Practical Tips


Gather assessment data throughout the school year in a variety of environments to assist students in developing career interests, functional skills, and work-related behaviors.
These assessments will provide the IEP team with valuable information about the student’s abilities, interests, and support needs when developing postsecondary employment goals.

Create a coordinated set of activities, or path, annually to assist students to get closer to reaching their postsecondary employment goal.
The activities generated should focus on the development of work-related behaviors, job seeking and keeping skills, career exploration, skill training, and self-determination for the end goal of employment.

Develop and provide work experiences to students while in school.
A variety of experiences emphasizing work-based learning, such as job shadowing, school-based internships, community-based experiences, volunteering, or paid employment, will assist students to build their skill sets, explore interests, and increase their understanding of work expectations.

Assist students in assembling a career portfolio.
A portfolio will provide potential employers with a visual representation of the student’s work experiences, skills, strengths, interests, and accomplishments.

Familiarize yourself with the community agencies that provide services and supports to youth in the areas of education and training, employment, and independent living.
Making linkages early with the agencies that will provide services to students is critical to supporting their successful transition to the workforce.


Maintain high expectations.
High expectations benefit youth and can make a difference in a student’s success. Communicate your expectations clearly and encourage your son or daughter to build upon strengths, interests, and needs to achieve independence.

Create goals for increasing independence.
Families can begin the path towards successful employment by setting goals in the home for increasing independence.

Build work skills at home.
The role of family in building work skills at home is important. Provide opportunities to learn about meeting responsibilities, solving problems that arise in daily situations, and interacting appropriately with others.

Become familiar with the array of services that are designed to assist individuals with disabilities in your community.
Many public and private agencies that offer services have eligibility criteria and waiting lists. Learn about the adult services and the supports they provide.


Be open to exploring a variety of career options and goals.
The more career exploration you do, the better your chances of finding occupations that fit your interests, values, and skills.

Learn about ways to become self-determined.
Your chances of achieving your desired level of independence and employment goals are much greater when you know about your own preferences, interests, needs, and strengths and can express those to others.

Get letters of recommendation from teachers, your work experience supervisor, and employers.
Your best references will be people who know you and can tell others about your character, skills, accomplishments and work ethic.

Attend and participate in all meetings pertaining to your education and future.
These meeting are about you and your future. Your voice and perspectives are important!

Discuss the types of employment supports that are available to you.
Talk with your parents/guardians, teachers, and agency personnel to find out which employment supports are the best choice for you. Setting high expectations and goals for yourself and developing a clear understanding of your strengths and preferences will help you to identify the supports and resources you will need to be successful in employment.