Change Makers: A Podcast from APH

Transition Hub Turns 1

June 09, 2022 American Printing House Episode 54
Change Makers: A Podcast from APH
Transition Hub Turns 1
Show Notes Transcript

On this episode of Change Makers we are celebrating the Transition Hub 's one year anniversary. We’ll hear from a Transition Hub official and hear about all the many services and resources it provides and from a student advisory member who uses the Transition Hub regularly.

In this Episode (In Order of Appearance)

  • Jack Fox, Narrator
  • Sara Brown, APH Public Relations Manager
  • Richard Reuda, Digital Content Manager for APH ConnectCenter and CareerConnect
  • Paige Hammock, CareerConnect Student Advisory Member

Additional Links

Jack Fox:

Welcome to Change Makers, a podcast from APH . We're talking to people from around the world who are creating positive change in the lives of people who are blind or have low vision. Here's your host.

Sara Brown:

Hello, and welcome to Change Makers. I'm APH's Public Relations Manager, Sara Brown, and today, we're celebrating the Transition Hub. It turns one in July. We'll hear from a Transition Hub official and hear about the many services and resources it provides, and we'll also hear from a Student Advisory Member who uses the Transition Hub regularly. Up first, we're talking to Richard Rueda, Digital Content Manager for the APH ConnectCenter with CareerConnect. Hello, Richard, and welcome to Change Makers.

Richard Rueda:

Thank you, Sara. I'm happy to be here and talk all about the Transition Hub.

Sara Brown:

Can you explain what the Transition Hub is and the services and resources it provides?

Richard Rueda:

The APH ConnectCenter Transition Hub is the one-stop resource for those who are in high school and in college, who are looking for opportunities for work, experience and programs that will help boost their career advancement. The Transition Hub lists currently over 50 programs across the United States through a searchable database by region, by state, by , uh , location. By the way, the program is sponsored. It's the one page you can go to to find out all these programs, whether you're in Hawaii, Florida, Alaska , uh , New Hampshire and everywhere in between. No longer do people have to search out different states and different tabs on their laptop. When you can now go to the Transition Hub for all this information at the tip of your fingertips and all located in one spot.

Sara Brown:

Now tell us why these services are important?

Richard Rueda:

These services provided through the Transition Hub are offered to help students, their families and teachers identify all the pre-employment skills that they'll need to be successful in the working world to be an adult, to be successful, to be confident, to be gainfully employed and to be independent. And these services are critical because you can choose on what program you want to attend by reading the reviews, by reading the statistics on who provides?... What do these programs provide services for blind, deaf blind?... What are the costs involved? Are they covered by rehab?... And they're important because the more that you prepare yourself for the world of work, the more you prepare yourself for being successful in college and in life, the better off you're gonna be independently in life. And having access through the Transition Hub is where all starts. I , I firmly believe that with the year that this program, this service has been around, we've seen so much growth. We started at 30. Uh , we built this from the ground up and now we're reaching 50 programs listed. That's almost one per state. And , uh, we're very, very proud of what the Transition Hub is , uh , become and what it's going to be in the future.

Sara Brown:

So the Transition Hub launched one year ago, pretty much in a few weeks. Can you talk about how it's doing today?

Richard Rueda:

Good question. And, and yes, I'm happy to talk about that. And I remember when I was a contractor with APH at the ConnectCenter, we, we got this grant and we built this from the ground up . And I remember fondly. It was February of 2021. And , uh , they said, "Richard, let's build this." And I said, "let's do it." And so we, we came together, we identified what we needed to do to build a Transition Hub. We came up with questions that the , uh , vendors who would be listed in the Transition Hub, these agencies would wanna have, from your name, your address to the program type, the program style, are they residential?... Are they non residential ?... We had over 40 questions that we put on this survey so that the initial participants , uh , participating agencies could list their information and we could organize it by state and by region, we, we got that up and running. We did some cold calls in April of 2021. And by June we were building the infrastructure that eventually ultimately became the Transition Hub. And on August 1st , it went live it with about 35 programs. And , um, now a year later, again, we are at 50... Probably in the mid-fifties as I speak now in June of 2022. And , uh , we've got folks who are working behind the scenes, who are constantly keeping the data updated, because if you go and list your program in April of 2021, we wanna make sure it's relevant in June of 2022. So we're constantly connecting and engaging with our vendors, our agencies who are listed there , asking them let's update. "Who's the new contact person?" "If it's not you, what new program additions do you have?" "Are you, are you not longer virtual?" "Are you hybrid?" "Are you in-person?" So we're taking all these factors in consideration as people search out the Transition Hub. So what once may have been virtual or hybrid, may it be in-person or vice versa? So we wanna make the information relevant, timely, and tangible. So that high school students, their teachers are the visually impaired rehabilitation practitioners. Parents can go to the Transition Hub and know that this information is up to date and rely on us as the go-to resource. We just don't want this to be a stagnant page. So many programs prior to this that did have attempted this haven't updated it. And I think that's the, the , uh , the challenge that we have in a good way. The Transition Hub is gonna be a very interactive and engaging site for people to go to.

