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CRP Guidebook

CRP Pre-ETS Guidebook

strategies for community rehabilitation providers to collaborate on Pre-ETS

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Section 1
Pre-Employment Transition Services

Introduction

Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) have long delivered services that support the transition of students with disabilities from high school to competitive integrated employment. These services have been provided in a variety of settings (i.e., schools, community, and businesses) and supported by funding from a variety of sources (i.e., school districts, Vocational Rehabilitation, Medicaid), typically as students were close to graduating or aging out of high school. The passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in July 2014 increased support for transition services through the inclusion of Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS), with a focus on serving students earlier in their high school years. The focus on earlier engagement of students with vocational rehabilitation (VR) while in high school means caseloads of VR Counselors will continue to rise and require VR to seek out increased support of CRPs to serve transition aged students. If CRPs are going to provide Pre-ETS to student with disabilities, it will require CRP staff to become versed in Pre-ETS, understand how to work and deliver services to younger students, and develop effective processes to collaborate with multiple partners. This guide was developed in response to these needs. Evidence Based Practices (EBPs) have been incorporated into the information in this guide along with examples across each section. You can learn more about EBPs and how they support effective Pre-Employment Transition Services at Effective Practices Matrix.

The basics of Pre-ETS

The Rehabilitation Act, as amended by WIOA (2014), expands the types of services that VR agencies may provide to students with disabilities as they transition from school to postsecondary employment and education through Pre-ETS. These services are designed to be an early start at job exploration for students with disabilities necessary for movement from school to post-school activities that will maximize their potential to enter competitive integrated employment. The increased emphasis on transition to employment in WIOA aligns with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Employment First Initiatives to ensure that students with disabilities are provided work experiences before leaving high school.

The basics of Pre-ETS

  1. Job Exploration Counseling
  2. Work Based Learning (WBL)
  3. Counseling on Opportunities for Enrollment in Comprehensive Transition or Post-Secondary Education Programs at institutions of higher education
  4. Workplace Readiness Training to Develop Social Skills and Independent Living
  5. Instruction in Self-Advocacy

The Rehabilitation Act also expands the population of students with disabilities who may receive Pre-ETS. Prior to the reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act, VR could only serve students who were eligible for services. Now Pre-ETs can be provided to students who are eligible, as well as those students who are considered potentially eligible for VR services.

Potentially eligible students are defined as:

Students with a disability who have not yet applied or been made eligible for VR services

A student with a disability is an individual who:

  1. Is in an educational program; and
  • Educational programs include: Secondary education programs; Non-traditional or alternative secondary education programs, including home schooling; Postsecondary education programs; and Other recognized educational programs, such as those offered through the juvenile justice system
  1. Meets the age range requirements for a student with a disability; and
  • What WIOA says:

    • Minimum age: Not younger than the earliest age to receive transition services under IDEA; or Not younger than the earliest age, if determined by the State as being different, to receive pre-employment transition services.
    • Maximum age: Not older than 21 years old; or
    • Not older than the highest age determined by the State to receive services under IDEA, if older than 21 years of age.
  • Check with your state VR agency to verify the minimum and maximum age for your state. It will align with ages that transition services are provided by schools under IDEA.
  1. Is eligible for and receiving special education or related services under IDEA; or
  2. Is an individual with a disability for purposes of section 504 of the ACT

The five required Pre-ETS

In this section, we will look more closely at each of the required Pre-ETS activities as well as provide examples of both group and individual activities that can be included.

1. Job Exploration Counseling

Job Exploration Counseling is meant to provide students with a variety of opportunities to gain information about careers, the skills needed for different jobs and to uncover personal career interests. Research indicates that students who have participated in career exploration and other transition services in a quality learning environment have higher career search self-efficacy (Solberg, Howard, Gresham, & Carter, 2012). This study also found that students with greater career search self-efficacy were more engaged in setting their goals, which further predicted their motivation to attend school.

If provided as pre-employment transition services, job exploration counseling may be provided in a group setting or on an individual basis, and may include information regarding in-demand industry sectors and occupations, as well as non-traditional employment, labor market composition and vocational interest inventories to assist with the identification of career pathways of interest to the students.

Job Exploration Counseling includes activities and experiences that assist students to:

Examples of activities to deliver Job Exploration Counseling

Individual

  • With student, review vocational interest inventory results
  • Learn about and explore career pathways using state career information systems
  • Interview people to learn about jobs and skills needed to succeed
  • Provide information regarding nontraditional employment
  • Provide information about in-demand industry sectors and occupations

Group

  • Share and discuss local labor market information and how it impacts them
  • Use O*NET to explore careers
  • Arrange a panel of local employers meet with students
  • Develop a local career fair
  • Provide information regarding nontraditional employment
  • Work with students to complete vocational interest inventories
  • Discuss information about career pathways and help students identify career pathways of interest to them

2. Work based learning

Work Based Learning (WBL) is an educational approach or instructional method that uses community workplaces to provide students with the knowledge and skills that will help them connect school experiences to real-life work activities and future career opportunities. It is essential that direct employer or community involvement be a component of WBL to ensure in-depth student engagement.

WBL may include in-school or after-school opportunities, experiences outside the traditional school setting, and/or internships. When paid WBL experiences are provided, the wages are to be paid at no less than minimum wage.

Work based learning includes activities and experiences that assist students to:

  • Develop work skills through participation in paid and nonpaid work experiences in community integrated employment
  • Apply classroom knowledge to the work place
  • Gain greater understanding of the soft skills important to success in the work place
  • Learn from people currently practicing in the occupations and career of interest to the student.

Examples of activities to deliver work based learning

Individual

  • Connect student with a business mentor
  • Develop work sites aligned with student interest
  • Provide local volunteer opportunities for students
  • Conduct work based learning evaluations of student performance
  • Provide opportunities for Internships, Apprenticeships (not registered apprenticeships or pre-apprenticeships), Fellowships

Group

  • Support students to participate in career competitions
  • Coordinate informational interviews to research employers
  • Conduct work-site tours to learn about necessary job skills in various business settings
  • Provide job shadowing and mentoring opportunities in the community

3. Counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or post-secondary education programs at institutions of higher education

To improve employment outcomes and increase opportunities for students with disabilities to access 21st century jobs, it is essential that students and their family members are provided information and guidance on a variety of post-secondary education and training opportunities. These services may include information on course offerings, career options, types of academic and occupational training needed to succeed in the workplace, and postsecondary opportunities associated with a career field or pathways. It may also include advising students and family members on academic curricula, college application and admissions processes, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and resources that may be used to support individual student success in education and training, to include disability support services.

