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One-Stops: Getting Involved in Transition
One-Stop systems can assist with the transition process by:
- providing quality, universally accessible services for all young people
- by considering the needs of young people with disabilities in the design and delivery of such services
- by providing support and assistance as needed by young people with disabilities as they use One-Stop services.
(See below for the IDEA definition of "transition."
Additionally, One-Stop systems can be involved in the transition process by:
- Helpfully responding to requests - One-Stop Centers can be involved in transition simply by giving helpful responses to requests for assistance by individuals involved in transition planning. As part of the transition to adult life, One-Stop Centers should expect that educators, students with disabilities, and parents will make contact with the Center to discuss the availability of local employment and training services. Be prepared with information and ideas for these youth.
- Actively seeking involvement - One-Stop systems may wish to participate in transition activities beyond responding to requests for assistance, through actively seeking involvement. There is even the possibility that One-Stops could access additional funding for more active involvement in the transition process. The following are some ideas on ways to learn about opportunities for more active involvement by One-Stop systems in transition services.
- School contact: Contact your local school or school districts department of special education; ask to talk to the person in charge of the transition of students with disabilities in the school or district. (This individual could be the Special Education Director, vocational staff, rehabilitation staff, etc.) Discuss how One-Stops might be involved in transition activities.
- Find out if services are subcontracted: Find out if the local school or district is subcontracting vocational assessment and job placement services, and the possibilities for the One-Stop system to be involved in providing such services.
- Contact transition teams: Some communities have developed community-level transition teams. These groups are known by such names as community transition team, interagency community council, and local transition advisory group. If such a team exists, meet with this team, to discuss possible roles for the One-Stop system in the transition.
- Contact parent groups: Get in touch with parent groups, which can be a good vehicle for involvement in transition. Many communities have parent groups and organizations focused on the needs of their children with disabilities. Each state has a Parent Teaching and Information Center (PTI) which may be a source of contacts. If you dont know how to get in touch with your states PTI, contact the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities - NICHCY (contact information is in the resource listing at the end of this section).
- Examine existing interagency agreements: IDEA is clear on the need for interagency linkages at higher levels, beyond individual agency-to-school staff contacts. Each State Plan for special education sets forth policies and procedures for developing and implementing interagency agreements between the State Education Agency (SEA) and all other State and local agencies that provide or pay for services with children with disabilities (NICHCY, 1999). A state or local interagency agreement may already exist between the public Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) system (a One-Stop partner), the public education agency, and/or the workforce investment system, and the state or district-level education agency. If such agreements exist, find out what mechanisms, parameters, and requirements exist for One-Stops to be involved in transition services via these linkages.
- Involvement via LWIB or Youth Council: Explore One-Stop system involvement in transition activities via the Local Workforce Investment Board or Youth Council, which must include education officials. These connections are particularly useful when School to Work Opportunities Act (STWOA) program representatives are involved.
- Additional contacts: Get in touch with the National Transition Alliance, and other organizations listed in the resource section, to find out more about transition, and contacts for your local area.
Definition of Transition - Under IDEA (1997)
Transition services means a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability that:
- is designed within an outcome-oriented process that promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;
- is based on the individual students needs, taking into account the students preferences and interests; and
- Related services;
- Community experiences;
- The development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives; and
- If appropriate, acquistion of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.
IDEA (1997) - Statement of Needed Transition Services
Transition planning begins not later than age 14 as part of the IEP, is updated annually, and requires that school district:
- invite student and family to team meetings
- consider students needs, preferences and choices
- identify & implement all transition services at age 16
- include future-oriented outcomes, goals & objectives: education/instruction, community living skills, employment (functional vocational evaluation as needed) related services & post-secondary education
- invite liaisons from the appropriate human service agencies
- describe interagency responsibilities or needed linkages
- notify of transfer of parental rights at age 17
An Example of an Innovative Approach of One-Stop Collaboration with the Education System
Imagine a mini-WorkForce (One-Stop) Center in each high school. Thats the dream of Darryl Larson, coordinator of the High School Youth Ambassador Project, Minnesota WorkForce Center-Downtown St. Paul.
Using a grant, Larson has connected with school-to-work coordinators at five St. Paul high schools and hired five students. In the fall, those students spent 50 hours learning about the services available at WorkForce Centers. The students learned about techniques such as creative job searching, skills identification, resumes and cover letters, interviews, networking, and computer resources.
Larson expects the WorkForce Center ambassadors to take their newfound knowledge back with them to their schools and teach other students how to take advantage of these services. Id like to see a mini-WorkForce Center in every high school, Larson said. It's important that students learn about and prepare for the world of work.
Helping Students with Cognitive Disabilities Find and Keep a Job. NICHCY Technical Assistance Guide, Vol. 3, No. 1, April 1999. National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities, Washington, DC; available at www.nichcy.org/pubs/stuguide/ta3book.htm
Transition Services in the IEP. NICHCY Transition Summary, Vol. 3, No. 1, March 1993. National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities, Washington, D.C. Available at www.nichcy.org/pubs/transum/ts8txt.htm
Adapted in part from the Interstate Conference of Employment Security Agencies website.