress at their own pace; this is achieved through a combination of small group and individualization.
TRANSITION PROGRAM - COURSE DISTRIBUTION REQUIREMENTS
FIRST YEAR - FALL SEMESTER
Basic Consumer Economics: This course is designed to teach students basic consumer skills needed for independent living. Topics include: personal banking, opening and maintaining a checking account, budgeting for future expenses, and price/quality comparison shopping. Basic math and calculator skills are also reviewed and reinforced.
Foundations I: This class is designed to provide instruction in strategies to compensate for specific skill area weaknesses in reading, comprehension and written communication needed for success in the workplace. Also, the course is designed to introduce students to a variety of office tasks through an office/business simulation format and to assist them in learning the new concepts and skills being taught in their class and at their internships. Students work independently and they have the opportunity to focus on individual problem areas when needed. (1st and 2nd semester)
Social Development: In this course students work to become more aware of themselves as individuals, and develop a strong and confident identity. They define their values, opinions, and interests. Students become aware of their own personality traits and look at how they are seen by others. Students also develop skills for participating effectively in group discussions.
Basic Office Practice: This course provides an introduction to computer keyboarding and alphabetical and numerical filing. Emphasis is placed on learning to use the correct finger reaches. For some students, this will be an introduction to keyboarding, for others it will be a skill-building course. The following skills are emphasized: Keyboarding, filing, proofreading and organizational skills.
Internship Seminar I: In this weekly seminar, students deal with situations/issues that arise during their internships, and they learn and practice “job survival” and “job success” skills. Students learn how to communicate and get along with supervisors and co-workers, as well as, how to handle criticism and stress. The class also focuses on good work attitudes and work habits and behavior appropriate to the workplace. Students are required to submit a weekly journal describing what they have done at their internship site that week. (1st and 2nd semester)
FIRST YEAR - SPRING SEMESTER
Introduction to Basic Business Math: This course is designed to teach students math skills and procedures used in the clerical and distribution areas of business. Students learn to perform calculations using hand held calculators as well as computers. They are also introduced to the use of spreadsheets using Microsoft Excel. Students work individually or in small groups to receive the appropriate level of instruction.
Foundations II: This continuing format is designed to provide instruction in strategies to compensate for specific skill area weaknesses in reading, comprehension and written communication needed for success in the workplace. Also, the course is designed to introduce students to a variety of office tasks through an office/business simulation format and to assist them in learning the new concepts and skills being taught in their class and at their internships. Students work independently and they have the opportunity to focus on individual problem areas when needed. (1st and 2nd semester)
Applied Office Practice: This course is designed to build on the keyboarding, filing, proofreading and organizational skills learned in Basic Office Practice. In addition, students are introduced to Microsoft Word. Based on individual abilities, students learn to word process a variety of documents such as reports, business and personal letters, memos, tables and envelopes.
Communication Skills: In the second phase of the Personal/Social skills curriculum, students develop skills in written, verbal and non-verbal communication. They practice listening skills and learn how to understand non-verbal messages. They practice introductions, giving directions, writing social letters, and taking and giving phone messages. They learn assertiveness techniques and how to be persuasive and make polite refusals. They develop skills in speaking in front of a group.
Internship Seminar II: In this weekly seminar, students deal with situations/issues that arise during their internships, and they learn and practice “job survival” and “job success” skills. Students learn how to communicate and get along with supervisors and co-workers, as well as, how to handle criticism and stress. The class also focuses on good work attitudes and work habits and behavior appropriate to the workplace. Students are required to submit a weekly journal about their weekly internship experience.
SECOND YEAR - FALL/SPRING SEMESTER
Applied Consumer Economics and Using Community Resources: In the Fall, the focus in “Applied Consumer Economics”, is to provide experiences that teach students skills needed to live independently. Topics include: managing personal finances, consumer education, locating and furnishing an apartment, the responsibilities of being a tenant and roommate, establishing utilities, basic home repairs, food shopping and budgeting. In the Spring semester, the primary goal in “Using Community Resources” is to familiarize students with the process of using the resources in their own community to benefit themselves. Primary resources are accessed through the Internet. Topics include: how to locate information for a job search, as well as utilizing newspapers, schedules, directories, libraries and government agencies, and an understanding of personal and consumer law. (1st and 2nd semester)
Personal Development and Communication Skills: The Fall course emphasizes getting along with others. Topics covered include developing conversation skills, maintaining friendships, and managing anger appropriately. In the Spring, students learn techniques for stress management and a healthy lifestyle that will put them in the best position to find a job that is right for them. In preparation for job interviews, students learn to describe their learning disabilities and strengths, and learn to use the phone appropriately as part of a job search. (1st and 2nd semester)
Internship Seminar III & IV: In this weekly seminar, students learn the skills necessary to make the transition from interns to full or part time employees. Topics covered include: assessing personal job skills, becoming familiar with job search vocabulary and individual descriptive words, using job resources to locate appropriate work opportunities, developing a resume, writing cover letters, completing applications, attending a job fair, and interviewing for a job. Students also have the opportunity to apply problem-solving techniques to specific job-related issues at their internships. (1st and 2nd semester)
Business Support Skills I & II: This two semester course expands training in a variety of business support skills with an emphasis on computer skills. Students learn to access and create a variety of documents, learn the basics of data entry and data retrieval using Microsoft Word, Excel and Access and complete forms using business software. (1st and 2nd semester)
Foundations III & IV: In this class students continue to work on the new concepts and skills being taught in their classes and at their internships. Computer work is emphasized. Students work individually and practice skills through a variety of projects. Students also have the opportunity to produce documents (resumes, letters), which are necessary for a successful job search. (1st and 2nd semester).