TRANSITION FROM SCHOOL TO WORK FOR STUDENTS WITH DSIABILITIES: CHALLENGES, LEGISLATIONS, AND PROGRAMS
Master of Science
Department or Program
Rehabilitation Administration and Services
Dr. William Crimando
Transition to adult life is challenging because the adolescents are challenged to adapt societal expectations, and engage in employment activities, higher education, or community programs. This challenge is even greater for individuals with disabilities. Many researches on employment and educational outcome for individuals with disabilities have shown really discouraging outcomes considering the positive impact of employment on this population’s quality of life. Students with disabilities experience poor outcome later in life in employment, educational achievements, and independent living. These challenges can be due to multiple reasons including exit entitlement driven system, lack of information, lack of self-determination and self-advocacy, and lack of linkage and collaboration among school and community Rehabilitation Programs. To facilitate transition for this population, congress enacted broad range of legislations such as Rehabilitation Act of 1973, American with Disability Act of 1990, No Child Left Behind, Individuals with Disability Education Act of 1990, and so on to make resources and funding available to students with disabilities and support them in their path to adult life. Project Search as a business led, non-traditional, complex, and systemic job skill-training program that occurred in the employment site was developed with the goal to expose and train transition students with disabilities to real work environment.
This paper will discuss the challenges the transition students with disabilities face in more details, review briefly major federal legislations, concentrate on transition models and specifically Project Search, and eventually provide an overview of New Jersey Division of Vocational rehabilitation Services and in a smaller scope, NJDVRS transition services in Union County.