Maximum flexibility in the career decision making process is important in the early phases of Post-Secondary Education (PSE) planning. This includes gaining an awareness of the wide range of career pathway options and labor market realities and projections. The U.S. Department of Labor has created clusters of careers to help schools to provide instruction and monitor student experience1. The following 16 broad categories encompass virtually all occupations from entry through professional levels, including those that require varying degrees of education and training, as exemplified by the sample careers within each cluster:
- Agricultural & Natural Resources
- Business and Administration
- Education and Training
- Health Science
- Human Services
- Law and Public Safety
- Government and Public Administration
- Scientific Research/ Engineering
- Arts, A/V Technology & Communications
- Architecture and Construction
- Law & Public Safety
- Hospitality & Tourism
- Information & Technology
- Retail/Wholesale Sales & Service
- Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
Choosing a career requires student exploration and planning. It is important that students connect the present to the future. It is essential for them to see how skill development and knowledge relate to future opportunities in postsecondary Education (PSE) settings and employment.
Strategies for Smooth Transition-High School to Postsecondary Education
Individualized student strategies to support a smooth transition from high school to postsecondary education (PSE) include:
- document academic accommodations
- advocate for needed accommodations & services
- identify interests, abilities,
- talents, needs, learning style preferences and goals
- promote use of executive function skills
- assist with researching career & PSE options
- promote participation in PSE preparation classes, etc.
- connect to PSE resources/ services/websites
- promote use of self-advocacy skills
- assist with application/ enrollment process
- identify financial aid options
- take career vocational assessments
- familiarize with education and vocational laws
- identify technology needs
- identify admission tests accommodations
- attend college fairs & tours
- apply for Vocational Rehabilitation services, if eligible
- provide PSE information to family members
- access services & supports from developmental/ intellectual disabilities service agency, if eligible
Information/Guidance on Postsecondary and Training Options
It is essential that students and their family members are provided information and guidance on a variety of post-secondary education and training opportunities. This includes information on:
- Community Colleges (AA/AS degrees, certificate programs and classes)
- Universities (Public & Private)
- Career pathways related workshops/training programs
- Trade/Technical Schools
- Post-Secondary programs at community colleges and Universities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)2 of 1990 upholds and extends the nondiscrimination mandates set forth in Section 5043 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to include both public and private colleges and universities regardless of their receipt of federal financial assistance, but does contain exceptions for private clubs and religious entities.
- In addition, it is essential to the PSE planning process to learn about the special departments and/or supports available at the PSE institutions of higher learning. The college tour should include a visit to the office that oversees provision of disability services and supports, where available. This office has a variety of names depending on the PSE site, including: Special Services, Student Services, Disabled Student Services, Disability Support Services, etc. It is important to note that these services vary depending on specific offices and should be investigated as part of the fact finding efforts in deciding on a PSE institution.
- In order to receive academic adjustments as a student with a disability, the student must identify himself or herself as having a disability and needing academic adjustments. To ensure the provision of appropriate services, a student must present current and comprehensive documentation to DSS or similar administrative office. It is also important for students to be aware of and understand the privacy or confidentiality policies of the college. Generally, these records are covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the federal law that protects the privacy of student education records4.
- Summary of Performance (SOP): To promote easier access to needed supports after school exit, each student should leave the secondary school system with a Summary of Performance (SOP). The SOP is required under the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004. The language as stated in IDEA 2004 regarding the SOP is as follows: For a child whose eligibility under special education terminates due to graduation with a regular diploma, or due to exceeding the age of eligibility, the local education agency "shall provide the child with a summary of the child's academic achievement and functional performance, which shall include recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting the child's postsecondary goals" §Sec. 300.305(e)(3). The Summary of Performance, with the accompanying documentation, is important to assist the student in the transition from high school to higher education, training and/or employment. This information is necessary under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act to help establish a student's eligibility for reasonable accommodations and supports in postsecondary settings. It is also useful for the Vocational Rehabilitation Comprehensive Assessment process. The information about students' current level of functioning is intended to help postsecondary institutions consider accommodations for access5.
For some specific resources for this required activity click here.
1U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (Feb., 2015).
2Americans with Disabilities Act.
3Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
4Guidance and Career Counselor's Toolkit Guide, Advising high School Students with Disabilities on Post-Secondary Options, Heath Resource Center, The George Washington University, ( 2006, March).
5Wright's Law, Summary of Performance. (n.d.).