The New Jersey Transition Toolkit
The New Jersey Transition Toolkit is designed to assist school staff and students with disabilities and their families in their efforts to prepare students with disabilities for entry into a successful adult life after high school. The work to prepare students for a successful adult life that is done by school staff, students, family members, agency staff, and others is referred to as “transition planning” and “transition services” since students are transitioning from school to adult life.
The first listed purpose for the Federal law known as The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is “to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.”
This toolkit has been created to assist school staff and students with disabilities and their families in their efforts to prepare students with disabilities for entry into a successful adult life after high school. The work to prepare students for a successful adult life that is done by school staff, students, family members, agency staff, and others is referred to as “transition planning” and “transition services” since students are transitioning from school to adult life.
One of the key elements of successful transition planning is the collaboration that is needed among all the individuals and entities who are involved in preparing the student to be a successful adult. Lack of collaboration in the transition planning/Individualized Education Program (IEP) process can be a significant contributing factor in students not experiencing positive post-school outcomes. Every member of the IEP team including the student and parents/guardians, school and other agency staff, and others should work together in a collaborative manner so that; 1) students and their parents/guardians will have and feel ownership of the IEP, 2) each member if the IEP team will take responsibility for implementing specific transition services (activities and strategies) included in the transition component of the IEP, 3) the supports and services needed by the student will be both available and received by the student when needed, and 4) the student has the best chance to experience success upon exiting high school.
Another key component of successful transition planning is that it is a long-term, multi-year planning process. When students and their IEP team first become engaged in the transition planning process according to New Jersey regulations (N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.7(e)11), the student is typically 13 years old or younger, and therefore many years away from finishing high school. These regulations provide for the many years of planning and service delivery that are typically needed to help students with disabilities choose and prepare for a desired future. Even though IEPs must be reviewed and updated at least once every year, the thinking and planning for the student’s future requires IEP teams to take a multi-year approach when developing IEPs that include transition planning. IEP team decisions such as the student’s courses and other educational programming and services can and often do have consequences that impact the student’s future opportunities. For example, if a student plans to attend a four-year college after graduating high school, then the student’s courses all throughout high school would need to include the “college prep” and other courses that four-year colleges typically require their entering students to have taken. Thinking about and appropriately planning for desired post-school outcomes is at the core of effective transition planning.
Click here for access to the New Jersey Administrative Code for Transition Requirements
This toolkit contains many resources that can be used to promote positive post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. Hopefully you will find the answers to your questions and the help that you need with securing for students successful transitions to adult life. Should you need further assistance with any transition related matter, please contact:
Office of Special Education
Office of Special Education
In accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A:14- 3.7(e)12, the postsecondary goals identified in a student’s IEP must be based upon the results of age-appropriate transition assessments. Middle and high school staff must ensure transition assessments are conducted with every student with an IEP.
According to the Division on Career Development and Transition of the CEC, Transition Assessment is: “An ongoing process of collecting information on the student’s strengths, preferences and interests as they relate to the demands of current and future working, educational, living, and personal and social environments” (Sitlington, Neubert, & Leconte, 2007).
The following resources will help you understand the transition assessment process and locate a variety of transition assessment tools that can be used on an on-going basis. Since no one tool or method is appropriate for all students with disabilities because this is such a diverse group of students with such a broad range of strengths, support needs, abilities, etc., educators will need to become familiar with and use a variety of transition assessment tools and methods.
Transition Assessment Resources
- Transition Assessment Toolkit (NTACT 4.0 Edition)
- NJDOE Vocational Profile Form (2021)
- Person-Centered Approaches in Schools and Transition (P-CAST)
- Transition Assessment Resource Manual (CT Transition Task Force)
- Transition Assessment Matrix (IU Bloomington)
- Quickbook of Transition Assessment
A Sample of Free Online Career Interest Inventories/Surveys
Postsecondary Education and Training Preparation Toolkit - This Toolkit from National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) explains the array of Postsecondary Education and Training (PSET) options for young adults with disabilities after they complete high school. Just as there is a wide range of skills and needs demonstrated by individuals with disabilities, there is an array of opportunities, services, and programs in PSET settings. Hence, this Toolkit is intended as a resource for any student with a disability, family member, service provider, or educator of a student with a disability, to consider options and plan for PSET access and success.
The New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority
HESAA, the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, is the only New Jersey state agency with the sole mission of providing students and families with financial and informational resources for students to pursue their education beyond high school.
Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology (DO-IT) - The DO-IT Web Site serves to increase the success of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers. It promotes the use of computer and networking technologies to increase independence, productivity, and participation in education and employment.
Going to College - This Web site contains information about living college life with a disability. It’s designed for high school students and provides video clips, activities and additional resources that can help students get a head start in planning for college.
HEATH Resource Center - The HEATH Resource Center of The George Washington University, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, is an online clearinghouse on postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities. HEATH resource papers, fact sheets, guides, and directories focus on topics such as accessibility, career development, classroom and laboratory adaptations, financial aid, independent living, transition resources, training and postsecondary education, career-technical education, and rehabilitation.
GUIDANCE AND CAREER COUNSELORS’ TOOLKIT: Advising High School Students with Disabilities on Postsecondary Options - This 194-page Toolkit from The HEATH Resource Center is intended to help guidance and career counselors to better assist high school students with disabilities in accomplishing transitions into postsecondary education and employment.
Transition of Students with Disabilities to Postsecondary Education: A Guide for High School Educators - Developed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), this guide provides high school educators with answers to questions students with disabilities may have about their civil rights as they get ready to move to the postsecondary education environment.
Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities - Developed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), this guide provides high school students with answers to questions they may have about their civil rights as they get ready to move to the postsecondary education environment.
Federal Student Aid Gateway - The source for free information, guidance and tools for federal student assistance—from the U.S. Department of Education's office of Federal Student Aid.
FinAid - Established in 1994, the award-winning site FinAid is a comprehensive source of student financial aid information, advice and tools. Access to FinAid is free for all users.
Think College - Think College features a searchable database of postsecondary education options for students with intellectual disabilities, a list of upcoming training events and conference presentations, helpful hints about college for students, and publications including a monthly newsletter.
NJ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) – DVRS provides students with disabilities aged 14 through 21 with Pre-Employment Transition Services(Pre-ETS). To obtain Pre-ETS, students, their teachers and parents can fill out the online student referral form. Students who need additional services such as Vocational Counseling & Guidance, Placement Services, Job Seeking Skills, Supported Employment, Time Limited Placement and Coaching, Job Accommodations, Skills Training, College Training, Physical Restoration, Emotional Restoration Services, Mobility Equipment, Driver Training, Vehicle Modification, and Home Modifications will need to apply for eligibility with DVRS, and if found eligible, can receive needed services while in high school and after finishing high school.
NJ Division of Disability Services - The Division of Disability Services (DDS) focuses on serving people who have become disabled as adults, whether through illness or injury. Such conditions are also called late-onset disabilities. However, through its toll-free hotline -- 1-888-285-3036 -- the Division also responds to as many as 15,000 requests each year for Information and Referral Assistance on issues affecting people with any type of disability in the State of New Jersey.
NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities - The Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) serves more than 40,000 people with developmental disabilities including the following conditions - mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, spina bifida, traumatic brain injuries and certain neurological impairments. Some of the services provided include case management, residential services, the provision of day programs, supported employment services, and various family support services. DDD also helps with guardianship procedures. For further information specific to students entering into DDD services, please see DDD Transition Information.
NJ Transit Access Link - Access Link is NJ TRANSIT's paratransit service required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Access Link provides paratransit service comparable to the local bus service. This service is specifically for people whose disability prevents them from using the local fixed route bus service.
Community Paratransit System - Contact information for obtaining specific transportation information and service guidelines for each of the 21 counties in New Jersey that provide community-based transportation services to meet the various needs of seniors, people with disabilities, and in some cases, the general public, rural residents and/or Work First participants.
NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired - NJCBVI provides students who are blind, deaf-blind, or visually impaired aged 14 through 21 with Pre-Employment Transition Services(Pre-ETS). To request Pre-ETS from NJCBVI, please contact the student’s NJCBVI teacher of the blind or visually impaired for a referral (if applicable) or contact a regional NJCBVI office listed here: https://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/cbvi/facilities/ Students who are already receiving Pre-ETS from NJCBVI and who need additional vocational rehabilitation and transition services can request an application for eligibility to receive these services from the student’s NJCBVI Transition Counselor.
Child Protection and Permanency - Child Protection and Permanency, CP&P, is New Jersey's child protection and child welfare agency within the Department of Children and Families. Its mission is to ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of children and to support families.