The post-secondary options that should be explored include:

  • Community Colleges (AA/AS degrees, certificate programs and classes)
  • Universities (Public and Private)
  • Career pathways related to workshops/training programs
  • Trade/Technical Schools
  • Military
  • Post-secondary programs at community colleges and Universities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Examples of activities to deliver post-secondary counseling

Individual

  • Learn about accommodations for college entrance exams
  • Develop ‘class shadows’ in college and vocational training classrooms
  • Advise students and parents or representatives on academic curricula
  • Provide information about college application and admissions processes
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with student
  • Provide resources that may be used to support individual student success in education and training (i.e., disability support services)

Group

  • Tour university and community college campuses and talk to disability services on each campus
  • Plan a visit to local Job Corps campus
  • Discuss the difference between special education services in K-12 education and post-secondary education disability services
  • Discuss adult services and benefits that can be used during college attendance and provide information on:

    • course offerings;
    • career options;
    • types of academic and occupational training needed to succeed in the workplace;
    • post-secondary opportunities associated with career fields

4. Workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living

Workplace readiness traits describe a number of skills that employers expect from most employees. Workplace readiness skills are a set of skills and behaviors that are necessary for any job, such as how to interact with supervisors and co-workers and the importance of timeliness. These skills are sometimes called soft skills, employability skills, or job preparation skills. These skills help students learn and build an understanding of how we are perceived by others.

Employers value employees who can communicate effectively and act professionally. No matter what technical skills a job may require, every job requires good social skills/interpersonal skills (Test, Mazotti, et.al., 2009).

In addition to developing social and independent living skills, workplace readiness training may also include:

  • Financial literacy
  • Orientation and mobility skills
  • Job-seeking skills
  • Understanding employer expectations for punctuality and performance

Examples of activities to deliver work readiness training

Individual

  • Identify and learn how to use assistive technology in the workplace
  • Meet with a benefits counselor
  • Develop individual transportation plans and learn necessary mobility skills
  • Provide self-evaluation instruction/ programs that include the same topics as found under a group setting:

    • Maintaining healthy relationships
    • Work and study habits
    • Planning and goals setting
    • Using community resources
    • Budgeting and paying bills
    • Computer literacy

Group

  • Provide lessons on strategies to support independence at work such as time management, self- monitoring performance, and accepting constructive feedback
  • Conduct simulations to develop social and communication skills
  • Develop financial literacy; including banking and budgeting skills
  • Provide role-play experiences for working as a team
  • Develop communication and interpersonal skills
  • Provide group orientation and mobility skills (i.e., to access workplace readiness training or to learn to travel independently)
  • Develop job-seeking skills
  • Instruct students on understanding employer expectations for punctuality and performance, as well as other "soft" skills necessary for employment

5. Self-advocacy skills

The development of self-advocacy skills should be started at an early age. These skills will be needed in education, workplace and community settings. Specifically, they include an individual’s ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his/her own interests and/or desires. Schools also work with students to develop self-determination which means that students with disabilities have the freedom to plan their own lives, pursue the things that are important to them and experience the same life opportunities as other people in their communities. These acquired skills will enable students to advocate for any support services, including auxiliary aids, services, and accommodations that may be necessary for training or employment.

Self-advocacy skills are developed when students are provided with experiences to develop:

  • Knowledge of self
  • Knowledge of rights and responsibilities
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills

Examples of activities to deliver self-advocacy skills

Individual

  • Discuss with student how their disability impacts them and identify strategies that may assist them at school, work and socially
  • Use computer assisted instruction to learn about IEP’s and how to be an active participant
  • Assist student to identify, document and explain needed accommodations
  • Assist student in developing goals and information to share at their IEP
  • Conduct informational interviews
  • Provide opportunities for students to participate in mentoring with individuals employed by or volunteering for employers, boards, associations, or organizations in integrated community settings
  • Provide opportunities for students to participate in youth leadership activities offered in educational or community settings

Group

  • Conduct a panel presentation of recent graduates to share their experiences
  • Select and deliver a disability disclosure curriculum
  • Teach a class using ‘Whose Future is it Anyway’ to teach self- determination skills
  • Assist students in selecting a community need and create a plan to address it
  • Teach students about and discuss rights and responsibilities
  • Teach students how to request accommodations or services and supports
  • Assist students in communicating their thoughts, concerns, and needs, to prepare them for peer mentoring opportunities with individuals working in their area(s) of interest

Common terms of Pre-ETS

The provision of Pre-ETS involves the collaboration of schools, vocational rehabilitation and community rehabilitation providers, each bringing their own acronyms and language to the table. To ensure successful collaboration, it will be helpful to have knowledge of some of the terms you will encounter in the course of your work. Keep in mind that there will be other terms that are state or local specific. Do not be afraid to ask about new terms or acronyms you encounter and share with others, the terms you bring to the work. A table of terms and acronyms frequently used in providing Pre-ETs services is located in Section 5 of this document.

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Section 2
Developing Services Based on Staff Resources and Logistics

Introduction

The requirements of vocational rehabilitation to provide Pre-ETS to students with disabilities have provided increased opportunities for CRP personnel to work with students while in high school. However, it is important for a CRP to consider both their organizational structure, as well as the needs of the State VR Agency, to determine which Pre-ETS services are both needed by VR, and can be delivered by the CRP. It is also important to ensure that the services provided align with the mission of the organization as well as staff time and abilities. Some organizations may not be able to provide all five Pre-ETS, but instead may focus on one or two required activities.

Other organization may choose to expand their offerings by collaborating with entities such as other CRPs, Independent Living Programs, Parent Training Centers or other networks and organizations. Starting with the strengths of an organization in the delivery of Pre-ETS is suggested and then, if desired, build upon those strengths to either expand Pre-ETS activities by partnering with other entities or through hiring and/or training of staff.

The following section walks through a number of considerations a CRP may want to review to determine how best to the match the capacity of the organization with the needs of VR in the delivery or Pre-ETS.

Understanding your organization and staffing

Mission

Many CRPs have historically worked with adults or students as they are exiting high school, therefore mission statements have focused on this population. As you consider expanding the provision of services to a younger student population by providing Pre-ETS, it may be good idea to ensure your mission aligns with this added focus. It is important to understand that the ultimate goal of students with disabilities participating in Pre-ETS is for them to gain the skills and knowledge to obtain integrated employment, regardless of the severity of the student’s disability. This goal is consistent with many CRP’s missions that align with Employment First policies and the philosophy that there is a job for everyone who wants a job.

