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WorkAbility I Array of Services Definitions

Provides consistency in program implementation and documentation.

WorkAbility I (WAI) Home | WAI Meeting Agendas | WAI Regions and Contact Information | WAI Resources | WAI Mentoring Frequently Asked Questions | WorkAbility I Array of Services Definitions

WorkAbility I (WAI) is a model transition program for youth with disabilities. The following activities are critical elements of an effective delivery system for transition services as mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and stated in the California Education Code (EC) Sections 56470–56474.

The WAI funding model is based on the number of students “served." To qualify as served, a student must be provided Career / Vocational Assessments, and Employment / Post-Secondary Education Planning (High School only) in the School-Based Preparatory Experiences component, and one or more services in the Career Preparation & Work-Based Learning Experiences and Collaboration / Youth Development & Leadership components. At least one of these services must be directly provided by the WAI Program, or documentation must exist of WAI’s role in the indirect provision of the service.

Each site is required to place 15 percent of the students they serve in paid worl experiences. These placements may be either subsidized by WAI or other sources, or employer-paid (unsubsidized).

The following definitions of terms and activities are intended to provide consistency in program implementation and documentation of the Array of Services.

School-Based Preparatory Experiences

  1. Career / Vocational Assessments (MS/HS): Provide career and transition assessments to help students identify their school and post-school career interests and goals. May include formal and informal assessments including authentic assessments.
  2. Employment / Post-Secondary Education Planning (HS): Assist students to understand the career decision-making process that culminates with their personal career and educational plan and provision of transition-related guidance including exploration of post-secondary options. Use student interests and measurable post-secondary goals to develop courses.
  3. Curriculum Integration of Work-Readiness Skills / Contextual Learning (MS/HS): Students are exposed to Common Core college and career readiness standards while reinforcing career development and work-readiness/soft skills.
  4. Career / Vocational Education (HS): Students complete general education Career Technical Education (CTE) classes, Pathways and elective classes in a course of study that introduces job skills and technical training, and prepares students for post-secondary outcomes.

Career Preparation & Work Based Learning Experiences

  1. Career Awareness / Exploration Activities (MS/HS): Provide opportunities to engage in activities that increase knowledge of career options and enhance informed decision making (e.g., career fairs, tours, job shadowing and use of technology to explore choices).
  2. Career Preparation / Job Search: (MS/HS): Improve job readiness–basic job skills (soft skills, 21st Century Skills, The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, etc.). Provide training on how to seek and obtain CIE, teach students to develop applications, interview, create and update resumes, maintain a portfolio, use labor market information. Provide training to utilize social media responsibly to search and apply for employment opportunities.
  3. Work-Based Learning (HS): Includes participation in classroom and community-based experiences that develop knowledge and job skills through internships, service learning, and workplace mentoring experiences. Students may earn entry job certifications/permits (e.g., food handler’s permit, forklift operations permit) preparing them for CIE.
  4. Job Development (HS): Establish training and/or employment opportunities for students. Requires the development of training plans with the work site supervisor.
  5. Employment / Work Experience (HS): Assist the student to obtain subsidized and/or non-subsidized work, and on-the-job training experiences that link to school credit.
  6. Job Retention (HS): Provide training on maintaining, upgrading, and leaving employment.
  7. Work-Site Mentor / Supervisor (HS): Identify and train another employee who could be a natural support at the student’s work-site.
  8. Job Coach (HS): Support and assistance either on or off the job. Example, teaching or support job tasks.
  9. Work-Site Follow-Along / Employer Communication (HS): Establish routine contact with employer to evaluate, troubleshoot, and coach student and monitor work training plan.

Collaboration / Youth Development & Leadership

  1. Self-Advocacy / Disability Awareness (MS/HS): Provide training and encourage students to find, formally request, and secure appropriate supports and reasonable accommodations in education, training, and employment settings.
  2. Youth Leadership (MS/HS): Provide training in self-advocacy and conflict resolution. Present students with opportunities to develop and demonstrate team and leadership skills.
  3. Destination / Transportation Training (MS/HS): Provide training to use transportation resources, and support student independence (including use of public transportation and/or obtaining driver’s license).
  4. Life Skills / Independent Living (MS/HS): Provide training in the use of community resources, domestic skills, money management, finding and maintaining housing, identification of post-school support. May include benefits planning.
  5. Family Participation & Support of Transition (MS/HS): Involve, train parents/family and supportive adults to support and mentor youth as they transition. Includes knowledge of disabilities, accommodations, rights and access to programs and services.
  6. Partnership and Collaboration (MS/HS): Engage business partners and post-school support agencies in local/regional communities of practice to advise, share expertise and resources and offer opportunities to students. Connect students to America’s Job Center External link opens in new window or tab. .

 


 

WorkAbility I (WAI) is a model transition program for youth with disabilities. The following activities are critical elements of an effective delivery system for transition services as mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and stated in the California Education Code (EC) Sections 56470–56474.