Children's System of Care - Children's System of Care, CSOC, serves children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral health care challenges and their families; and children with developmental and intellectual disabilities and their families.
Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services - The Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) serves as the Single State Agency for Substance Abuse and the State Mental Health Authority as designated by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The Division oversees New Jersey's adult system of community-based behavioral health services. These agencies provide a full array of services, including substance abuse prevention and early intervention, emergency screening, outpatient and intensive outpatient mental health and addictions services, partial care and partial hospitalization, case management, medication assisted treatment for substance abuse, and long and short term mental health and substance abuse residential services, in addition to other evidence-based practices such as the Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT), supported employment and education, and supportive housing.
Center for Independent Living - Contact information is provided for the Center for Independent Living (CIL) serving residents of each of New Jersey’s 21 counties. CILs provide a variety of direct services to assist individuals with disabilities to live independently in the community.
Office of Recreation - The New Jersey Office of Recreation's mission is to: (a) promote and encourage the expansion and development of recreational programs on a statewide and local basis; and to (b) disseminate informational and related materials to governmental and other agencies engaged in fostering recreational programs. This mission is accomplished by ensuring the professional competency of the people who run recreation, expanding the number and diversity of recreation programs which integrate individuals with disabilities, and providing technical assistance on recreation issues, facilities, and programs.
Social Security Administration - Information on the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs, which are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. While these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the Social Security Administration and only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program. Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are "insured," meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. Supplemental Security Income pays benefits based on financial need.
US DOE, Office for Civil Rights - Information on the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), whose mission is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights. OCR serves student populations facing discrimination and the advocates and institutions promoting systemic solutions to civil rights problems. An important responsibility of OCR is resolving complaints of discrimination. Agency-initiated cases, typically called compliance reviews, permit OCR to target resources on compliance problems that appear particularly acute. OCR also provides technical assistance to help institutions achieve voluntary compliance with the civil rights laws that OCR enforces. An important part of OCR's technical assistance is partnerships designed to develop creative approaches to preventing and addressing discrimination.
The Office of Special Education is proud to sponsor Dare to Dream Student Leadership conferences that highlight the importance of student self-advocacy and leadership. Each conference features presentations from accomplished students and adults with disabilities who have demonstrated exemplary self-advocacy and leadership skills. Additionally, the conference program includes a variety of concurrent breakout sessions that provide conference attendees opportunities to gain insight into the transition and self-advocacy process. Students participate in workshops led by their peers who are developing their own self-advocacy and leadership skills. Parents are also welcome to attend with their district. Workshop topics include goal setting, self-discovery, student self-advocacy, and planning your future. The Dare to Dream Student Leadership conferences have long been a positive and empowering experience for thousands of New Jersey’s students. For more information about the Dare to Dream Student Leadership conferences, contact Bill Freeman at (609) 376-3734.
What is age appropriate transition assessment, and where should this be documented?
The Division on Career Development and Transition of the Council for Exceptional Children defines transition assessment as the ongoing process of collecting data on the individual’s needs, preferences, and interests as they relate to the demands of current and future working, educational, living, and personal and social environments. Assessment data serve as the common thread in the transition process and form the basis for defining goals and services to be included in the Individualized Education Program (From: Sitlington, Neubert, & Leconte, Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 1997 p.70-71)
Documentation of transition assessment should include details of what was done such as names of tools or processes, dates administered, persons conducting assessments, and a summary of results. This documentation can be included in the student’s IEP within the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) or other appropriate sections or maintained in the student’s school file.
Since the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires parental consent for all evaluations that are specific to an individual, does that include age appropriate transition assessment?
No, transition assessment in no way affects a student's eligibility for services, which is the mandate for parental consent and evaluation. Second, transition assessment is akin to gathering other measures of student performance (homework, classwork, quizzes, reading measures) for curricular and program planning, which teachers complete with students without parental consent on a regular basis. Finally, transition assessments are ongoing and multifaceted and a requirement of parental consent each and every time you do such is also unreasonable. (NTACT Indicator 13 Checklist FAQ) However, as students and parents are integral members of IEP teams, it is a best practice to share information with them regarding any planned transition assessments and the results.
How should students be invited to their IEP meeting if transition will be discussed?
According to N.J.A.C. 6A:14-1.1(h) and N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.3(k)2x, student invitations to IEP meetings need to be documented, so IEP meeting invitation letters (user friendly is recommended) sent or given to students prior to the date and time of meetings, with copies of these letters in students’ files, can serve as documentation of student invitation. A note indicating that an LEA representative verbally invited the student to the meeting on the same date as the meeting would not document adequate invitation. (NTACT Indicator 13 Checklist FAQ)
Is a student’s signature on the IEP as a meeting participant evidence of the student invitation to the IEP meeting?
No. There is an expectation that the student be invited prior to the meeting in a formal (but user-friendly) manner. Therefore, a student’s attendance in the meeting does not necessarily provide evidence that the student was invited prior to the meeting, giving the student time to prepare to participate in a meaningful way. (NTACT Indicator 13 Checklist FAQ)
If another agency such as the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) or the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) is expected to provide or pay for transition services to the student, such as Pre-Employment Transition Services, does a representative of the agency need to be invited to the IEP meeting? If so, how?
Yes, other agencies that are likely to provide or pay for transition services need to be invited to attend IEP meetings (in a documented manner such as an invitation letter), however this can only be done after consent (in writing) to invite the agency representative to an IEP meeting is obtained from a parent/guardian or student who has reached the age of majority.
Post-secondary goal areas include: 1) training, 2) education, 3) employment, and 4) independent living. Students’ post-secondary goals, based upon transition assessments, should include their desired post-secondary training or education, and employment, and where appropriate, independent living. Therefore, some IEPs may not have post-secondary goals for independent living if the IEP team determines it is not appropriate for the student.
What are some appropriate examples of measurable post-secondary goals?
Training: After graduating high school, student will enroll in a driver training program.
Education: After graduating high school, student will enroll in Montclair State University to prepare for the health sciences field.
Employment: Student will obtain a full-time job in retail fashion sales after graduating high school.
Independent Living: After graduating high school, student will participate in a community tennis league.
If a post-secondary goal in the IEP states that the student will attend college or training after graduation, does that mean that the LEA is responsible for paying the student’s college or training tuition?
No. School districts are not expected or intended to pay for attaining the goal after a student has graduated or exited from LEA services. (NTACT Indicator 13 Checklist FAQ)
Are school districts responsible if after exiting high school, former students do not achieve the post-secondary goals that were in their IEPs?
No. There are numerous mediating factors that positively or negatively affect an adult’s acquisition of goals, for which a school could not be held accountable. (NTACT Indicator 13 Checklist FAQ)
Does the IEP of a student turning age 14 or 15 during the time period covered by that IEP need to include the student’s measurable post-secondary goals?
This is an IEP team decision. N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.7(e)12 states that “Beginning with the IEP in place for the school year when the student will turn age 16, or younger if deemed appropriate by the IEP team, a statement consisting of those elements set forth in (e)11 above and appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment and, if appropriate, independent living and the transition services including a course of study needed to assist the child in reaching those goals.” This code allows IEP teams to decide whether it is appropriate or not to begin including post-secondary goals in the IEP of a student younger than turning age 16 during the time period covered by that IEP.
If at an IEP meeting a student turning age 16 or older that year doesn’t yet know what she would like to do after high school graduation, should the post-secondary goal section in the IEP remain blank or state that the student is undecided at this time?
No. For students who will be turning age 16 or older, leaving the post-secondary goal section in the IEP blank or stating that the student is undecided is not compliant with IDEA regulations. A proactive approach to avoiding this situation occurs when several months before the next IEP meeting, case managers review the results of all age-appropriate transition assessments that have been conducted with the student to determine if this process thus far has been sufficient to identify the student’s post-secondary goals. If not, then additional age-appropriate transition assessments should be conducted with the student prior to the IEP meeting so that the student’s post-secondary goals can be identified in the IEP.
If a student is asked “What would you like to do after graduating high school?” and she responds by saying that she wants to become a veterinarian, a professional athlete, or something that the school staff believes to be unrealistic for the student, should the IEP include the student’s stated post-secondary goals?
No. Post-secondary goals in an IEP need to be based upon the results of age-appropriate transition assessments, and for many students this assessment process needs to be much more comprehensive than simply asking a student what she would like to do after graduation. The transition assessment process should include multiple and ongoing opportunities to gather information about a student and explore options, and help the student to determine, through analysis of the assessment results, what she hopes her desired future will be. For example, if initially a student states that she wants to become a veterinarian, it would be helpful to explore that option with the student by asking her questions such as:
Why do you want to become a veterinarian?
What experience do you have working with animals?
Do you want to get more experience working with animals?
Since many teenagers have very limited knowledge of and experience with careers, age-appropriate transition assessments often need to include opportunities for students to more fully explore and experience career options. In addition to computer-based resources (e.g. Naviance and NJCAN.org), Work-Based Learning (formerly Structured Learning Experience, SLE) is an excellent way for students to learn first-hand about career options, and help them make more informed choices about what they would like to do after graduating high school.
In the example above, after the student has had the opportunity to gain more experience working with animals (e.g. through several weeks or months of work-based learning at an animal shelter, pet shop, horse farm, etc.), you can ask the student how she liked that experience, or what she liked and didn’t like about that experience. You can also help the student to reflect upon and understand her strengths, interests, preferences, and needs that she demonstrated during the work experiences. The next steps in the exploration process for this student will be guided by her answers to these questions.
When a comprehensive transition assessment process has been implemented, the IEP team can confidently include in the IEP the student’s post-secondary goals that are based upon this process. For more information about age appropriate transition assessments, please see questions #1, #2 and #3 above.
What is the course of study in the IEP?
The course of study is a detailed listing of the classes, both general and special education by course title (e.g. Chemistry, Geometry, English 10) that the student will be taking for the entire duration of the current IEP, and projections for classes to be taken in subsequent years up until high school graduation. Since the classes identified for the time period after the duration of the current IEP are projections, they should be labelled as such, and IEP team members should understand that projected classes are not promised or guaranteed, but rather provided in the IEP as information about what may happen in future years. Conversely, the classes identified for the duration of the current IEP are not projections, but rather the student’s actual courses. Therefore, if a student’s classes change from what is identified in the course of study in the student’s current IEP, the course of study must be updated to reflect these class changes. This change in the IEP may or may not require a meeting of the IEP team based on whether the requirements in N.J.A.C. 6A:14- 3.7(d) to amend an IEP without a meeting of the IEP team have been met.
What should the course of study look like if the student is in a functional life skills program that doesn’t have traditional course titles such as Algebra I and Biology?
A purpose of the course of study is to help the student, parents, and other members of the IEP team to understand the progression of courses through the middle and high school years, and how these specific courses related to and can help in preparing the student for her desired post-secondary goals. If the student will not be enrolled in any courses that have traditional titles, then it is recommended that the course of study include a sentence or two that describes the content that the student will be learning for each school year. The content described should include enough detail to show a progression of learning from one year to the next, and not simply a repeat of the same content/program year after year which does not show a progression. For example,
- 10th grade - Instructional areas include simple meal preparation, safe use of exercise equipment in the gym, food shopping, self-advocacy, using public transportation, job shadowing, and effective communication strategies.
- 11th grade - Instructional areas include meal preparation for self and others, exercise routines for home and community, comparison shopping online and in the community, safety procedures for use at home and in the community, using a taxi service, work based learning in the school building, maintenance of living spaces, and communicating with others in the community.
- 12th grade - Instructional areas include eating out at restaurants, using a community gym, work based learning in the community, using a community laundromat, simple repairs at home, making and maintaining friendships, and creating and maintaining a budget.
Can the course of study in a student’s IEP include “electives” if the IEP team doesn’t know what specific elective courses the student will get into for the next semester?
No. The course of study must include all the student’s courses by specific title (see the instructions for course of study contained in the annotated State model IEP). If the timing of the IEP meeting is such that the student’s final schedule of elective courses for the next semester cannot yet be scheduled, to avoid having to later modify the IEP, it is recommended that the IEP team include in the course of study for this semester a list of possible elective courses (e.g. Photography, CPR training, Guitar, or 3-D art) with a note explaining that the student will have one (or more) of these courses based upon scheduling or availability. This practice is acceptable as long as all of the listed courses are consistent with the strengths, interests, and preferences of the student (N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.7(e)11), and other areas of the IEP (such as annual goals and objectives, accommodations and modifications, etc.) will not need to be modified regardless of which courses the student ultimately gets into. If the IEP team is unable to do this, then the student’s IEP would need to be modified later when the student’s schedule of courses is finalized. This change in the IEP may or may not require a meeting of the IEP team based on whether the requirements in N.J.A.C. 6A:14- 3.7(d) to amend an IEP without a meeting of the IEP team have been met.
For students in an 18 to 21-year-old program, are there any credits that they are required to earn to graduate high school with a State-endorsed diploma?
