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Preparing Students at the Secondary Level for Employment

School Based Preparation

What is the employment rate for young people with disabilities between the age of 18 and 29?
The employment rate is only 57% compared to 72% the employment rate for
individuals without disabilities.
What is the outlook for employment of students with learning disabilities?
There are no differences in employment outlook between students with learning
disabilities and other disabilities. Both groups find themselves in low paying jobs with
limited benefits or in part-time employment?
What are the benefits of employment?
There are two parts to the benefits of employment. The first benefit is the
independence characterized by having an economic base of support. Examples might
be (pursuing post-secondary education, living independently and participating in
recreational activities). The second benefit is a sense of accomplishment, an increased
sense of self- worth, assistance in solidifying self-identity and providing a social network
of friends and support. Examples we have seen in class include (the people in the DO-IT
videos computer programmer using a mouth piece, the blind help desk worker,
When should employment preparation begin?
To be successful, the process of preparing young people for employment must begin
long before they reach high school. Elementary and middle schools must ensure that
students develop the work related habits, behaviors and skills needed in todays market.
An example of these habits might be (being on time, being prepared, getting started
without being asked, checking work for accuracy)

What is the first school based employment strategy?

The first school based employment strategy is curriculum based Career Education.
When career education is infused into existing curricula from kindergarten through high
school, employability skills, daily living skills and personal social skills experiences can be
matched to traditional subject matter making learning more meaningful. Examples
include (employabilitybeing in class on time and ready to work , daily living skillscleaning up ones own lunch tray, personal social skills-playground peer problem
How have various reform efforts exacerbated issues faced by students with disabilities?
Reform efforts focus on accountability and an increase in graduation requirements. The
push to have students with disabilities in as many general education classes as possible
to meet graduation requirements has limited some students access to employment
training and adult life skills classes. (an example of this is students now need to
complete 4 years of English, 3 years each of math, science and social studies. Fewer
students have room for a woods, computer, or work-based learning class).
What are the four stages of career development?
The four stages of career development are:
(Career Awareness-provides awareness of the existence of work)
(Career Exploration helps students explore their interests and abilities in relation to
various life-styles and occupations)
(Career Preparation-facilitates career decision making through identification of
interests, desires, and future lifestyle choices)
(Career Assimilation-helps students finalize their plans for transition to various postsecondary environments.)
What is the second school based employment strategy?

The second based school based employment strategy is to integrate employment and
academic skills. Examples include: (magnet schools for specific industries, specialty
classes that integrate employment skills with required classes for graduation21st
Century Writing)
What is the third school based employment strategy?
The third school based employment strategy is using a functional curriculum. An
example of this is the LCCE curriculum, the MERIT program at HHS, all CI classrooms.
What is the fourth school based employment strategy?
The fourth school based strategy is conduct ongoing transition assessments. Many
schools conduct and initial transition assessment (an example is the ESTR) but there
should be ongoing process for helping students to determine their employment
interests and abilitiesinterest inventories, interviews, situational assessments (at CTC
feedback forms are used after a student tours and observes programs they are
interested in).
What is the fifth school based employment strategy?
The fifth school based employment strategy is involving students in Career-Technical
Education (CTE). This option may fit well with the students course of study which
includes obtaining vocational training while in high school. Today, CTE focuses on the
Secretarys Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS).
What are the 5 SCANS competencies that effective workers can use productively?
The five SCANS competencies include: resources, interpersonal skills, information,
systems, and technology.
What are the SCANS foundation skills?
Basic skills in (reading, writing, arithmetic and mathematics as well as speaking and

Thinking skills include (thinking creatively, making decisions, solving problems, seeing
things in the minds eye, knowing how to learn, and reasoning).
Personal qualities include (individual responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, selfmanagement and integrity).
What is the sixth school based employment strategy?
The sixth school based employment strategy is using on-campus training opportunities.
Examples of this strategy might be on campus jobs. (paper recycling, squishee sales,
copy center, shredding center, message delivery, and cafeteria workers). Other on
campus training opportunities might be a school based enterprise. Examples might be
performing work at school for a local company: (folding pizza boxes, papermaking, card
making, and making buttons).
If all of these school based employment strategies are utilized the current employment rate for
young people with disabilities between the age of 18 and 29 should improve.

Preparing Students at the Secondary Level for Employment

Community Based Preparation
What is community based training?
Community based training is instruction conducted in the community with the
ultimate goal of securing competitive employment, independent living and
community adjustment. It promotes skills generalization and allows students to
practice skills in the appropriate contextual setting.
What are the six types of community based training?
The six types are job-shadowing, internships, apprenticeships, volunteerism or
community service projects, mobile work crews or enclaves, and competitive
employment. Examples of these are:

job shadowing in resource program at HHS

internships-MERITat HHS, work experience at CTC-clinicals, home building

community service through NHS at HHS

CBI work crews

competitive employment, transportation and hospitality at CTC, work based

learning at HHS

What are factors of successful community-based employment?

A successful community based employment program will include a solid framework,

student buy-in, family support, interagency collaboration and quality instruction at the
job site. Instructional strategies will include verbal instructions, gestures, physical
assists, modeling, time delay response cues and various reinforcement procedures.
The benefits include access to real-world materials and equipment with built-in
opportunities for generalization.
What are two considerations that are made in establishing community based training sites?

The first consideration in establishing community based training sites is locating training
sites. This may include a job market screening. An agency that might assist with this is
(Disability Network Lakeshore or Michigan Rehabilitation Services.)
Another consideration is funding. One method of dealing with this issue is to obtain
free materials examples include (applications, employee handbooks, newspapers).
What are two more considerations that should be made in establishing community based
training sites?

A third consideration in establishing community based training sites is staffing. This

consideration includes creative thinking about which school personal will be most
effective in providing the necessary supervision. Some options include
(paraprofessionals, Employment training specialists-training available through
intermediate school districts, therapeutic support personnel-OT, PT, Speech).
The fourth consideration in establishing community based training sites is
transportation. This might include the use of district transportation or, in a city with
public transportation, include training and reliance on this public service. An example
would be (MAX or GR Transit).
What are the last four considerations in establishing community based training sites?

The last four considerations all have to do with laws and safety. Liability, safety,
insurance and fair labor standards act considerations are all details that must be
attended to before placing students in work sites in the community. The training
available for this is called (Risk Management and is available at a State Conference
once a year or through the local intermediate school district).
What instructional strategies can be used in providing employment preparation to students in
inclusive educational placements?

The instructional strategies that can be used for students in inclusive educational
placements are conduct an environmental analysis, conduct a job analysis, develop job
task analysis, and choose appropriate instructional strategies.
What self-instruction strategies can be used in inclusive educational placements?

Self-instruction strategies may include problem solving, Did-Next-Now, What-Where,

and Interactive Did-Next-Ask. (Examples: Did-Next-Nowcleaning a house, bulk
mailing, packaging. What-Wherecleaning hotel rooms. Interactive Did-NextAsktaking a food order).
What considerations should be made for parents and families in community-based employment

To successfully involve parents in a community based employment program inform

them of best practices for a results oriented transition plan, inform them of adult
agency supports, inform them of a young persons abilities and vocational needs, inform
them of legal status for reaching the age of majority, provide them with resources
needed to obtain and maintain employment (example MRS and/or Disability Network
Lakeshore, MAX) and inform them of financial planning issues (examples include
connecting them with ARC).
What work incentives are available through social security?

Work incentivse available through social security include Plan for Achieving SelfSupport (PASS) and impairment-Related Work Expenses (IRWE).
What promising practices address common employment preparation challenges?

Promising practices in addressing common employment preparation challenges include

using assistive technology. Examples include (using PDAs for cues in a work
environment), considering medical and health needs.
What are the barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities?

Some of the barriers to employment include overcoming employer perceptions and

attitudes, responding to unrealistic career goals, overcoming limited early training and
planning, overcoming a lack of adult service options, surviving high unemployment
rates, and overcoming limited employment options.
Implementing these strategies and considerations will support a school in establishing effective
and meaningful community based instruction opportunities.