Photo of the Community-based Transition Center building with overlaid text: "Community-based Transition Center"


The mission of the Community-based Transition Center is to provide opportunities for students with disabilities, 18 years of age or older, to set personal transition goals, understand their personal needs, and increase their level of independence, empowering them to become more fully engaged members of their communities.


The CTC is committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for students and staff alike. The school has adopted the following guidelines for success:





Young Adults

CTC students receive explicit instruction as to how READY guides actions across the CTC environment and students are acknowledged for their commitment to these guidelines.

Contact Us

Melanie Giddings, Principal
Amy Widenhofer, CTC Consultant
Jennifer Gale, Program Secretary

811 Hazen Street
Paw Paw, MI 49079

The Community-based Transition Center (CTC) is an elective program that provides support and training for students who need additional skills and knowledge to meet the demands of life after high school. The staff at the CTC help students make needed connections with post-school programs, supports, adult agencies, and community organizations that make the students' transitions into adulthood easier and more meaningful.

The program is located in Paw Paw and provides services to students who have completed their high school academic requirements, but need additional support to develop job skills, social skills, and life skills. Individual goals focus on four main areas of transition: employment, post-secondary education and training, daily living, and community participation. 


CTC students create and maintain an active resume and they are taught to be responsible for applying for jobs, both on-line and in person. CTC students are able to identify community agencies and research other supports available to help with their employment education.

CTC offers a variety of work based learning opportunities. Students may participate in work experience in a variety of local businesses as part of their daily schedule. Additionally, students have the opportunity to work in the CTC Café, a student-run commercial café that serves lunch to CTC staff and students, or work as a student custodian and attend a Custodial class. 

Community Involvement

CTC students participate in opportunities that require community interaction. Customer service and communication are a few of the skills that are practiced in these settings. CTC students may also participate in optional evening activities to practice social skills in a community environment.

Daily Living

CTC students work on learning a variety of  life skills. These may include cooking, laundry, housekeeping, telephone skills, time management, money skills, and how to find housing. CTC staff assist students in determining personal goals for adult living and provide opportunities to build skills necessary to achieve their goals. 

 Because each student sets their goals, CTC programming looks different for everyone. The best way to understand what CTC can look like is to come visit us! 

CTC Tours

Visit the CTC to receive information about all of our classrooms, programs, and services. The tour includes a general overview of the program, visit to classrooms and facilities, and discussion with current CTC students and staff. A visit to our classrooms at Freshwater may also be included if appropriate. Tours may be scheduled by contacting Melanie Giddings ( or Amy Widenhofer (

Requests for Placement

Referrals for placement at the CTC can be made by completing a Request for Observation and Consultation Services (ROCS) to request screening for an individual student to enroll at the CTC or by contacting Melanie Giddings or Amy Widenhofer.  Requests are accepted throughout the school year.

Coming Soon! CTC Program Handbook

The Community-based Transition Center Program Handbook will be posted soon.
To request a copy now, please contact Jen Gale at

Transition-to-Work Program

The Transition-to-Work Program (TWP)  is a nine-month internship program for people with disabilities. It is targeted for individuals whose goal is competitive employment. The program takes place entirely at Charles River where total immersion in the workplace facilitates the teaching and learning process as well as the acquisition of employability and marketable work skills.  Interns participate in three unpaid internships to explore a variety of career paths.  The interns work with a team that includes their family, an instructor, and local and state agencies to create an employment goal. 

Intern Requirements

  • Be at least 18 years of age

  • Completed four years of high school

  • For most interns, this will be the last year of student services, and they will accept a diploma/certificate of completion at the end of the school year

  • Meet eligibility requirements for Michigan Rehabilitation Services or Michigan Commission for the Blind

  • Demonstrates personal hygiene and self-care skills that are fit for the workplace

  • Have behavior and social skills that meet the professional standards of the workplace

  • Take direction from supervisors and adjust performance

  • Be able to communicate effectively

  • Arrange and utilize public transportation or other modes of transportation.

  • Ability to do physical work up to five hours per day 

  • Have previous experience in a work environment (including school, volunteer, and paid work)

  • Ability to pass drug screen and felony check 

  • Have up-to-date immunizations that are compliant with Charles River standards

  • Desire and plan to work in the community at the end of the Transition-to-Work Program.

Intern Benefits

  • Participate in a variety of internships within the host business

  • Acquire competitive, transferable and marketable job skills

  • Gain increased independence, confidence, and self-esteem

  • Obtain work-based individualized coaching, instruction, and feedback

  • Develop linkages to Vocational Rehabilitation and other adult service agencies

Type of Work

The work interns perform at Charles River is entry-level. These tasks are part of the job description in each department. They are necessary to uphold the quality standards of Charles River. A student may be assigned to:

  • Pharmacokinetics

  • Formulation

  • Equipment tech

  • Sanitation

  • Custodial

READY to Apply?

  1. Fill out this form to receive a copy of the application: Request the Transition-to-Work Application.

  2. Fill out the application in its entirety.

  3. Return to or 811 Hazen Street, Paw Paw, MI 49079.

** Applications due May 1, 2024 for August 2024 starting interns **