The Occupational Skills Program (OSP) is a technical college program that offers work-based training and classroom instruction for persons with disabilities with the outcome of competitive entry-level employment. Students in OSP actively participate in opportunities in the workplace and the classroom to expand their work experience background and increase their employability in the entry-level skilled work market. Experiences in OSP also promote social, physical and emotional growth in the college setting.
OSP is a nine-month diploma program, staffed by one coordinator/instructor and two laboratory assistants. Specific skills needed for employment are taught at the business, college or community where students receive training. Coursework in the classroom reinforces basic work skills learned at the employment site, which increases student success at any workplace. Other skill outcomes for students in OSP taught in the classroom include communication skills (verbal, nonverbal and written,) problem-solving skills (goal-setting, self advocacy and relationship building, etc.) and decision-making skills (i.e. citizenship skills, budgeting, self management.) Students can also participate in an elective summer internship course which provides follow-up services at their place of employment following graduation.
Program Learning Outcomes
Graduates will be able to:
1. Communicate with supervisors and peers
2. Maintain employment in supervised settings
3. Follow specified procedures and timelines
4. Exhibit self-advocacy skills in personal and work settings
5. Set appropriate short term and long term goals
Special Program Requirements
Students in OSP have documented disabilities and the ability to compete for entry-level job positions in the community in which they reside.
All afterschool services required for independent living are secured by the student and family before the onset of Fall semester. Students can apply for OSP in the fall, beginning on Sept. 1, the year preceding attendance in the program. Student interviews for applicants meeting program criteria begin in January. Interviews and acceptance of students are completed from January to April with new students attending OSP orientation in late spring.
Common job titles for graduates include stock person, line worker, housekeeping, waitress, ride operator, dishwasher and dietary aide.
According to the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development, entry-level career availability is expected to continue to rise. Some examples of entry-level employment that students in the Occupational Skills Program obtain following graduation are food preparation, janitorial, retail, cashier and stock clerks, and entry-level health care positions. Placement data results from OSP show a great majority of students obtain gainful employment after graduation.