Cheryl Schwartz, Principal
Welcome to the Cuyahoga East Vocational Education Consortium. CEVEC provides vocational and work training to high school aged students with disabilities from sixteen districts in the eastern Cuyahoga County area. CEVEC continues to grow, beginning this school year with 330 registered students.
Whether it is completing assembly work through our CEVEC Industries program, or placing students in community-based employment, CEVEC provides training in occupational skills, work behaviors, workplace social skills, and community survival skills.
CEVEC also provides comprehensive services on a continuum via our “business based” training sites, such as Hillcrest Hospital, Menorah Park Center, Rockwell Automation, Ursuline College, Progressive Insurance, Cleveland Foodbank and a variety of other sites.
Helping graduates be successful in the community is also facilitated by our agency agreements with the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities and the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission. Families of our graduates find that there is a “seamless” transition from school to the world of work.
Thirty years ago in January of 1980, the doors of CEVEC opened to 37 students from 14 districts in Eastern Cuyahoga County. It was considered progressive as one of the first vocational – special education funded schools in the state. This multi-district school started in a very different era. The national average for the employment of multi-handicapped population was 6%; Public Law 94 -142 was less than ten years old; the expectation for this population to be part of the work force was not there.
CEVEC’s vision has always been community employment for its graduates. The dream became reality by changing the delivery of services. The traditional school approach did not achieve the desired results. CEVEC’s foundation was laid by comparing students to industrial standard rather than to each other, providing varied training opportunities in the community, and increasing the level of student independence by using job coaches. Initially, CEVEC started with 2 programs and added a vocational unit each year to enhance skill training and placement options.
The school continued to flourish with many levels of collaboration as a requirement. The sending districts, parent support and insight were invaluable. The CEVEC staff worked endlessly evaluating and planning. The Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (BVR) accepted an invitation to partner in transitional services by housing a counselor at CEVEC. The concept of job coaching was made possible through a Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) grant. An interagency agreement with Cuyahoga County Board of Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities (CCBMR/DD) was written to ease the transition from school to work. This school started as a small possibility that has continued to gain strength and flourish because of the thoughtful and innovative groups that have always been there to try something a little different.
Once moving to Alpha Park in the early 90’s, CEVEC began to grow rapidly. Over the course of the last 15 years, CEVEC has grown from a student population of 100 students to over 300 students currently enrolled. As the specific vocational needs of CEVEC students became more diverse, the programs offered by CEVEC became more diverse. Now, CEVEC offers over 20 different vocational training options. Most of these programs use area businesses for “real life” educational experiences. Additionally, through the Workforce Development Act we have been able to provide additional training and work opportunities and summer work programs.
Since moving to the Alpha Park site, CEVEC’s partnerships with various adult service agencies have also strengthen. Realizing the importance of providing a “seamless” transition from CEVEC to life after
school, CEVEC has invited representatives from the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities (CCBDD) and the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission (ORSC) to set up offices within the CEVEC complex and participate in the CEVEC Advisory Board.
During the 2004-2005 school year, CEVEC applied the very successful “place and train” model and began offering training in community living skills. More information can be found in this publication about the Community Living Skills Program, which is housed at Mayfield Village owned home in Mayfield, Ohio.
The 2007-2008 school year, realized the creation of a CEVEC Parent Alumni Organization. The Parent Alumni Organization now offers monthly evening informational sessions, which are now open to parents/guardians of the current student body.
None of this growth could have been achieved without the commitment from our over 25 community work partners, adult services and most importantly the support of parents and guardians. This “circle of support” is what keeps CEVEC moving forward to help all of our students achieve positive outcomes.
As we look to the future, challenging times are ahead. We all know that education is constantly changing and here at CEVEC we are continuously evaluating our programs to determine how to best meet the needs of each and every one of our students. We stand firm in our commitment to – Educate, Empower, Employ!