High School/High Tech (HS/HT) is a national network of state and locally operated programs designed to provide young people with all types of disabilities the opportunity to explore jobs or further education leading to technology-related careers.
As one of the most promising comprehensive models for preparing youth with disabilities to explore careers in math science and technology, HS/HT effectively links youth to a broad range of academic, career development and experiential resources and experiences that will enable youth with disabilities to successfully meet the workforce demands of the 21st century.
Start a High School/High Tech program!
HS/HT sites are supported by both public and private funding and the cooperation of businesses, federal and state agencies, not-for-profit organizations, and local school districts. NCWD/Youth also provides support and information to the sites.
HS/HT programs depend on building coalitions for three reasons: supporting programs, promoting them, and providing financial and support staff for managing them.
Much of the work in launching and building a program must be done at the state and local levels. Various state government agencies set policy and allocate the essential resources, both human and fiscal, needed to establish and run a HS/HT program. But there is no lead organization designated to make HS/HT a priority. Many state agencies should have a vested interest in HS/HT’s success. The organization that takes the lead to establish a HS/HT program does not need to necessarily manage the effort. It is best to involve a wide range of agencies and organizations at the state and local levels in promoting the development of programs throughout the state. Different strategies work for different organizations but there are several suggested steps all start up programs should consider.
Steps in developing a local site
- Review the HS/HT Program Guide. Think about the needs of your community. How can the HS/HT model leverage the resources that are available in your area? Check above to see if there is a state-level HS/HT program to which your community can connect.
- Meet with the appropriate people in your community to determine the steps needed to gain the support of the school system, local employers, WIA providers, and others who should be involved at the local level.
- Organize a meeting to bring interested parties together to plan how to develop the HS/HT model in your area. Discuss the leadership of your site. Who will be the administrative entity? Will you have an advisory committee? Contact NCWD/Youth if you are interested in having a national representative attend.
- Develop a plan to provide the design features to youth with disabilities in your community. The plan should include timelines, partners, goals, outcome measures, and funding resources. During this process stay in close contact with partners or local organizations that can provide services to the students and assist with developing funding sources.
- Recognize the new HS/HT program by holding a kick-off event each year.
Featured High School/High Tech resources include:
- High School/High Tech Program Guide: A Comprehensive Transition Program Promoting Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math for Youth with Disabilities
- State Perspectives on Using the Guideposts for Success – South Carolina
- Florida’s High School/High Tech Program Profile