Pre-Employment Transition Services

Both vocational rehabilitation agencies and schools are required by law to provide certain transition services and supports to improve post-school outcomes of students with disabilities.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) amends the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and requires vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies to set aside at least 15% of their federal funds to provide pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS) to students with disabilities who are eligible or potentially eligible for VR services.  The intent of pre-employment transition services is to:

  • improve the transition of students with disabilities from school to postsecondary education or to an employment outcome,
  • increase opportunities for students with disabilities to practice and improve workplace readiness skills, through work-based learning experiences in a competitive, integrated work setting and
  • increase opportunities for students with disabilities to explore post-secondary training options, leading to more industry recognized credentials, and meaningful post-secondary employment.

Pre-employment transition services:

  • represent the earliest set of services available for students with disabilities who are eligible or potentially eligible for VR services,
  • are short-term in nature, and
  • are designed to help students identify career interests, which may be further explored through additional vocational rehabilitation (VR) services, such as transition services and other individualized VR services
  • are provided to all who meet the definition of a student with a disability who may need such services.

Pre-Employment Transition Services Overview

Pre-employment transition services includes a specific set of activities (under section 113 of the Rehabilitation Act and 34 C.F.R. 361.48(a)) including:

Five Required Activities (section 113(b) of the Act and §361.48(a)(2));

  1. Job Exploration Counseling
  2. Work-Based Learning Experiences
  3. Counseling on Postsecondary Education Opportunities
  4. Workplace Readiness Training
  5. Instruction in Self-Advocacy

Four Pre-employment Transition Coordination Activities that are essential for arranging and providing pre-employment transition services (section 113(d) of the Act and§361.48(a)(4)):

  1. Attending Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings, when invited;
  2. Working with the local workforce development boards, one-stop centers, and employers to develop work opportunities for students with disabilities;
  3. Working with schools to coordinate and ensure the provision of pre-employment transition services;
  4. Attending person-centered planning meetings for students with disabilities receiving services under Title XIX of the Social Security Act, when invited.

Nine Authorized Activities (section 113(c) of the Act and §361.48(a)(3))

If funds remain, VR agencies may provide the nine authorized activities to improve the transition of students with disabilities from school to postsecondary education or an employment outcome.

    When Pre-employment Transition Services Begin

    Pre-employment transition services may begin once a student requests or is recommended for one or more pre-employment transition services, and documentation of a disability is provided to the vocational rehabilitation agency.

    Collaboration with local educational agencies (LEA)

    LEAs (i.e., local schools) are obligated to provide transition services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). They are responsible for providing and paying for any transition service that is considered special education or related services necessary for ensuring a free appropriate public education (FAPE), as required under IDEA. Pre-employment transition services provided by VR agencies may not duplicate or supplant services that are already provided by local education agencies through the IDEA.

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    What's New?

    Key Resources

    Training

    Pre-ETS Required Activities

    Job Exploration Counseling

    Guidance on a wide variety of activities to help youth explore career options and opportunities. These activities are intended to foster motivation, consideration of opportunities, and informed decision-making. More about Job Exploration Counseling.

    Work-Based Learning Experiences

    Work-Based Learning Experiences use the workplace or real work to provide students with the knowledge and skills that will help them connect school experiences to real-life work activities and future career opportunities. More about Work-Based Learning Experiences.

    Counseling on Postsecondary Education Opportunities

    Preparing for postsecondary education including career exploration, training programs and opportunities, navigating campus life, financial aid, etc. More about Counseling on Postsecondary Education Opportunities.

    Workplace Readiness Training

    Workplace readiness training may include developing social skills and independent living, such as communication and interpersonal skills, financial literacy, orientation and mobility skills, job-seeking skills, understanding employer expectations for punctuality and performance, as well as other “soft” skills. More about Workplace Readiness Training.

    Instruction in Self-Advocacy

    Understanding laws and rights, disability disclosure, accommodations and supports. More about Instruction in Self-Advocacy.