High School/High Tech

High School/High Tech (HS/HT) promotes technology-based careers and education for youth with disabilities. It creatively exposes students to a variety of technology-based career opportunities, encouraging them to achieve long-term success.

Goals

  • Creatively motivating students to explore their own interests and potential in mathematics, sciences, engineering and other technology-related fields.

  • Encouraging students to aim for college and a degree in their chosen field.

  • Providing students with career planning, including counseling on colleges and degree projects.

  • Helping professionals in mathematics, sciences, engineering and technology-related fields to better understand uses of assistive technology and the accommodation and facility-access needs of individuals with disabilities.

  • Helping students with disabilities become independent, productive members of the 21st Century technology-driven workforce.

  • Providing employers with a new resource of qualified workers.

I’m a student. Why should I participate?

HS/HT students across the nation are learning first-hand what it’s like to work in high-tech environments. They participate in Site Visits, Mentoring, Job Shadowing and Paid Summer Internships. All these activities provide you with the opportunities to learn more about careers in technology-related fields. You are encouraged to develop your career goals and to take academic preparation necessary to achieve their goals. Working in a dynamic environment, seeing mentors at work, and planning a course for the future guides students with disabilities towards the demands of the 21st-Century workforce.

Become a High School/High Tech student and participate in exciting, hands-on activities while developing a career plan for your future.

Why should my business participate?

The labor force will increase an average of 2.5 percent per year from 2005 through 2010 with technology-related fields averaging a growth rate of 12 percent per year (Department of Labor & Employment Occupational Projections, 1998-2008).

The unemployment rate of people with disabilities (aged 21 to 64 years old) averages 70 percent, virtually an untapped labor force. Employers remaining competitive in the workplace are exploring new approaches to better access non-traditional labor sources, such as people with disabilities.

High School/High Tech gives both students and employers the opportunity to learn from each other about the challenges of entering today’s workforce.
— Vince DiCarlo Warning Coordination Meteorologist NOAA, Greenville, SC

Components

South Carolina HS/HT projects incorporate research-based design features that focus on what youth with disabilities can do to prepare for their future. This research is important because of the increasing pressure to invest public dollars in projects that show results and incorporate promising practices. A typical South Carolina HS/HT project includes:

  • Preparatory Experiences: Services conducted in environments where youth feel accepted and nurtured and include career assessment, opportunity awareness, and work-readiness skills.
  • Connecting Activities: Activities featuring in-project and post-project support designed to benefit each individual participant.
  • Work-based Experiences: Experiences which build on-the-job experiences.
  • Youth Leadership and Development: Activities that assist the young person to become self-sufficient and productive.

History

HS/HT started almost two decades ago in Los Angeles, California, addressing concerns that not enough students—especially those with disabilities—were being prepared for careers in technology-focused industries. In the late 1990s, HS/HT grew rapidly, resulting in more than 75 projects currently operating nationwide. HS/HT participating sponsors will join other distinguished national sponsors including NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Microsoft.