Planning

  • Does your current mission support the inclusion of providing Pre-ETS? If so, what services?
  • What changes, if any, need to be made to your mission to align with the delivery of Pre-ETS?

Staffing

Along with having your mission aligned, CRPs also need to have skilled staff to implement Pre-ETS or the results of these services may be limited. Staff should have knowledge of: 1) effectively working with younger students, 2) the ability to create relationships with community employers, 3) assisting in matching students with work opportunities, 4) understanding the various school constraints and Department of Labor regulations, 5) identifying/arranging workplace supports for the student, as needed, and 6) the ability to collaborate with multiple partners who are also working with students, including the student’s family. Based on the critical role that staff play in the success of students in learning the needed employability skills and becoming employed, understanding the personal attributes of effective staff is critical.

While there are no specific credentials needed to provide Pre-ETS services, there has been research completed on the effective traits of staff working in transition (Tilson & Simonsen, 2012). Those include:

  • Principled optimism
  • Cultural Competence
  • Business oriented professionalism
  • Network savvy

This study found that transition specialists displaying these four attributes believe in the capabilities of the youth with whom they worked and empowered them to be their best. They did not look at what the youth could not do, but rather at the positive attributes and identified the benefits youth with disabilities could bring to employers. The transition specialists took into account the uniqueness of each of the youth they supported, as well as the specific needs of the employers with whom they worked.

By understanding the needs of both the job seeker and the employer, they identified connections between the two, resulting in good job matches that satisfied employers and youth. The transition specialists were not only passionate about the youth they were supporting, but also about their jobs. They demonstrated a "whatever it takes" attitude to get the job done and viewed unexpected challenges as opportunities to act. Moreover, they had a strong sense of self-management and time-management. Of all the work tasks that transition specialists had to juggle, networking (e.g. developing relationships with employers, connecting individuals with other community resources) was prominent among them. These are the same attributes staff of CRPs should have when working with youth.

Examples of specific skills needed in each area

Principle Optimism

  • Ability and interest in working with student
  • Ability to identify positive traits of student
  • Willingness to learn new skills
  • Ability to act independently and work with a degree of autonomy

Cultural Competence

  • Ability to work with families and students from various backgrounds and ethnicity
  • Ability to customize services based on need of student
  • Ability to creatively develop opportunities for student

Business Oriented

  • Ability to work an adjustable work schedule to address needs of student, businesses and families (i.e. evening and weekends)
  • Ability to identify specific needs of businesses
  • Ability to develop community experiences for student
  • Ability to problem solve

Network Savvy

  • Ability to collaborate with multiple partners who are also working with student
  • Ability to network and negotiate effective partnerships
  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Ability to balance time effectively and juggle multiple priorities

Planning

  • Who are your current staff that could work effectively with students in the delivery of Pre-ETS?
  • What are the strengths of your current staff related to the delivery of Pre-ETS?
  • What additional staff do you need to hire to provide Pre-ETS?

Staffing hiring and training

The key to having competent staff is implementing an effective recruitment and training process. When managers understand the personal attributes of effective staff, they can target their recruitment efforts towards individuals who possess these characteristics. Additionally, as staff are hired, professional development opportunities should be provided focusing on enhancing and building skills around these attributes.

Initial hiring of staff should include an opportunity for the potential employee to not only demonstrate their experience and education through a resume or application, but also through responding to case study type open-ended questions so the interviewee can explain specific examples of how they have demonstrated their skills in action. Individuals interested in entering the field of transition need to have a clear understanding of the personal attributes and skills required to be effective in their role. Regardless of an applicant's specific work history, it is critical that hiring practices seek to find individuals who have the interest and are capable of acquiring the specific professional competencies to provide Pre-ETS, and that lead to successful employment outcomes for student with disabilities.

Below are some points to share with potential employees as well as questions you may want to ask during an interview:

  • Schedules are based on needs of customer, not based on when staff would like to work (may need to be weekends and after school)
  • Pre-ETS should be provided in the community – in the most integrated setting
  • There is no "unsuccessful" experience – all experiences provide us with additional information about the student’s interests, knowledge, and skills
  • Ask the candidate to read through the CRPs materials and return for a second interview in which they present as if they were meeting an employer
  • Have the candidate discuss their understanding of supported and customized employment. Ask what the benefits and potential challenges might be, in their opinion
  • Ask the candidate to describe their process of discovering the talents and interests of a student with a disability
  • Ask the candidate to read documents about a job seeker and write up 1-2 paragraphs highlighting key points about features and benefits the job seeker has related to employment. Finally, ask then to develop a tentative plan for assisting the job seeker in obtaining employment.

Once hired, an employee should be provided adequate training and mentoring as they begin their duties working with students and delivering Pre-ETS. Managers should also offer professional development opportunities to seasoned staff to sharpen their skills to be more effective in working with employers and students with disabilities. Providing training and mentoring opportunities for staff to become more comfortable in this role will be critical for their success. Part of the training offered to staff should include field-based experiences. This approach allows staff to become more comfortable with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively provide Pre-ETS with students.

Below are ideas on types of trainings that could be offered, not only to new employees but also seasoned employees as they begin to work with students and Pre-ETS:

  • Understanding requirements for students outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Setting and monitoring goals
  • Providing person-centered planning
  • Working with students and families
  • Providing individualized job support
  • Understanding allowable Pre-ETS activities and how they differ from typical VR services, for example:

    • Job coaching cannot be provided for Pre-ETS, however, an on-site workplace readiness trainer who teaches the job tasks to the can be pro- vided for work-based learning experiences to assist a student in learning the position
    • Pre-ETS services are for both potentially eligible and eligible VR students with disabilities
    • It may be the case that a student goes through Pre-ETS services and is not eligible for VR in which case the CRP would need to identify alternative funding if they were to continue employment services

Planning

  • What training do you currently provide related to transition and Pre-ETS?
  • What type of coaching and field training does your staff receive?
  • Do you have additional trainings that you need to develop to ensure your staff have the skills to deliver Pre-ETS? What are they and who will provide the training?
  • Are there opportunities to access trainings outside your agency to support skills building in your staff that are delivering Pre-ETS? If so, what are they?

Identifying which Pre-ETS services your organization has the knowledge & ability to provide

Once you have completed a review of your mission, identified the needs of VR, and built the capacity and skills of staff, a CRP can then identify which Pre-ETS services your organization has the knowledge and ability to provide. To help with this, the table on the next page provides information about the Pre-ETS available for potentially eligible students and transition services available for students determined eligible for VR services. It is important to know that students eligible for VR services may also receive Pre-ETS.

