Career planning lightbulbSuccessful transition planning includes clearly identifying both your objectives and the pathways necessary to achieve them.  Understanding the various opportunities available to high school students and young adults is crucial to developing a solid transition plan – one that enables individuals to seamlessly navigate the often complicated world of adulthood.

Most individuals will, at some point, pursue career paths.  Following high school, some people will first attend college or a vocational training program, while others will choose to immediately enter the workforce.  Many students who have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are eligible for a wide range of career supports offered by ACCES-VR (Adult and Career and Continuing Education Services – Vocational Rehabilitation).

ACCES-VR is staffed by certified rehabilitation counselors.  They work with eligible high school students and adults to develop Individualized Plans for Employment (IPEs).  The plans identify a variety of options including, but not limited to: work-readiness skills, vocational assessments, college tuition, job training, job placement, and job coaching. There is no fee for services, however, persons who meet economic need will be eligible to receive funding for additional programs and services, as appropriate.  All applicants must be able to legally work in this country.

A good rule of thumb is for educators, students and their families to begin exploring ACCES-VR services during the student’s sophomore year, or two years prior to graduation.  Applications should be submitted during the student’s junior year, allowing sufficient time for the intake process.  Documentation is required, including records to substantiate the student’s disabling condition.  It may take time to gather the necessary paperwork, so avoid waiting until the individual’s senior year to begin the process.

In the Lower Hudson Valley region there are three ACCES-VR locations:  Westchester (White Plains), Rockland (Spring Valley), and Putnam (Poughkeepsie).  To learn more about the organization including services as well eligibility criteria, and to download an application, click here to visit the ACCES-VR website.