The Transition: School-to-Work Program helps students with disabilities who are eligible for vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for employment and life after high school. Services available through counselors in the Divisions of Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services assigned to each high school include:
- Vocational counseling and guidance: through direct contact, the DRS counselor assists teachers, parents and students in developing appropriate career goals.
- Vocational assessment and evaluation: helps determine students' employment-related strengths and interests and provides recommended career fields to investigate
- School Work Study (SWS): arranged through contracts with the schools, provides job readiness skills training through work experience at the school district or in the community, while earning a minimum wage and high school credits.
- Work Adjustment Training (WAT): is provided through contracts with the schools or from community-based facilities, and provides students with foundational employment skills to help them prepare for competitive, integrated employment after high school.
- On-the-Job Training (OJT): provides students the opportunity (during the second semester of their senior year) to obtain community employment in their career of choice with permanent employment as a goal.
- Supported Employment (SE): helps students (with the most significant disabilities) in their senior year transition into permanent employment with supports from a job coach to search for employment, apply, prepare for the interview, learn the job, and work toward independence on the job.
- Job Development and Placement specialists help students make job searches more successful by helping them take their interests and strengths and identifying possible businesses with job openings, receive and complete the job application, and prepare for the interview. The specialists will work with the DRS counselor on this process.
After graduation, DRS counselors and students continue to work toward vocational and employment goals. Some services are available to all eligible individuals without charge. At this point, individuals may be asked to share the cost of some services, depending on income and financial resources.
Visual Services Youth Attend Independent Living Skills Camp
During a week long camp youths learn independent skills and had fun interacting with other kids who are also blind and visually impaired.
Oklahoma Transition Institute
In partnership with the Department of Career and Technology Education, and other key stakeholders from across state agencies, schools, families, businesses, and other groups, DRS chairs the Oklahoma Transition Council which focuses on improving transition planning, services, and post-school outcomes for young adults with disabilities.
The council hosts an annual Oklahoma Transition Institute (OTI), where regional transition teams from across the state come together to learn about innovative practices and programs and to develop a plan for how to improve transition in their local areas. Teams are comprised of DRS counselors, school personnel, other state agencies, family members, community service providers, higher education, and other stakeholders with a vested interest in the transition of youth with disabilities. The Council has patterned its work after a model implemented in New Mexico using the Taxonomy for Transition Programming.
To learn more about the council, OTI, or how to join a local transition team in your area, contact the transition coordinator, by phone at 405.635.2768, or e-mail. Be sure to visit the OTC Facebook page for upcoming events and important information.
You can also access information about the OTC, presentations from previous Institutes (OTI), team plans, and a host of other resources relevant to secondary transition for youth with disabilities by visiting the University of Oklahoma Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment.
DRS' Transition: School-to-Work program works in collaboration with partners to offer a program dedicated to providing education and employment preparation opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities. Project SEARCH originated with the Cincinnati Children's Hospital and is a one-year, worksite-based school-to-work program. Participants complete between three and four rotations of 10 weeks each on various jobs within a host employment setting. DRS has five programs at this time—three young adult programs in Oklahoma City, one young adult program in Yukon, and one high school transition program for seniors in Enid. The programs include the following partners.
Young Adult Programs
- Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Mercy Health Systems, OU-NCDET, Dale Rogers Training Center, and DRS
- Metro Technology Centers, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Dale Rogers Training Center, OU-NCDET, and DRS
- FTTC, Canadian Valley Technology Center (CVTC), INTEGRISs Baptist Medical Center, Inc., Dale Rogers Training Center, OU-NCDET, and DRS
- CVTC, INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital, Dale Rogers Training Center, OU-NCDET, and DRS
High School Transition Programs
- Enid Public Schools, INTEGRIS Bass Baptist Health Center, CDSA, OU-NCDET, DRS
The mission of this program is to maximize the potential of people with disabilities through competitive employment in non-traditional jobs or traditional jobs in non-traditional settings. DRS provides individualized vocational guidance and funding for job coaches, training, technical assistance and project management through a contract with the OU-NCDET. For more information about Project SEARCH™, contact the DRS transition coordinator, by phone at 405-635-2768, or e-mail. Be sure to visit the Oklahoma Project SEARCH Facebook page for upcoming events and important information.
Timeline of Transition Activities
The Oklahoma Transition Council (OTC) developed a timeline of transition activities to help families, schools, and other partners begin working with children and youth to develop skills, access resources, and make strides toward preparing for life after high school. You can access the timeline by visiting the University of Oklahoma Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment, Timeline of Transition Activities.
iJobs Summer Work Experience Program
The DRS provides a paid work experience program for its high school transition clients in a few areas of the state. iJobs consists of a week of in-house training for the youth on employability and independent living skills, such as how to apply for a job, interview, perform the job, work as a team, budget, use public transportation, and comparison shopping, followed then by students working part-time on jobs in their home communities for the duration of the summer. Throughout the summer, the program staff meets with participating students each week to debrief, provide additional instruction, develop résumés and resignation letters, and bring in topical speakers. For more information on iJobs, contact the DRS Transition Coordinator, by phone at 405-635-2768, or by e-mail.
Governor’s Youth Council
The Governor’s Youth Council developed a resource to assist parents in career planning with their children. The Career Planning Folder is a free resource for you to download and print to use as often as you would like to help your youth begin thinking about careers, researching, setting goals, and taking strides toward achieving those goals.