Yes. If students in an 18 to 21 year old program have earned the academic credits needed to graduate (as defined in the New Jersey Standards and Assessment Code) but remain enrolled in school due to other educational needs (such as transition services, etc.), then the only remaining State requirement is that students earn “At least 3 ¾ credits in health, safety, and physical education during each year of enrollment, distributed as 150 minutes per week, as required by N.J.S.A. 18A:35-5, 7 and 8.”
Using the “independent study” option mentioned in the New Jersey Standards and Assessment Code, students aged 18 to 21 are often able to earn the required 3 ¾ credits in health, safety, and physical education by participating in age-appropriate activities in the community (such as using a community gym, YMCA, etc. for at least 150 minutes per week) and having documentation of these activities (attendance, activity, progress, etc.) collected by a teacher who can issue the student a grade.
Does the school district need to wait until students are in their last year of high school to refer them to the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) or the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) for services?
No. Both DVRS and CBVI offer pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS) to all students with disabilities (IEPs and 504 plans) ages 14 through 21, based on their individual needs. Pre-ETS include the following:
- Job Exploration Counseling
- Counseling on enrollment opportunities in comprehensive transition or postsecondary education programs at institutions of higher education
- Work based learning experiences
- Workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living skills
- Instruction in Self Advocacy
To receive Pre-ETS, students with disabilities do not need to apply to, or be determined eligible for DVRS or CBVI because they are considered “potentially eligible” based upon the Federal law known as the Workforce Innovation and Improvement Act. To request Pre-ETS from NJDVRS, please complete the online Pre-ETS referral form. To request Pre-ETS for a student who is blind, deaf-blind, or visually impaired, please contact the student’s NJCBVI teacher of the blind or visually impaired for a referral (if applicable), or a regional NJCBVI office.
If students with disabilities need traditional vocational rehabilitation services (e.g., supported employment and job coaching) that go beyond what Pre-ETS can provide, they will need to apply for eligibility for DVRS or CBVI, and after being determined eligible, they can receive these services in addition to Pre-ETS while still in high school, and/or after they exit high school based on their needs. To apply for traditional vocational rehabilitation services from DVRS, students, school staff, family members and others can use the DVRS online application or obtain an application in one of the local DVRS offices. Students who are blind or visually impaired, their family members, school staff, or others can apply for traditional vocational rehabilitation services by contacting a regional NJCBVI office. If a student is already receiving Pre-ETS from NJCBVI, an application can be requested through the student’s NJCBVI Transition Counselor.
Can school districts contract with community rehabilitation providers that are approved by DVRS to provide extended employment (i.e. subminimum wage employment or “sheltered workshop”) so that students can participate in these programs as part of their transition services?
No. The federal “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act” (WIOA) Section 511 and related regulations places limitations on the use of subminimum wage. As of July 22, 2016, WIOA prohibits LEAs from entering into a contract with an entity holding a special wage certificate under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (often referred to as a Sheltered Workshop Certificate) for the purpose of operating a program under which a youth with a disability is engaged in work at a subminimum wage. For example, students with disabilities can no longer be placed by their school district in a sheltered workshop to perform work and receive a subminimum wage, including non-paid work. Please note: WIOA does allow LEAs to contract with entities that have a certificate under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide other services for students with disabilities such as supported employment, job coaching and community-based vocational assessments, but not programs where work is performed by a student for subminimum wage including non-paid work.
Why should students who will need the adult services of the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities remain enrolled in school until age 21?
The New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) will only provide services to eligible individuals who are age 21 and over. If students who are destined to become eligible for DDD services exit high school prior to turning age 21, then they will need to wait, potentially years, until they turn 21 to access any DDD services. Information about applying for eligibility for DDD is available online.
- The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN)
- Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment
- PACER's National Parent Center on Transition and Employment
- Parental Rights and Engagement (including the Guardianship and Alternatives Brochure)
- The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition: The Collaborative (NTACT:C)
- Person-Centered Approaches in Schools and Transition (PCAST)
- Community Based Instruction (CBI)
- NJ Transition Toolkit for Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
- Individualized Education Program (IEP) Language and Considerations for Transition Planning and Services
- Predictor Implementation School/ District Self-Assessment
- The Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
- The Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT)
- The National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2)
Please note that the links provided are suggestions for resources and do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the New Jersey Department of Education of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individuals.