Transition services may be provided or arranged by Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies and are defined in 34 C.F.R. § 361.5(c)(55). They include a coordinated set of activities for either students or youth with disabilities. They are designed within an outcome-oriented process that promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational training, competitive integrated employment, supported employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. They are based upon the individual student's or youth's needs, taking into account the student's or youth's preferences and interests, and involve outreach to and engagement of the parents, as appropriate. Such activities may include:
- community experiences,
- the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and
- acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation, if appropriate.
VR can provide transition services to an eligible student or youth with a disability in accordance with an approved IPE for the purpose of promoting or facilitating the achievement of an employment outcome, or a projected post-school employment outcome.
VR Transition Services are part of the continuum of services that the VR program can provide. This continuum begins with pre-employment transition services, which represent the earliest set of services that are only available to students with disabilities, regardless of whether or not they have applied for or been determined eligible for VR services. Pre-employment transition services are described in 34 C.F.R. § 361.48(a), and include any of five required pre-employment transition services activities (which are provided to students according to their individual needs), coordination activities, and authorized activities.
Transition services are the next set of services along the continuum and are available to students and youth with disabilities who have applied for and been determined eligible for the VR program, and such services are included on their IPE. These outcome-oriented transition services are designed to help further develop career interests through post-secondary education, training, employment acquisition, retention, and follow-up.
It is also important to understand the distinction between VR transition services and Group Transition Services that may be provided to groups of students or youth in accordance with 34 CFR 361.49 (a)(7). Unlike VR transition services, these group transition services are not individualized and benefit a group of students or youth. Students and youth are not required to apply for or be determined eligible to participate in these generalized group services, which can include activities such as group tours, employer visits, career fairs, etc. These group transition services are also not considered pre-employment transition services.
Understanding the distinction between these three sets of services, who can participate in them, and what is provided is very important. The following graphic, provided by NTACT:C, is offered to assist in understanding this distinction. Click the link to view the details.
Pre-Employment Transition Services (34 CFR § 361.48(a)) • Only for students with disabilities in a recognized educational program • VR application and IPE are not required. • The 5 required Pre-ETS services can be provided in a group setting or individually. Individualized Transition Services (34 CFR § 361.48(b)(18)) • For students and youth with disabilities • VR application and approved IPE are required. • Any allowable VR service, including pre-employment transition services, can be provided, such as job coaching, job placement, transportation, etc., under an IPE Group Transition Services (34 CFR § 361.49(a)(7)) • For groups of students and youth with disabilities • VR application and IPE are not required. • Services are not individualized but benefit a group. Participation in the VR program is not required. Services may include group tours, employer visits, career fairs, etc.
To promote the successful transition of students with disabilities, the VR agency must collaborate with the state educational agency (SEA) and the local educational agencies (LEAs). The VR agency and the SEA must develop a formal interagency agreement, the requirements for which are outlined in 34 C.F.R. § 361.22. At a minimum, these agreements must describe:
- consultation and technical assistance by the VR agency to assist educational officials in planning for the transition of students with disabilities;
- joint transition planning involving education and VR staff to support the implementation of the student’s individualized education program (IEP);
- the roles and responsibilities, including financial responsibilities, of the education agency and the VR agency, including provisions for determining State lead agencies and qualified personnel responsible for transition services and pre-employment transition services;
- procedures for outreach to and identification of students with disabilities who are in need of transition services and pre-employment transition services;
- coordination necessary to satisfy documentation requirements set forth in 34 CFR part 397 with regard to students and youth with disabilities who are seeking subminimum wage employment.
Outreach to students with disabilities must occur as early as possible during the transition planning process and must include, at a minimum, a description of the purpose of the VR program, eligibility requirements, application procedures, and scope of services that may be provided to eligible individuals. In addition, an IPE must be developed in accordance with 34 C.F.R. § 361.45 as early as possible during the transition planning process and not later than the time a student with a disability determined to be eligible for VR services leaves the school setting.
Dear Director Letter - Formal Interagency Agreements Between State VR Agencies and SEAs (7.15.2019): transmits a review instrument for the formal interagency agreement between SEAs and VR agencies developed by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
A Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students and Youth with Disabilities, revised August 2020: OSERS updated the Guide to advance our efforts in ensuring that all students and youth with disabilities are equipped with the skills and knowledge to achieve their post-school and career goals.
The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition: The Collaborative is a technical assistance center jointly funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Their website includes a wide variety of technical assistance resources and training materials that will be helpful to you in providing pre-employment transition services for students with disabilities as well as transition services for students and youth with disabilities. The following are among the more recently issued resources: