Vocational Training for Special Needs Students
Programs for older students transitioning to adulthood
The goal of Spectrum Center’s Transition Programs is to facilitate students’ successful transition to life after high school. To achieve this goal, Spectrum develops individual transition plans, transition education and vocational training based on each student’s needs, abilities, independent living skills, personal interests and goals.
There are three components of the Spectrum Center Transition Program:
Individual Transition Plan:
Spectrum Center develops customized, assessment-based vocational and transitional services with a focus on each student’s interests, abilities, independent living skills and personal goals. By collaborating with students, families and community partners, Spectrum creates opportunities for students to gain valuable work and life experience through employment, volunteer service and other types of community engagement.
Transition Education and Vocational Training:
Spectrum Center incorporates transition education in each Individual Education Program (lEP) to help students ages 16 to 22 identify career and life goals – and work to achieve them.
- Career exploration;
- Job skills training;
- Work experience;
- Service learning opportunities;
- Supported employment through the Workability Program;
- Vocational skills taught across multiple settings by trained job coaches;
- Resume writing/interviewing skills;
- Executive functioning skills (e.g., organizing, prioritizing, time management, regulating emotions);
- Social and communication skills development;
- Independent living skills;
- Personal financial management; and/or
- Support with post-secondary options; vocational/trade school, college, and competitive employment.
WorkAbility Program (California programs):
Eligible students are able to gain work experience by securing jobs with local employers through the WorkAbility Program. Students and employers are matched based on the employer’s need and the student’s vocational assessment, individual abilities and career interests. The WorkAbility Program offers on-campus and off-campus training for jobs such as retail stocking, light janitorial work, clerical services, food service, and landscaping and grounds maintenance.
Spectrum Center helps students learn job skills by modeling appropriate work behavior and social interactions and by encouraging students to develop relationships with co-workers in order to foster greater independence. The job coach’s role decreases as students’ progress.
The WorkAbility Program pays student wages during training and continues to provide ongoing support after students transition to the employer’s payroll. The WorkAbility Program benefits both students and employers by preparing students for more independent adulthood and offering employers positive, productive relationships with students with special needs.