More detailed information about each of the Pre-ETS included in the table below can be found in the NTACT Competitive Integrated Employment Toolkit.

Pre-ETS Services Provided to Potentially Eligible/Eligible Students

  • Job exploration counseling including: career speakers, interest and ability inventories, share and use labor market statistic and trends
  • Work-based learning experience, including coordination, selection of the work-based learning experience and setting

    • Work site tours to learn about job skills
    • Business and career mentoring
    • Informational Interview
    • Paid/non-paid employment
    • Service learning
    • Volunteering
  • Counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational programs at institutions of higher education

    • Academic planning
    • College affordability planning
    • College and Career Exploration and Selection Process
    • Post-Secondary Education Application and Admission Process
  • Workplace readiness training to develop skills and independent living

    • Communication skills
    • Financial literacy
    • Networking
    • Orientation and mobility skills
    • Problem solving and critical thinking
    • Teamwork
  • Instruction in self-advocacy

    • Requesting and utilizing accommodations
    • Decision making including supported decision making
    • Disability disclosure
    • Goal setting and attainment
    • Leadership skills
    • Peer mentoring
    • Self determination

VR Transition Services Provided for Eligible Students

  • Conduct all types of assessments services i.e. abilities testing, AT, etc.
  • Provide information and skill development to assist in exercising informed choice
  • Job-related services, including

    • Job search and placement assistance,
    • Job retention services,
    • Follow-up services, and
    • Follow-along services
  • Employment development activities
  • Job Coaching
  • Transition services for students with disabilities, that facilitate the achievement of the employment outcome identified in the IPE
  • Supported employment services for individuals with the most significant disabilities
  • Services to the family of an individual with a disability necessary to assist the individual to achieve an employment outcome.

Planning

  • In what environments are your services to students provided? School? Community? Business?
  • Are you able to expand environments to provide Pre-ETS in integrated settings of school, community or business?

Job Exploration

  • Do you currently provide services that match those included in Job Exploration?
  • What services could you expand or change to meet the needs Job Exploration?

Work-Based Learning

  • Do you currently provide services that match those included in Work Based Learning?
  • What services could you expand or change to meet the needs Work Based Learning?

Workplace Readiness Training

  • Do you currently provide services that match those included in workplace readiness training?
  • What services could you expand or change to meet the needs workplace readiness training?

Introduction in Self-Advocacy

  • Do you currently provide services that match those included in instruction in self-advocacy?
  • What services could you expand or change to meet the needs in instruction in self-advocacy?

Counseling on Opportunities for Postsecondary Education

  • Do you currently provide services that match those included in counseling for postsecondary education?
  • What services could you expand or change to meet the needs in counseling for postsecondary education?

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Section 3
Collaborating to Improve Outcomes for Students with Disabilities

Introduction

Education and vocational rehabilitation each have separate mandates to assist students with disabilities in preparing for, obtaining, and maintaining integrated employment. However, without clearly identified roles and coordination between the two agencies and other partners working with the students potential problems may occur at both the individual student and partner levels. Poor collaboration may increase the already complicated path to adult employment for students with disabilities while at the partner level, resources might not be used in the most effective and efficient way which may lead to duplication of services. This is why collaboration in the coordination of Pre-ETS is so important.

The importance of collaboration around Pre-ETS is broader than VR and education and includes other partners that may be contracted by VR to provide Pre-ETS. For example, CRPs, Independent Living Programs and Parent Centers provide Pre-ETS to students with disabilities many states. While the opportunity to bring in more partners to work with students in providing Pre-ETS is a way for VR to provide services to more students with disabilities, additional partnerships also creates a need for more coordination in planning and implementing Pre-ETS. This section will provide different strategies to consider in creating effective and efficient partnerships.

Collaboration Defined

Collaboration among professionals and service systems is an important component of effective programs that support the transition of students with disabilities from school to work and adult life (Wehman, 2013). Collaboration can be defined as a formalized relationship and process that maximizes the expertise and perspectives of students, parents, educators, VR counselors, and others. The relationships and processes should promote individualized services, supports, and activities for the students. Roles and responsibilities of each partner should be designed and focused on individualized student employment outcomes.

Below are some findings from researchers on the impact of collaboration:

  • When students with disabilities access collaborative services during high school, they are more likely to experience positive post-school outcomes (Noonan, Gaumer-Erickson, & Morningstar, 2013; Test, Mazzotti, et al., 2009).
  • Collaboration is effective when there is a direct focus on outcomes for students and the systems that serve them – rather than merely referring them for a "hand off" to the next responsible party (Luecking & Luecking, 2015).
  • Effective teams work to achieve a direct outcome for students served, rather than simply coordinate a "hand off" to the next available post-secondary service (Fabian, Simonsen, Deschamps, Shengli, & Luecking, 2016).
  • Collaboration between schools, VR, and other partners is effective with a clear and compelling rationale for staff to work across agency lines (Fabian & Luecking, 2015).
  • Strategies for effective interagency collaboration include: flexible scheduling and staffing; follow-up; administrative support; technical assistance supported by the state; ability to build collaborative relationships; agency meetings with families and students; students and families training; joint staff training; and dissemination of information (Noonan, Morningstar, & Erickson, 2008).

There are several types of collaborative partnerships that can occur for the purposes of transition planning (Noonan, 2014). All transition partnerships fall under three main categories of teams: 1) community-level teams connect schools, a district, or multiple districts with the community; 2) School-level teams support the transition planning efforts for all students in the school; and 3) individual-level teams support the transition needs of individual students.

It will be important to determine what teams CRPs should be a part of, as well as determine what specific role to play. Roles may be dependent on contractor expectations as well as the scope of work defined by each contract. Teams will help provide the connection and resources to deliver the services.

The following table describes the different team levels in a collaborative structure, their purpose, participants and primary activities.

Team: Community Level

Purpose

  • Collaboration among schools (elementary, middle, high), VR, CRPs and other local agencies, employers, parents
  • Focused on development and coordination of local policies and resources to create local early and ongoing CIE experiences.
  • Identify and address community needs in developing student skills and experiences that lead to CIE following HS graduation

Participants

  • School District Administration
  • Special Education administrators and teachers
  • School Counselors
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors
  • Career Technical Education
  • Employers
  • Workforce (DOL) Parents
  • CRPs
  • Post-Secondary Education/ Training
  • Mental Health
  • Others specific to the Community

Activities

  • Coordinate and align local resources to provide integrated employment experiences
  • Identify and address community needs related to student skill development and CIE after HS graduation
  • Understand local business needs and engage employers to provide work experiences and employment for young adults with disabilities
  • Provide opportunities for personnel and parents to learn about EBPs of transition and CIE for students with disabilities.

Team: School Level

Purpose

  • Collaboration across school curriculum and programs to address skill/career development for students with disabilities
  • Collect and analyze student data to identify and address areas of need
  • Create opportunities for family engagement and learning

Participants

  • School Administration
  • Teachers (Special and Gen education, CTE)
  • School Counselors
  • VR Counselors
  • CRP’s
  • Parents
  • Students
  • Others specific to the school

Activities

  • Partner with VR Counselors and other community members in the provision of career development and community based work experiences
  • Align curriculum and programs vertically across grade levels and content areas.
  • Structured communication and intervention regarding student needs.

Team: Individual Student level

Purpose

  • Coordinate provision of individualized services and supports in both school and community settings
  • Develop and carry out a plan based on student identified career goals beyond high school
  • Engage and communicate on a regular basis with family regarding student needs and progress

Participants

  • Student
  • School Administrator
  • Student’s teachers (Special and General education)
  • VR Counselor
  • School Counselor
  • Family
  • Others specific to student needs (i.e., CRP, probation)

Activities

  • Identification of student career interests and needs
  • Development of plan with outcome oriented goals and activities.
  • Academic and employment skills development
  • Coordinated series of community based work experiences, including paid work
  • Regular communication with family about student progress and needs

Planning

Does the school have a community level team focused on transition services for students with disabilities? If so, what could be your role and responsibilities, if any, on these teams?

  • Connections to business
  • Identification of Community Resources
  • Setting up community based services

Does your school have a school level team focused on transition services for students with disabilities? If so, what could be your role and responsibilities?

  • Teaching employability classes
  • Connections to business
  • Developing work-based learning opportunities
  • Teaching self-advocacy skills
  • Activities related to post-secondary education

How will you be involved with the student level team? What is specific role and responsibilities on this team for working with the student and delivering transition services?

  • Career exploration activities
  • Job placement
  • Work readiness training
  • Teaching self-advocacy skills
  • Activities related to post-secondary education

Developing a plan for service delivery

Having the important components of the partnership in a written document is recommended. This allows all partners to have a reference that outlines the organizational components of the partnerships. Additionally, as partners evaluate the effectiveness of their collaborative efforts, a planning document is a way to reflect on what has been agreed upon as well as determine what, if any, changes need to be made in moving the work of the partnership forward. A written planning document has been provided for use in organizing and evaluating your collaborative efforts. The planning guide is in section 6 Appendices - Appendix A of this guide.

It is also important to determine what data will be used to measure the impact of your collaborative work. Data collected should help answer questions about identified performance measures and whether student outcomes are being met. See evaluation question of your planning guide in Section 6 Appendices.

Annual evaluation of partnership efforts

Setting-up periodic times to review the progress of the collaborations will allow partners an opportunity to assess overall progress to their goals and the impact of their collaborative efforts. For the overall system evaluation, meeting in the fall to set the course of action for the school year is recommended as well as a spring meeting to evaluate progress and identify what worked well and areas to improve. As improvement opportunities are identified, partners may want to identify one or two areas on which to concentrate their improvement efforts. Once one or two areas have been identified, partners can strategize on how best to tackle improvements for the next school year. The intent of an annual evaluation is to set the direction for the next year’s planning and promote continuous improvement in the partnership.

Planning document found in Section 6 Appendices - Appendix A.

Navigating the school environment

Developing effective partnerships with school personnel as well as gaining an understanding of how best to access the school environment will be key when working with students in high school. Sometimes the introduction to the school may be done through the VR Counselor working with a particular high school. VR is required to have a state interagency agreement with education in every state; some states also have local education agency agreements in addition to the state agreement; the details of navigating the school environment may already be in place through these agreements. Even though an agreement may be in place, there may be strained or limited relationships between VR and the school and you may have to develop that initial relationship with the school. Whichever way you forge the relationship with the school, the following are areas to consider as you begin your work with students in high school.

Administration buy-in

The principal oversees the daily functions of a high school therefore it will be important that he or she understands your role and the value your organization brings in working within the high school and students. When you gain the principal’s understanding and support of your work, it will promote easier access to the school environment and students. In larger school districts, you may need to work with a Director of Special Education or Pupil Services initially and later work with the school principal. The key is that administration of the school must be aware and supportive of your presence in the school. In some instances, your presence at the school may be negotiated by VR.

Once the school administration understands the value of your services, the principal can drive the process forward and help arrange for your involvement with school staff and students. The school is no different from a typical business with whom you may be developing a partnership. The principal or administration will want to know what value you will bring to the staff and students they are charged with overseeing. Therefore, when you meet with the principal it is important to listen to their specific needs and then tailor your available services to fill a specific need that the principal has.

Planning

  • What is your 30-second elevator speech?
  • What are some ways you can bring value added services to a school?
  • Identify next steps in building the partnership.

Organizational structure

When working with schools there are some basic organizational issues you will need to determine with each school. Gathering this information can be covered during your meeting with the principal or other school personnel assigned to work with you. Another great resource to learn about the school structure and expectations of students is the Student Handbook. Be sure to ask how you can obtain a copy.

Point of contact

It is important to identify a point-of-contact at each school in which you are working. This person is someone who can assist you in navigating the school environment, schedule meetings, trouble-shoot any issues that may arise, and communicate with school personnel and students. The point of contact could be the office secretary, a guidance counselor, special education director, work experience coordinator, transition specialist or specific teacher

Planning

  • Who has been identified as your point of contact for the school?
  • How will they support your work with students?
  • When are they available?
  • What is the best way to communicate with them?

Setting your schedule

Given the complexities of school schedules, setting-up a pre-determined schedule with school staff and identifying when you will be at the school and working with students is a best practice. The frequency of your visits at the school should be negotiated in advance, taking into consideration both the needs of the school, students and your capacity. If a set schedule is not possible, all meetings with educators and students should be arranged in advance with all pertinent school personnel informed. A procedure should be in place to communicate unforeseen changes to the schedule.

Planning

  • What will be your initial scheduled at the school?
  • How will your schedule be communicated to staff and students?
  • How can your schedule be adjusted if student needs change?
  • If there are changes in your typical schedule, how will that be communicated to impacted staff and students?
  • What is the building check-in procedure you need to follow?
  • Where will you meet students?
  • What internet access will be available?

