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Students with disabilities’ free summer job training & paid internships start soon

Monday, May 06, 2024

 OKLAHOMA CITY – More than 400 youth with disabilities are expected to start free summer training offered in 24 rural and urban communities by Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services’ Transition program.

DRS Transition serves more than 3,000 students, 16-21, during the school year through employment programs offered by DRS’ Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

“What an exciting time in Oklahoma for students to have opportunities to help students make decisions about their future careers,” DRS Transition Coordinator Renee Sansom Briscoe said.


BEST STEP (Building Employment Skills for Today and Summer Transition Employment Program) is a five-week, two-part career planning and paid on-the-job training program for students with disabilities, ages 16 and older. Participants must be returning to high school in August 2024.

BEST students complete workforce readiness and career exploration experiences followed by STEP, where they earn paychecks in part-time, paid internships in their communities. For more information, email Renee Briscoe at or phone 405-212-7789.

“BEST STEP can change lives,” Briscoe said. “From day one of BEST to the end of the week, friendships are made, skills are stronger and hope is alive. They take those skills and hope with them to STEP and become employees in the community where they gain experience, knowledge and a sense of value.”

BEST STEP is funded by DRS with training and services delivered in partnership with OU National Center for Disability Education and Training’s Pre-ETS program.

“This summer program could not be possible without the support NCDET and the University of Oklahoma Pre-ETS, Central Oklahoma Workforce Innovation Board, Southern Workforce Board, work skills trainers across the state and DRS counselors and rehabilitation technicians,” Briscoe added.


Tech now STEM Camps are open to Oklahoma students, ages 14-21, with documented physical, mental or cognitive disabilities. Students learn to effectively use computers, software and related technologies to design and create Power Racer dragsters, High Tech (HT) powered racers, shirts, hats, mouse pads, bracelets and pin-back buttons.

This summer, Tech Now is partnering with DRS Transition to offer STEM camps in Ada, Atoka, Davis, Lawton, Skiatook and Tulsa in June and July. Click here for a list of locations and dates. Contact Renee Briscoe at or phone 405-212-7789 with questions.


Transition VIBE (Visually Impaired and Blindness Empowerment) offers assessment and career or higher education exploration for students with visual disabilities. Students strengthen skills through customized training in independent living, interviewing, communication, technology use, team building, and travel and transportation. VIBE takes place June 23 through 28 at DRS’ Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee.

VIBE is offered by DRS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Applications are required. To sign up or get more information, click here to download the VIBE flier or phone Dietra Woody at 405-522-3410 or Magan Rowan at 405-522-3380.

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services’ Transition program works closely with the OU National Center for Disability Education and Training through a statewide contract to provide pre-employment transition services, or Pre-ETS. PreETS helps DRS clients and potential clients identify career interests in preparation for DRS’ direct Transition and VR and SBVI adult employment assistance to help them become taxpayers and leave social welfare behind.

DRS partners with Tech Now to help high school age youth with disabilities prepare to enter the workforce and to lead independent lives. Tech Now is an entrepreneurship course that develops career skills, offering youth the opportunity to use design software and build computer and related technology skills.

DRS served 96,178 Oklahomans with disabilities in 2023 through career preparation, employment, residential and outreach education, independent living training and determination of medical eligibility for disability benefits. The agency helps job seekers with disabilities overcome employment barriers and assists businesses in finding qualified, dependable employees. For more information, visit or phone 800-845-8476.


Lydia Childers from Norman completes a project with Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Kevin Randall II at a Transition STEM Camp offered by Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services in 2023.

For more information

Jody Harlan, DRS Communications Director

Cell: 405-203-1318