Transition planning takes place during the high school years or earlier, and it involves collaboration between the student and his or her family, school staff and community partners. Planning leads to activities including assessment, career exploration and development, coursework to support post school living, vocational experiences, college life preparation and much more. Each transition plan is unique and is designed to help individuals achieve their post-high school aspirations with as much independence as possible in the areas of education or training, employment and independent living skills.
The measurable postsecondary goals (MPSGs) section of the IEP must be completed annually beginning the year the student is 15 years old. Helping the individual to establish an employment goal is often the most challenging part of the MPSGs. The world of work may seem a long way off and little may be known about which kinds of career options actually exist.
When working with students to develop IEP employment goals, please consider the following:
- The goal is not fixed. As students learn more about their strengths, interests and preferences, their vocational outlook changes.
- The goal should reflect the student’s career desire, as opposed short-term employment goals. Many students will work during the summer or while in college. But that is not the intent of this goal. The information listed should answer this question: If a student will attend college or a vocational training school, what job does he or she intend to have as a result of completing the degree or program?
- Evidence should be provided that supports employment goals; some examples could include career interest assessments, work experiences (paid or unpaid) and occupational courses.
- Writing individual MPSGs is always a good idea because the information is specific to the person. If, on the other hand, you choose to select offerings from the IEP software menu, be careful to pick options that you know are appropriate. Some of the selections reference terms more commonly used by vocational rehabilitation specialists, for example, competitive employment and supported employment. These listings are intended for individuals with specific strengths or needs, and unless their meanings are fully understood, it may be best to avoid making a selection which may not appropriately support the student.
When identifying career goals, it is critical to consider employment opportunities. Which industries show the greatest potential for job growth? What are the educational requirements for specific jobs? Which jobs are available in the Lower Hudson Valley? To learn more about specific jobs and their requirements, check out Career Zone at: https://www.careerzone.ny.gov/views/careerzone/index.jsf.
For information about job trends in our area or anywhere in the State, check out the NYS Dept. of Labor at: https://labor.ny.gov/stats/index.shtm.