Working with students

The time spent working directly with students is the most rewarding part of providing Pre-ETS services! Addressing a few important areas such as referral, parental consent, communication and scheduling will help to create a smooth service delivery and maximize student outcomes.

Referral process

A referral process for your services will need to be determined. Some states may have the CRP staff work directly with the school/parents for referrals and in other states, VR may make the initial contact with the student and then determine who will be referred to the CRP. Regardless of who makes the initial contact with the student/ parent, the following are important questions to answer as you plan the referral process.

Planning

  • Is the referral process different for potentially eligible and VR eligible students/youth?
  • Who should refer students?
  • Who should be referred?
  • When should a referral be made?
  • What is the referral process?

Parental consent and engagement

Securing parental consent and continued parent engagement will be important when working with transition age students. The school staff and VR counselors will be able to inform you about the process in place to meet requirements for obtaining parental or adult student consent prior to delivering services to students with disabilities. They have the responsibility under IDEA and WIOA to ensure that parent and student rights are protected, and regulations regarding consent are carried out correctly.

When working with students, CRPs will most likely be carrying out services included in the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). You may be asked to attend a student’s IEP meeting. Representatives of adult service agencies can (and should) be invited to participate in IEP team meetings in which transition services and post-secondary goals are discussed, if that agency is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for the transition services to be included in the student’s IEP. It is important as a CRP to determine how or if you can receive payment for attending these meetings. If you cannot be present for the meeting, it is still a good idea to share information prior to the meeting so your input can still be included in the meeting. Additionally, it is important to remember that IDEA requires the consent of the parents or the student who has reached the age of majority under State law to invite other agency representatives to participate in the meeting.

Parents have an important role in the success and outcome of your work with their child. Keeping parents informed about the activities and supports they can provide is critical. A mechanism should be in place to share periodic updates with parents. The school can help identify the best way to share information with parents (i.e., face-to- face meetings, emails, website portals, phone calls, or texts).

Planning

  • What is the process for securing parental permission/signatures and when is it required?
  • How will information be shared with parents about their son or daughter’s participation in services provided by a CRP?
  • Are there existing parent nights, conferences, etc. that the CRP could participate in?

Student information exchange

Once you have obtained parental consent it will be important to determine the process for how you will secure student information from both education and VR. Additionally, as you work with the student you will need to determine how best to share information with school personnel and VR about student progress and service needs. Exchange of student information is key to identifying how best to identify student needs, coordinate service delivery and make adjustments when necessary.

Planning

  • What are the student records and information that are relevant to the services delivered?
  • What forms are already used or available from the VR agency or education?
  • How will students’ records be made available to you?
  • What is the process of sharing information between agencies on student progress/participation?
  • What specific information will be most helpful for you to share with teachers and VR?

Working face-to-face with students

Determining how you will gain access to students during school hours will need to be determined. It is important to recognize the demands on students and teachers to ensure the student is meeting their academic and credit requirements for high school graduation. School schedules often do not provide students the flexibility and luxury to leave core classes. Therefore, it is important to work with school staff and students to identify flexibility during the day and utilize time before and after the typical school day.

Another way to address issues with student schedules is to collaborate with school administration and VR to identify classes that include Pre-ETS skills you are working on with students. Developing the option of going into a classroom to provide individual or group work is often more efficient and effective because you are incorporating your services into course work activities which enhances student learning.

Planning

  • How will time be scheduled for you to meet with students?
  • When and where will you meet with individual students?
  • How will class release time be handled?
  • When and where will you have access to meet students in groups?
  • What opportunities exist for you to provide individual or group instruction in current classes?
  • Are there any forms that needs to be completed when a student leaves a classroom?

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Section 4
Programming and Reporting Expectations for Pre-ETS

Data Collection

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in WIOA, requires States to reserve at least 15 percent of their VR funding allotment for the provision of pre-employment transition services. These reserved funds must be spent providing or arranging for the provision of pre-employment transition services.

Based on this requirement, VR agencies must ensure they are able to track pre-employment transition services properly with the reserved funds and that their internal control processes ensure the accuracy and validity of the data have been implemented.

If the VR agency uses fee-for-service or contracts for the provision of Pre-ETS, they must be able to describe how these costs are allocated toward the funds reserved, and restricts pre-employment transition services reserve funds from being used to pay for other VR services.

Whether provided in a group setting or on an individual basis, the VR agency is required to track and report pre-employment transition services and activities for each student receiving Pre-ETS. The following are required data elements for each student receiving pre-employment transition services:

  • Individual is a student with a disability and has a section 504 accommodation
  • Individual is a student with a disability and is receiving transition services under an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
  • Individual is a student with a disability who does not have a section 504 accommodation and is not receiving services under an IEP
  • Individual is not a student with a disability

The VR agency also must maintain supporting documentation of the student’s disability. Documentation may include the following:

  • case notes documenting counselor observation
  • review of school records
  • statements from education staff or a referral form for pre-employment transition services with the identification of the student’s disability, signed by school staff and parent/guardian (if the student is under the age of majority). Parental consent to participate in pre-employment transition services is governed by State law as well as policies of the education programs and the Designated State Unit – DSU.
  • a copy of an IEP document
  • SSA beneficiary award letter
  • school psychological assessment
  • documentation of a diagnosis or disability determination or documentation relating to 504 accommodation

Based on VR’s requirement to collect these data elements, it is imperative that CRPs providing Pre-ETS have the capability and structure to, at a minimum, collect the same required data elements that VR is required to collect.

The VR agency is collecting the following required data elements for an individual receiving pre-employment transition services who has not applied for or been determined eligible for VR services:

  • A unique identifier
  • Social security number (if available)
  • Date of birth
  • Race
  • Ethnicity

When reporting required data for each pre-employment transition service category for all individuals receiving pre-employment transition services, the VR agency must also track and report the following data elements, which record how the service was provided, the type of service provider and the amount expended for the service:

  • Whether the service was provided by VR Agency Staff (in-house), or
  • If provided through VR Agency Purchase:
  • Purchased Service Provider Type
  • VR Program Expenditure for Purchased Service
  • If provided by Comparable Services and Benefits Providers

In tracking these elements, VR must have policies and procedures in place with guidance regarding documentation and reporting requirements for non-applicants, applicants, and eligible individuals who are student with disabilities receiving pre-employment transition services. VR agencies must analyze each cost to determine whether it fits within the scope of pre-employment transition services. As previously stated, CRPs will also need to have the capability to capture the same data elements.

