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Ricky DeRennaux a finalist on American Inventor

Ricky DeRennaux is an ODEP HS/HT grantee and was a finalist on the show, American Inventor. Ricky devised and evolved a software program curriculum, which is an educational model based on ODEP's Guideposts for Success that is rooted in technology that allows children to explore educational and job opportunities.

Rick is the Director of Tech-Now, an after school, during school, and summer program funded by the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council, which gives students with disabilities the opportunity to access cutting edge technology.

Ricky's Tech-Now students have also used his software to build cars, boats and planes that are then raced in statewide Tech-Now competitions.

Ricky's program was originally developed to engage a small group of special education students and is now being utilized statewide in Oklahoma; it is now being studied for replication by several programs across the country.

Tech-Now has incorporated the goals of the High School/ High Tech Project supported by the United States Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Tech-Now includes digital photography & image editing, desktop publishing, digital audio engineering, computer animation, and nonlinear video editing and production.

Background on High School/High Tech:

High School/High Tech (HS/HT) is recognized as one of the most successful strategies for assisting youth with disabilities as they transition from high school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education and employment.

Over the years HS/HT has evolved from a small program implemented in a few localities throughout the United States and focused on exposing transition-age youth with disabilities to jobs in technology-related industries through work-based experiences such as presentations by industry representatives, industry site visits and internships, to a comprehensive program of transition services that exposes such youth to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (the STEM careers) and encourage them to pursue postsecondary education.

Background on Guidepost for Success:

Guideposts for Success is a framework for comprehensive program transition services that was developed by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) through its National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) after conducting an extensive review of almost 30 years of research, literature, demonstration projects and promising practices.

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