Transition to Community Employment: The Arc's TRACE Program
Transition to Community Employment Program (TRACE) is a 12-month work readiness program developed by The Arc of Luzerne County and delivered through Luzerne County Community College for individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and autism. The TRACE Program is funded through the PA Office of Vocational Rehabilitation as a qualified program through a Letter of Understanding (LOU). Students with disabilities can select the program and receive funds to attend. The Arc of Luzerne County submits monthly invoices to OVR detailing the dates of attendance and student accomplishments for each student approved for funding.
To date, we have successfully completed 5 classes and are currently hosting the 6th. Of the 40 graduates, 32 are currently gainfully employed at minimum wage or higher. In September 2017, the 6th class began with 17 students targeted to graduate in August 2018. It is our hope to add another class in the near future, and to refine our curriculum and make it available to agencies across Pennsylvania.
With funding provided by the Corporation on National & Community Service to The Arc of the United States, we are one of 10 chapters of The Arc across the country listed as a sub-grantee for the Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service Project. Our local partners include the Commission on Economic Opportunity, Pittston, Rotary, and WB Kiwanis. Together we have built teams of volunteers with and without disabilities to address the need of hunger in our community. Last year our volunteers gathered on MLK Day and packed boxes of food for approximately 225 low income senior citizens. In addition, several of our TRACE students assisted to prepare 1200-1500 meals 3 days per week for low income children in our community. It is our hope to expand on this project in 2018 to engage additional partners, volunteers with and without disabilities, with the goal of providing service to more individuals and families in need throughout our community.