Based on all of the above, it is evident that VR has many requirements for reporting data on the delivery of pre-employment transition services to students with disabilities. These requirements include having internal controls on how expenditures are authorized, approved, and paid to vendors. Because of state variations in the development of policies and procedures, it is important that you have conversations with your local VR offices to understand the reporting requirement when contracted to provide pre-employment transition services in your community. Below are some questions that may be helpful to ask when having these conversations with your VR representative.

Planning

  • What are the CRP requirements in gathering personal identifiable information regarding the student with a disability?
  • What are the CRP requirements in gathering disability specific information regarding the student with a disability?
  • What are the CRP requirements in gaining parental signature for a student with a disability?
  • What are the CRP requirements in gathering specific information regarding a student with disability participation in one or more pre-employment transition services?
  • How will information be shared between the CRP and VR to ensure VR is receiving needed information?
  • What information needs to be gathered from the school or provided to the school?
  • What timeline will be established to ensure information is shared with VR in a timely basis by the CRP?
  • What mechanisms will be put in place to evaluate the information gathering process to determine what, if anything, needs to be improved to meet VR data requirements?

Monitoring and evaluation

VR not only has to track data related to the provision of pre-employment transition services but also describe how they will monitor and evaluate the provision of the required pre-employment transition services. Through contracts and/or fee-for-service agreements, written strategies for providing pre-employment transition services in a group or individually needs to include the expected outcomes of the activities. It is important that as a CRP you understand the expected outcomes of your contract, required documentation to demonstrate outcomes and corrective actions that will be required when outcomes are not met. Below are some questions that may be helpful to ask when having these conversations with your VR representative.

Planning

  • What are the CRP’s expected outcomes for the contract?
  • What are the timeframe to meet expected outcomes?
  • What happens if the expected outcomes are not met?
  • Is there technical assistance or training available to assist the CRP in improving their services?
  • How can best practices in meeting the outcomes be shared and replicated?
  • How can success stories can be shared?

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Section 5
Tools and Resources

Section 1

  1. Job exploration counseling

    • Career One Stop sponsored by US Department of Labor provides career profiles, self-assessments, and tools for planning careers.
    • My Next Move is a career exploration tool designed for use by students to learn about careers and match their interests to career options.
    • Occupational Outlook Handbook, US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics helps individuals find career information on duties, education and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations.
    • O*Net Career Exploration Tools . The O*NET Program is the nation’s primary source of occupational information. It provides set of self-directed career exploration/assessment tools to help students who are exploring school-to-work transition in planning career options.
    • Opening Doors to Employment is a handbook created to provide guidance to youth, parents, school counselors, special educators and others involved in transition from school to work. Includes templates and tools to use with youth.
    • Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC) provides guidance on Job Exploration Counseling.
  1. Work based learning experiences

  1. Counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or post-secondary educational programs at institutions of higher education

  1. Workplace readiness training

    • Life Centered Education (LCE) is an online curriculum that provides a complete framework of objectives, lesson plans, fact sheets and worksheets that cover three domains of adult living in the 21st century – daily living skills, self-determination and interpersonal skills, and employment skills.
    • Skills to Pay the Bills is a curriculum developed by ODEP focused on teaching "soft" or workforce readiness skills to youth, including youth with disabilities. Contains 6 lessons and additional materials.
    • Social Security Red Book - Work Incentives and Planning Assistance updated annually, the Red Book serves as a general reference source about the employment-related provisions of Social Security Disability Insurance and the Supplemental Security Income Programs for educators, advocates, rehabilitation professionals, and counselors who serve people with disabilities.
    • Soft Skills is a publication from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NSWD) that provides resources describing soft skills and guidance on how to develop these skills.
    • Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance (WINTAC) provides an overview of workplace readiness training and related activities.
  1. Self-awareness and self-advocacy

Section 2

Section 3

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Section 6
Appendices

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Pre-Employment Transition Services Planning Document

Step 1: Internal Planning

As you begin the planning process, the first parts of the process can be done by evaluating your current structure and staff capacity to provide Pre-ETS.

Section: Organizational Mission

  • Does your current mission support the inclusion of providing Pre-ETS? If so, what services?
  • What changes, if any, need to be made to your mission to align with the delivery of Pre-ETS?

Section: Staffing

  • Who are your current staff that could work effectively with students in the delivery of Pre-ETS?
  • What are the strengths of your current staff related to the delivery of Pre-ETS?
  • What additional staff do you need to hire to provide Pre-ETS?

Section: Staffing Training

  • What training do you currently provide related to transition and Pre-ETS?
  • What type of coaching and field training does your staff receive?
  • Do you have additional trainings that you need to develop to ensure your staff have the skills to deliver Pre-ETS? What are they and who will provide the training?
  • Are there opportunities to access trainings outside your agency to support cross-training or collaboration building in your staff that are delivering Pre-ETS? If so, what are they?

Step 2: Collaborative Planning

After you have done some initial planning to determine your organization’s capacity to provide Pre-ETS, the following sections of the Pre-ETS Planning Document is designed to be completed in part, with other partners you plan to collaborate with in the delivery of Pre-ETS.

Section: Identifying Pre-ETS to Provide

  • What environments are your services to students provided in school? Community? Business?
  • Are you able to expand environments to provide Pre-ETS in integrated settings of School, community or business?

Job exploration

  • Do you currently provide services that match those included in Job Exploration?
  • What services could you expand or change to meet the needs for Job Exploration?

Work based learning

  • Do you currently provide services that match those included in Work Based Learning?
  • What services could you expand or change to meet the needs for Work Based Learning?

Work readiness training

  • Do you currently provide services that match those included in workplace readiness training?
  • What services could you expand or change to meet the needs for workplace readiness training?

Instruction in self-advocacy

  • Do you currently provide services that match those included in self-advocacy?
  • What services could you expand or change to meet the needs for self-advocacy?

Counseling on opportunities for postsecondary education

  • Do you currently provide services that match those included in postsecondary education?
  • What services could you expand or change to meet the needs for postsecondary education?

Section: Roles and Responsibilities

Does the school have a community level team focused on transition services for students with disabilities? If so, what could be your role and responsibilities, if any, on these teams?

  • Connections to business
  • Identification of community resources
  • Setting up community based services

Does your school have a school level team focused on transition services for students with disabilities? If so, what could be your role and responsibilities?

  • Teaching employability classes
  • Connections to business
  • Developing work-based learning opportunities
  • Teaching self-advocacy skills
  • Activities related to post-secondary education

How will you be involved with the student level team? What is specific role and responsibilities on this team for working with the student and delivering transition services?

