The Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) recently published a new policy brief – What School Leaders Need to Know – detailing schools’ legal requirements regarding transition planning to help students with disabilities prepare for work after graduation.
According to IEL’s brief, U.S. Supreme Court decisions and legal changes to the enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) may result in liability for state and local governments if students with disabilities face unnecessary segregation as they prepare for employment. School districts must take affirmative steps to ensure that students with disabilities have:
- Opportunities to make informed choices.
- Access to individualized job transition services.
- Necessary supports after leaving school.
The optimal transition environment, as described in IEL’s brief, is an “employment first” model, which promotes competitive integrated employment. In the field of supported employment, the most effective method to drive successful integrated employment outcomes is for individuals with disabilities to be placed first in competitive integrated employment and provided with the individualized training, services, supports and accommodations necessary to succeed in that environment. Information in IEL’s brief supports state, regional and local agencies’ efforts in Ohio to promote competitive integrated employment for all students, including those with the most significant disabilities.
To help school districts and students in Ohio, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) have created the Ohio Transition Support Partnership (OTSP). To improve post-school employment outcomes, OTSP has increased the availability of vocational rehabilitation counselors for students with disabilities beginning at age 14. OTSP’s goal is to help students with disabilities get a head start on job readiness and be better prepared to enter the workforce.