Preparing for any type of transition can be daunting. Whether it be transitioning from different locations to different homes and different friends, the task is one that should not be completed alone. Here in the CNMI, we are able to tap into a variety of local resources that can help your child, especially children with disabilities, complete the daunting task of transitioning from high school to post-education, workforce and/or independent living. These available programs are here to provide technical support and assistance to ensure a smooth, safe, and reliable transition plan for students who qualify.
One of these programs is the Pre-Employment Transition Services program under the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. This program seeks to provide services to help students with disabilities who want to work to become prepared for life after high school and have meaningful careers through training, continuing education, or finding a job through various activities. Its ultimate goal is to help students transition to be career and/or college-ready. Depending on your child’s interest, the Pre-ETS program can map out an individualized plan for the various options of transition. Options include preparing your child for college at the Northern Marianas College, where disability-centered programs and services are likewise offered for enrolled students under the Disability Support Services office; preparing your child for trades/technical institution at the Northern Marianas Technical Institute; and/or preparing your child for the workforce through work experience and job trainings. For those interested in applying, you can call OVR at (670) 322-6537/8 for more information.
It is likewise important to note that college or the workforce may not be for everyone. Other may want to take some time before taking a step in that direction, or want to gain independent living skills beforehand. At the Center for Living Independently in the CNMI, their vision is to provide a comprehensive range of services which will enable our people with disabilities to live as independently as they choose within the community and their mission is to ensure the rights of people with disabilities to live independently and fully integrated within the community. Through a plan with CLI, eligible consumers can map out the skills they would like to acquire from the center. These skills include, but are not limited to, cooking, cleaning, and gardening. CLI also offers services for high school transition to postsecondary education, workforce trainings, and self-advocacy trainings. For those interested in applying, you can contact CLI at (670) 322-4303/4 for more information.
The Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc. advocates through the Client Assistance Program for the rights of individuals with disabilities to receive OVR services in order to maintain or obtain competitive employment. You should contact NMPASI if you are have applied for VR services and were denied, if you are dissatisfied with the VR services you are receiving, if your case is closed and you want to be reconsidered for services, and/or for additional questions or concerns relating to VR and the local independent living center. Our clients are our first and foremost priority. NMPASI provides a variety of programs and services that individuals with disabilities can avail of. These services in Direct Client Representation: investigating, negotiating, and/or mediating problems presented by individuals with disabilities who are eligible for Protection and Advocacy services and CAP services; Technical Assistance: we conduct American’s with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines reviews for anyone in the CNMI; Training and Education: providing education and/or training for staff, governing boards, advisory councils, volunteers, service delivery professionals, constituency groups, and other members of the community; and Legal Services: Providing legal counsel and/or litigation services to persons and/or groups who are eligible for services.
NMPASI is the CNMI designated organization that protects the civil, legal, and human rights of people with disabilities. For more information on our programs and services, please contact NMPASI at our office numbers (670) 235-7273/4, text message (670) 287-0652, or visit our website at www.nmpasi.org.
Tiava To’omata (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Tiava To’omata is a program aide at the Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc.