WTP Overview and Purpose
Despite national efforts, young adults with disabilities remain among the least represented demographic in the labor force (U.S. Department of Labor, 2020). One strategy shown to be effective in supporting positive post-secondary outcomes for these individuals is the coordination of school-based transition services with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR; Migliore et al., 2012; Poppen et al., 2017; Schaller et al., 2006). Under the reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act of 2014, VR agencies are required to ensure pre-employment transition services are made available to all potentially eligible students with disabilities. However, there remains a need for schools and local VR agencies to engage in planning and capacity building activities that will further the implementation of coordinated school-based transition services, like pre-employment transition services (Honeycutt et al., 2015; Poppen et al., 2017). In Washington, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) estimates that each year there are about 60,000 potentially eligible students with disabilities who DVR must ensure access to pre-employment transition services if needed. Results from a 2019/2020 statewide needs assessment suggest about 50-74% of these potentially eligible students with disabilities need additional pre-employment transition services (Poppen et al., 2020). While efforts to meet these demands improve each year, work still needs to be done to address gaps in services.
The purpose of the Washington Transition Program (WTP) is to improve positive postsecondary outcomes for young adults with disabilities by increasing the availability and accessibility of transition services that are provided in coordination with the Washington Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (WA-DVR), including pre-employment transition services. To do this, we incorporate what we know about effective models of collaboration and the unique contexts of Washington’s transition stakeholders to improve service delivery. WA-DVR and school teams work together through a facilitated a capacity building and action planning process for the coordination and delivery of services along the DVR continuum of services that results in increased access and improved availability of transition services for students with disabilities. This process includes the use of the Transition Self-Assessment Tool.
The Washington Transition Program (WTP) is working with pilot sites with strong and/or emerging relationships between school and WA-DVR staff; and have a passion for creative problem solving and improving student outcomes.
- Each pilot site participates in a multi-phase capacity building and action planning process facilitated by a WTP Technical Assistance Provider from Washington State University (WSU), that include ongoing professional development throughout the school year, an annual showcase at the end of the school year, opportunities to learn from other pilot sites throughout the state, and individualized team supports.
- The goal of each pilot site is to increase the extent to which all potentially eligible students have access to and receive (when needed) coordinated pre-employment transition services and to increase VR eligibility and in-application services when appropriate.
- Pilot site teams include at minimum, one or more school/site transition services expert(s), a DVR Regional Transition Consultant, a DVR High School Counselor Liaison, and administrative support from both a school/site and DVR local office.
- Each member of the team devote about 2-5 hours/week to the process, and administrative support for their participation in the project is required.
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