TULSA, Okla. – Fourteen Tulsa students are one step closer to job success, thanks to an innovative training program that introduces them to work and a paycheck while they’re still earning high school credits.
Casey Middleton, age 26, got his start as an apprentice in the Tulsa Bridges Project, a successful partnership for 15 years between the state Department of Rehabilitation Services and Tulsa Public Schools.
High school students in the program work 10 hours each week at the TPS’ transportation department in jobs that range from auto mechanic to office administration.
Their paychecks come from TPS with funds reimbursed by DRS through the Vocational Rehabilitation program.
High performers like Middleton may be hired permanently by TPS, which manages one of the largest fleet centers in the state with more than 300 buses and other vehicles.
“The work these students do for us frees up journeyman-level staff to get more vehicles back on the road,” Shop Lead Clay Taylor said.
Like other Transition programs developed by DRS, the Tulsa Bridges Project helps students eligible for special education services transition successfully from school to work situations.