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Marino Campus and ViTA: Independence Through Employment
Marino Campus, with two locations in Fort Lauderdale and at FIU in Miami, is providing nationally recognized industry certification in computer technology, hospitality, and retailing. Each year since its inception, at least 65% of Marino Campus graduating students have found meaningful employment–3.5 times the national average. In this session, attendees will learn how Marino Campus integrates the Virtual Interactive Training Agent (DMF-ViTA) system throughout the employment curriculum to provide interview preparation and practice. Presenters will share how the use of person-centered planning in combination with classroom instruction and internship experiences supports young adults in obtaining and maintaining meaningful employment.
About the Presenter(s)
Dr. Tammy Bresnahan, executive director of Schools and Employment Programs, provides vision and leadership in the design, development, and implementation of Marino Campus operations. Working collaboratively with stakeholders to define, schedule, and support academic courses and employment programs, she ensures the full range of educational and employment programs optimal in helping students succeed in their academic and career goals. Since joining the Foundation in 2014, she has overseen the professional development of all staff, was instrumental in the development of specialized curriculum, and increased student success rates to 95% industry certification passage and 72% employment. In 2016, she oversaw the opening of a second Marino Campus at Florida International University. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked for 17 years at the Florida Atlantic University Lab School, as a teacher and the professional development and research coordinator. She earned her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Florida Atlantic University.
Lauren Ferguson, the academic director of Marino Campus, oversees all curriculum and instruction and participates in the development and implementation of policies and procedures to monitor academic and employment-related progress for the students. She previously served as the behavior specialist at the Campus where her responsibilities included creating the social skills curriculum, training staff on the implementation of behavior-change systems, providing oversight and in-the-moment training to staff, and communicating with students and parents about progress and areas of need. Prior to joining the Campus, she worked at the Comprehensive Learning Center in Pennsylvania as the director of adult services where she oversaw the implementation of programming to ensure that students acquired the necessary skills, developed behavioral and instruction programs based on goals, and hired, trained and supervised staff.