Pre-Employment Transition Services
Pre-Employment Transition services (Pre-ETS) are designed to support the transition from school into adult life of high school students with disabilities. In order to pave the way from employment, Pre-ETS services provide vocational exploration, hard and soft skills training, and competitive integrated vocational experiences to high school students ages 16-22.
Pre-ETS staff take a person-centered approach in supporting youth as they work toward achieving integrated community employment. Following an introductory meeting and initial screening, collecting information on individual interest, skills and abilities, and supports needed, staff work with each student to develop a comprehensive support plan. Youth then work within the Pre-ETS curriculum and framework to develop soft and hard job skills through the following service components:
Workplace Readiness Training
This component is designed to provide high school students with disabilities with assistance in preparing for employment through soft-skills training, job search training, and other related trainings. A twenty-hour, classroom-based training program is offered to students five times per year (February and April vacations – Tuesday through Friday; Two, Tuesday through Friday Summer sessions; and a series of four Saturday sessions to be held in the fall months). Training content allows staff to work with students in areas such as communication, teamwork, problem solving, professionalism, networking, self-evaluation, job search training, computer and media, resume and cover letter preparation, job application tasks, interviewing (with mock interviews), thank you letters and follow-ups, and travel and transportation.
Job Exploration Counseling
The primary focus of the Job Exploration Counseling component is to assist students in identifying and learning about job opportunities in particular occupations and industry sectors, including career assessment and planning. Students work a total of 12 hours over a three week period on Saturdays or after school, with a highly skilled vocational rehabilitation counselor, to develop an individualized and person-centered career or post-secondary education plan that includes both long- and short-term goals, and that leads to vocational planning and independence.
Work-Based Learning Experience/Internships
Within the Work-Based Learning Experience/Internship component, students apply all of the knowledge gathered through their training and job exploration and apply it in a community-based setting within their area of interest. The ASPiRE! Youth Transition Coordinator builds upon existing established relationships with businesses in the community that match the needs/interest of students to develop a fifty-hour paid internship in a competitive integrated employment opportunity for students served.
The vocational rehabilitation counselor provides counseling on enrollment in post-secondary education and/or other comprehensive transition training programs services through Saturday or afterschool workshops that help students with the process of preparing applications for enrollment in post-secondary education. A self-advocacy/mentoring component provides after-school programming where students meet with peer mentors for guidance and support.
“Our Pre-ETS program introduces students to the world of employment, exploring career interests, developing the skills necessary for success, and providing real-world experience through paid internships.” - Karen Chiurri, Program Manager Employment at ASPiRE!