Sara Brown:

Do you have an estimated figure about how many people it has served?

Richard Rueda:

If I had to take a guess, and I remember reading this not long ago, we had a couple of thousand visits to the site since it's launch in July 31, August 1 , 2021 . Uh , we're promoting the heck out of it through all the outreach we do, we show and demonstrate to other practitioners on zoom or in person, how easy it is to how you can use it on , uh , your phone and on your iPhone, not just on your laptop. And so we're through all that engagement. We know we're, we're , our impressions are, are , are getting out there in the thousands.

Sara Brown:

And from last year to today , can you talk about how the Transition Hub has grown and evolved?

Richard Rueda:

The evolution the Transition Hub has evolved , not only from the numbers where we're, we were at 35 to the mid 50's, and we know there are more programs out there. Um, a , a lot of programs that are small , um, have great turnover and, or may exist one year and not the other year , um, by putting staff, by putting , um, our grant in behind it, we're evolving into having more interactiveness with the site. Soon, you're gonna visit the Transition Hub and not only see the videos we have up there, we're gonna have testimonials, we're gonna have blogs. We're gonna import a lot more of our transition content that is currently on career connect to come to the Transition Hub. So not only will the Transition Hub be the place to find out programs, but it will have transition content for the student, for the teacher, for the rehabilitation practitioner. Our Job Seekers Toolkit will be up on the Transition Hub. The Job Seekers Toolkit, which is , is a very proud product of the ConnectCenter and CareerConnect will also be interactive in a learning management system , uh , which it hasn't been in several years since the days of AFB. So that'll be a new addition to the job Transition Hub,

Sara Brown:

Looking toward the future . What future goals do you have for the Transition Hub, or what would you like to see for the Transition Hub?

Richard Rueda:

You know, that's a very good question. I think when you look at the history of APH , the ConnectCenter and Career Connect, you have some big players and some big names and the field of education and, and the field of transition. I think when we leverage all these resources and we begin to really use and identify and market the Transition Hub as that premier resource for teachers of the visually impaired our EOTs, our families, practitioners, students, families in , in the community at large to say, "Hey, this is a critical service needed for students to really gain , uh , information that they can make decisions on their life, preparing for life after high school life, after by attending these programs that will help them grow and build. And, you know, the Transition Hub is the place you go to." Uh , I think that's profound. And, and I think that's where the future is as we leverage all those, all these resources, people are going to use , uh, the Transition Hub as, as the sole place to go for transition information. And we have so many partners out there with our national transition conversation that we, we host quarterly webinars at where we're always talking up the Transition Hub and our partners are , are getting more excited by the day. So I think you're gonna see a lot more content, interactive content and a lot of really good feedback and a lot of good uses , uh , out of it that that we're building right now.

Sara Brown:

Is there anything else you'd like to say about the Transition Hub that we might not have touched on ?

Richard Rueda:

If you , you haven't heard about the Transition Hub, please visit the Transition Hub. I truly honestly firmly believe you will be in awe . You'll be amazed. You will come to find that it is a very useful program. And if you visit constantly, you will see in real time the updates and the love and passion we're putting into making sure the information listed on the Transition Hub is relevant, timely, and is gonna benefit the most amount of folks out there.

