The Ohio State University’s Nisonger Center’s Dr Margo Izzo has been selected to participate in the outbound program.
Margo Izzo currently works as Transition Services Program Director at Ohio State University Nisonger Center. In this role at the Ohio UCEDD, she assists in easing the transition between adolescence and adulthood for people with disabilities. Dr Izzo brings over 38 years of experience in project directing, specifically in special education and career preparation, to her role in mentoring Gwaliwa Mashaka from Tanzania. In addition to standing on the AUCD Board of Directors, Dr Izzo was Chair of the Council on Research and Evaluation (CORE) from 2008- 2012, and has also co-authored a book entitled ‘Empowering Students with Hidden Disabilities: A Path to Pride and Success.’ While in Tanzania, Dr Izzo will be assisting in Gwaliwa’s project: Scale-Up Envision IT. This project seeks to create partnerships among OSU Nisonger Center, the AUCD network, and Employable Africa. The goal of these partnerships is to train education and employment stakeholders on the use of technology in order to empower students who are transitioning from high school to either college or a career.
The Nisonger Center has been operating employment programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 2010. While they are located in Columbus, the reach of their programs is statewide. In response to the sobering knowledge that the postsecondary graduation rate of ID/DD totaled a national average of 14 percent, the center established the Ohio State University Transition Options in Postsecondary (TOPS) Program. This program provides internships for participants each semester with an average work load of fourteen hours a week. The success of this program can be seen in the bolstering of program participant’s graduation rate from the national average of 14 percent to 92 percent. In addition to this program, the center also assists seven other colleges/ universities across Ohio in enhancing employment outcomes for transition age youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities through the Ohio Statewide Consortium (OSC). A fellow placed at the Nisonger Center will also be able to observe programs such as the Career Discovery Process, Employment First, Job Coach Training Guide, Think College, and Employer Evaluation and Matching.
While the center has prior cross cultural exchange experience in Spain and Greece, the hosting of a PFP-IDE fellow all be their first experience working with an individual from this region. Margo Izzo, Professor Emeritus and Program Director, will be the host for Gwaliwa. She serves on the Employment First Advisory Committee and assisted in the development of the Career Discovery Guide and Tools.