Partnering for a Brighter Future:
BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy and Arbor School Join Forces for Job Training of Special Needs Students
Special needs students across the country face a disheartening statistic: even when they graduate from high school, their employability rate – meaning their chances of finding work after graduation – hovers around 9%. Arbor School of Central Florida, with the assistance of BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy, seeks to positively change that number for their students.
Arbor School offers a student-centered academic environment for special needs students with Down syndrome, high-functioning autism, Asperger’s syndrome, sensory processing disorder, and other learning disabilities. The school enrolls student from elementary through high school ages. This school has been helping students with unique abilities achieve their dreams since 2002, but it’s so much more than a series of classes here, it’s about getting students ready for life after school.
By the time Arbor School students reach the age of 17, they join a transition program: it’s a half-day of traditional class work, then the rest of the day focuses on work experience. “Our transition program gives students opportunities to learn team work, get guidance on how to dress for the workplace, practice appropriately speaking with a boss and coworkers, and applying all the other soft skills needed to land and keep a job in the real world,” explains Wendy Cox Blair, MS, Executive Director of Arbor School of Central Florida. “This preparation for the working world simply can’t happen in a meaningful way without a jobsite to practice these skills, which is why we value the involvement of community partners such as BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy,” she adds.
BioPlus serves as one of the transition partners for Arbor School, providing the opportunity of work experience for students. Each week, several Arbor School students, along with their teacher, come to BioPlus for three hours of work experience. “Here at BioPlus, we share the view of Arbor School that it’s crucial to provide opportunities to students such as these who would otherwise miss out or be overlooked in traditional work experience programs. Put simply, we just want these students to get a chance to show their full abilities,” shares Nick Maroulis, Pharm.D., Vice President of Specialty Pharmacy Services at BioPlus.
While the students are at BioPlus, their job duties include real-world skills such as organizing informational fliers and other paperwork that is needed by new patients at the specialty pharmacy. In addition, “the Arbor School students help build our Oncology Care Kits and Patient Skin Care Kits that provide comfort items to patients newly diagnosed with cancer or managing complex skin conditions,” explains Dr. Maroulis. As a transitions partner for Arbor School, BioPlus helps special needs students with job skill development while at the same time the students amplify that opportunity by compiling care kits of comfort items for patients with a new treatment ahead of them. It’s a classic win-win situation.
To learn more about BioPlus: bioplusrx.com
To learn more about Arbor School of Central Florida or to donate to this non-profit school: arborschoolflorida.com