Sara Brown:

Thank you so much, Richard, for coming on today.

Richard Rueda:

It was my pleasure, Sara. Thank you.

Sara Brown:

Now we have CareerConnect Student Advisory member Paige Hammock here to talk about her experience using the Transition Hub and how she uses the service as she pursues her masters . Hello, Paige , and welcome to Change Makers.

Paige Hammock:

Thank you so much for having me.

Sara Brown:

So can you talk about what a Career Connect Student Advisory member does?

Paige Hammock:

Yeah, so , um, we have a main group where we discuss different ideas that we wanna contribute to the ConnectCenter. Um, right now we're working on blog posts. Um, a lot of us are doing all kinds of different topics, and then there is a subgroup I would, I guess you would call it , um, that I'm a part of, for a panel that we're gonna do , uh , called College Conversations. We're gonna be talking about transitioning from high school to college and , um, our personal experiences and just some tips and tricks to help those younger students who are in that process. So , um, I'm , I'm doing a little bit of everything right now

Sara Brown:

And you're representing the Transition Hub. Can you tell us how you use the Transition Hub?

Paige Hammock:

Yeah, so , um, the Transition Hub has been useful for me in that college conversations, planning that I was just talking about. Um , we're still working on getting our first panel up and running and we wanted to bring that into the conversation at some point, cause I think it's a really useful tool. So we've all I don't, well, I don't know about the others, but I've been looking at it , um, for some resources and , um, just making sure that I understand everything that's available on there to be able to explain it to the people, listening to our college conversations meetings. Um, and I also just started my own podcast and I think the Transition Hub is a, an awesome resource, especially for those that are transitioning from high school to college. Um, with all of the different vocational programs that are on there, I think are really useful. And a lot of people don't know that those even exist. So I've been using it for both.

Sara Brown:

So can you talk about how the Transition Hub has helped you as you pursue your studies?

Paige Hammock:

Um, I would say thankfully, I , I knew about the vocational programs here in my city , um, because of the Division of Blind Services here in Florida. They've been very good about giving me resources. Um, so I'd say that they're my number one, but they've directed me to the Transition Hub, you know, to look at other things, if there's anything that, you know, sparks my interest that I didn't know about before. Um, but I think, like I said earlier, it's a , a great resource for those who are maybe new newly, you know, low vision or losing their vision and don't have a lot of resources or don't even know where to start. I think that it is a great place to look for resources in your area that you might not have known about before.

Sara Brown:

And how do you promote the Transition Hub to those who might not be aware of its benefits?

Paige Hammock:

So we're still trying to figure out how we wanna talk about it and how we wanna bring it into the conversation during our college conversations meetings. Um, we're gonna talk about all different things from, you know, finding colleges, but also , um, you know, looking for resources on campus. But I think that we're probably going to bring it into the conversation, talk about how , um, you know, outside of the college itself with the disability resource center, there's also, you know, those outside programs that are helpful and beneficial. And I am gonna eventually talk about it on my podcast because I've had a lot of feedback from other people in the BVI community that they don't even know where to start, or they never received services when they were younger and they don't know , um, you know, who to turn to or where to start. So I definitely try and promote it and bring it up in conversation, say, Hey, you know, this, this is a resource that might be helpful for you to kind of just look and see what's in your area and see if there's anything, you know, that would be able to help you and see if they have any services that maybe you haven't had before that you might find beneficial.

Sara Brown:

Is there anything you wanna say or anything else you wanna add about the Transition Hub coming from the Student Advisory perspective?

Paige Hammock:

Um, I mean, I don't wanna repeat myself, but I really do, you know , stress to, to others I've talked to about it. You know, I I've run into a lot of people just in my personal life who didn't get services until they were way older and didn't know about services that they could have been getting from the start . So I just try and, you know, stress it early and make sure that people are able to, to get what they need. And I think the Transition Hub is the best place to start.

Sara Brown:

Thank you so much, Paige , for joining me today on change makers .

Paige Hammock:

You're welcome. Thank you for having me.

Sara Brown:

We've put a link to the Transition Hub, as well as the ConnectCenter in the show notes. We hope you have enjoyed this podcast and as always be sure to look for ways you can be a change maker this week.