School is back in session, but for many students with disabilities, this rite of passage can feel overwhelming. The Department of Economic Security (DES) Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program offers services designed to help students with disabilities flourish in the classroom and achieve post-academic success in the workforce. VR’s Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) are tailored to prepare students ages 14-22 for future employment in five strategic ways:
- Job Exploration: allows students to identify careers of interest, assess skills and abilities and learn about potential vocations from expert speakers. Students are also presented with labor market information so they can identify if jobs in which they have an interest are in-demand and available where they live.
- Work Readiness: helps students prepare for employment by helping them create a resume, practice job interview techniques, learn how to manage money, and develop the soft skills employers seek including non-verbal communication, conflict resolution, and professionalism.
- Post-Secondary Education/Training Counseling: gives high school students the opportunity to explore post-secondary educational and vocational options. Students can also receive help with researching available scholarships and applying for federal student aid, and learn how to access accommodations through a school’s disability resource center.
- Work-Based Learning: helps students explore career options through on-the-job experiences including volunteer work, internships, job shadowing, and apprenticeships. This can be particularly useful for students who have multiple career interests as it provides them with first-hand experience of the job.
- Self-Advocacy Skills: empowers students with disabilities to advocate for themselves in the workplace by teaching them their rights and how to request the accommodations they require. This service helps students understand their abilities and how their disability may affect them at work.
Students with disabilities may also be eligible for additional VR services including mobility equipment to aid in the student’s movement, tools to help make learning materials accessible, assistive technology, and more.
For more information about Pre-ETS services for students, please visit the Pre-Employment Transition Services webpage. For more information about the DES VR program, please visit the Vocational Rehabilitation webpage.
By Jillian Seamans