  • Career exploration activities
  • Job placement
  • Work readiness training
  • Teaching self-advocacy skills
  • Activities related to post-secondary education

Section: Gaining Administrative Support

  • What is your 30 second elevator speech?
  • What are some ways you can bring value added services to a school?
  • Identify next steps in building the partnership.

Section: Organizational Structure

Point of contact

  • Who is the VR staff liaison for the school and when will you meet with them?
  • Who has been identified as your point of contact for the school? Is it the same person for the VR staff?
  • How will they support your work with students?
  • When are they available? Do you have a regular scheduled time to meet?
  • What’s the best way to communicate with them?
  • Is there a backup POC should this person not be available or leave?

Setting your schedule

  • What will be your initial schedule at the school?
  • How will your schedule be communicated to staff and students?
  • How can your schedule be adjusted if student needs change?
  • If there are changes in your typical schedule, how will that be communicated to impacted staff and students?
  • What is the building check-in procedure you need to follow?
  • Where will you meet students?
  • What internet access will be available?

Section: Working with student

Referral process

  • Is the referral process different for potentially eligible and VR eligible students?
  • Who should refer students?
  • Who should be referred?
  • When should a referral be made?
  • What is the referral process and required form(s)?

Parental permission and engagement

  • What is the process for securing parental permission and signatures?
  • How will information be shared with parents about their son or daughter’s participation in CRP services?
  • Are there existing parent nights, conferences, etc. that the CRP could join?

Student information exchange

  • What are the student records and information that are relevant to the services delivered?
  • How will students’ records be made available to you?
  • What is the process of sharing information between agencies on student progress/participation?
  • What specific information will be most helpful for you to share with teachers and VR?

Working face-to-face with students

  • How will time be scheduled for you to meet with students?
  • When and where will you meet with individual students?
  • How will class release time be handled?
  • When and where will you have access to meet students in groups?
  • What opportunities exist for you to provide individual or group instruction in current classes?
  • Are there any forms that needs to be completed when a student leaves a classroom?

Section: Data Collection

  • What are the CRP requirements in gathering personal identifiable information regarding the student with a disability?
  • What are the CRP requirements in gathering disability specific information regarding the student with a disability?
  • What are the CRP requirements in gaining parental signature for a student with a disability?
  • What are the CRP requirements in gathering specific information regarding a student with disability participation in one or more pre-employment transition services?
  • How will information be shared between the CRP and VR to ensure VR is receiving needed information?
  • What information needs to be gathered from the school or provided to the school?
  • What timeline will be established to ensure information is shared with VR in a timely basis by the CRP?
  • What mechanisms will be put in place to evaluate the information gathering process to determine what, if anything, needs to be improved to meet VR data requirements?

Section: Monitoring and Evaluation

  • What are the CRP’s expected outcomes for the contract?
  • What are the timeframe to meet expected outcomes?
  • What happens if the expected outcomes are not met?
  • Is there technical assistance or training available to assist the CRP in improving their services?
  • How can best practices in meeting the outcomes be shared and replicated?
  • How can success stories can be shared?

Pre-Employment Transition Services Evaluation Plan

Is there a process or mechanism in place for the provider and VR to discuss and review activities, processes and planning on an annual basis? VR Office: / CRP: / Year:

  • What has worked well this year?
  • What has been challenging this year?
  • Have services been delivered as outlined?
  • Have students met anticipated individual outcomes?
  • Based on review of processes and data, what is one area you would like to improve for the next year?
  • What is your process to improve this area?

Pre-Employment Transition Services Common Terms and Acronyms – Common Terms of Pre-ETS

Customized Employment (CE)

Customized employment is a flexible process designed to personalize the employment relationship between a job candidate and an employer in a way that meets the needs of both. It is based on an individualized match between the strengths, conditions, and interests of a job candidate and the identified business needs of an employer. Customized Employment utilizes an individualized approach to employment planning and job development.

Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE)

Work performed by a person with a disability in a setting that has a balance of peers with and without disabilities. Wages are at least minimum wage or higher and at a rate comparable to non-disabled workers performing the same tasks.

To satisfy the definition of "competitive integrated employment," which is one of the types of employment outcomes permitted under the VR program, the employment must satisfy the requirements for all three components:

  1. Competitive earnings;
  2. Integrated Location; and
  3. Opportunities for advancement.

This means that if an individual's employment fails to satisfy any one of the above components, the employment will not meet the definition of "competitive integrated employment.

Community Rehabilitation Provider (CRP)

A CRP is a program that can directly provide or facilitate vocational rehabilitation services as one of its major functions. The purpose of these services is to enable those individuals to maximize their opportunities for employment.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

A form that can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid.

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

A federal privacy law that gives parents certain protections with regard to their children's education records, such as report cards, transcripts, disciplinary records, special education records, contact and family information, and class schedules.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Federal law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children.

Individual Education Program or Plan (IEP)

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written statement of the educational program designed to meet a student’s individual needs. Every child who receives special education services must have an IEP. The IEP has two general purposes: 1) to set reasonable learning goals for a student, and 2) to state the services that the school district will provide for the student.

Individual Plan for Employment (IPE)

The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is a written plan outlining an individual's vocational goal, and the services to be provided to reach the goal.

Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

The O*NET system is maintained by a regularly updated database of occupational characteristics and worker requirements information across the U.S. economy. It describes occupations in terms of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required as well as how the work is performed in terms of tasks, work activities, and other descriptors.

Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS)

A minimum of 15% of VRs Federal allotment must be reserved for the provision of pre-employment transition services which include five required services, 4 coordination activities and 9 authorized services if funds remain after the provision of the required services to all students with disabilities who need them. The five required pre-employment transition services are:

  1. job exploration counseling;
  2. work-based learning experiences, which may include in-school or after school opportunities, or experience outside the traditional school setting (including internships), that is provided in an integrated environment to the maximum extent possible;
  3. counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational programs at institutions of higher education;
  4. workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living;
  5. instruction in self-advocacy, which may include peer mentoring. Other activities are allowed, but only if these first five have been completed.

Self-Determination (SD)

Self-determination is a concept reflecting the belief that all individuals have the right to direct their own lives. A self-determined person is one who sets goals, makes decisions, sees options, solves problems, speaks up for himself or herself, understands what supports are needed for success, and knows how to evaluate outcomes.

Soft Skills

Soft skills help employees learn how to interact with supervisors, co-workers, and customers. They help reinforce the importance of timeliness and build an understanding of how they are perceived by others. Employers value employees who can communicate effectively and act professionally. No matter what technical skills a job may require, every job requires these interpersonal skills.

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