The WAI funding model is based on the number of students “served." To qualify as served, a student must be provided career/vocational assessment, career counseling and guidance in the School-Based Component, and one or more services in the Connecting Activities and Work-Based Learning Component. At least one of these services must be directly provided by the WAI Program, or documentation must exist of WAI’s role in the indirect provision of the service.

Each site is required to place 15 percent of the students they serve in paid work experiences. These placements may be either subsidized by WAI or other sources, or employer-paid.

The following definitions of terms and activities are intended to provide consistency in program implementation and documentation of the Array of Services. The references used to compile the definitions are the National School to Work Glossary of Terms, Work-Based Learning Guide, Fair Labor Standards Act, School to Work Opportunities Act, and National Standards and Quality Indicators for Transition.

School-Based Component

The integration of school-based and work-based learning is identified as a best practice for transition by the National Transition Standards, Office of Disability Employment Policy, and the reauthorized Carl Perkins Career and Technology Act. This incorporates academic and occupational learning and links elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and postsecondary education. The elements are as follows:

  1. Career/Vocational Assessment: Assessments that evaluate the student’s interests, skills, and abilities. The results are utilized to assist students to choose a satisfying, lasting career that will culminate in competitive, integrated employment and to evaluate transition needs. Assessments may be formal or informal and include:

    1. Self-Assessment: a self-inventory that requires students to reflect on their personal traits, skills, interests, and aptitudes to identify their natural talents and abilities.

    2. Aptitude/Ability Tests: measure overall abilities, general intelligence, achievement, and aptitude.

    3. Interest Inventories: help individuals identify their preferences for a particular activity.

    4. Personality Surveys: match types of interests to possible career paths, for example, the Holland Code (Self Directed Search) or Myers Briggs Test.

    5. Values Assessments: assist individuals to identify characteristics of occupations of value to them.

    6. Career Development Assessments: determine where a person is in the career-development process.

    7. Computerized Information Systems: match data assessment, data for research, and exploration.

    8. Special Vocational Assessment: may include a diagnostic process to identify learning styles, vocational interests, skills, talents and aptitudes, and/or the student’s need for accommodation in order to participate for CIE.

  2. Career Counseling and Guidance: Services that guide students through a process to make and implement educational and occupational plans based on informed choices; services should assist students in exploring career options with attention to surmounting gender, race, ethnic, disability, language, or socioeconomic impediments to career options and encourage nontraditional career choices when appropriate. Services may be delivered individually or through group or class activities. The National Career Development Guidelines (NCDG) and National School Counseling Standards provide an extensive list of age-and grade-appropriate competencies that will lead to CIE.

  3. Youth Development and Leadership: Training to assist students to understand their rights and responsibilities, express themselves and their ideas, state their needs, and know where to go for assistance and support (self-advocacy skills). Disability awareness, awareness of learning styles, and needed accommodations are encompassed in youth development and leadership.

  4. Curriculum Integration of Work-Readiness Skills: Academic and work-readiness skills, as reflected in the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) Competencies, are taught in a manner that emphasizes the relationship and application of skills in the workplace.

  5. Career/Transition Portfolio: A collection of a student’s transition-related documents and assessment results. An age-appropriate career or transition portfolio may contain:

    1. Personal information

    2. Academic information (e.g., transcripts, awards)

    3. Exhibits of personal accomplishments

    4. Career-assessment information (e.g., interest, aptitude, values, learning styles and/or personality survey assessment results)

    5. Career-exploration results

    6. Documentation of career technical skills

    7. Work-related documents (e.g., resume, master job application, list of references, letters of recommendation, and copies of important documents like driver’s license, certificates, etc.)

    8. The student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), dreams and goals, and career plan

    9. The student’s Summary of Performance for students exiting high school

  6. Vocational/Career Technical Classes: Classes that provide introduction to job skills in the areas of agriculture, business, home economics, industrial technology, and health care; also included are Regional Occupational Centers Programs (ROCP) that provide students occupational training and certification in entry-level positions through a community classroom model or school-based classes.

  7. Independent Living/Functional Skills: Activities and curricula that teach the use of community resources and help develop domestic skills, money-management skills and other skills required for independent living and CIE.

Connecting Activities

Connecting Activities are programs and services that help link school and work-based learning opportunities. The elements are as follows:

  1. Partnership/Collaboration: Cooperative relationships with entities within the school system or in the community that provide students work readiness and life skills or assist in their transition from school to life after high school. The following relationships are included:

    1. Interdisciplinary: collaboration among departments, services, and programs within a school

    2. Interagency: partnerships/collaboration with agencies that provide support for student transitions

    3. Community: facilitating access to community resources for students

    4. Business: partnerships with business community members who provide career resources for youth, serve as advisors, and offer employment and training opportunities for youth

  2. Parent Participation: WAI requires that parents provide support for their children to be involved in work-based learning opportunities and permission for student involvement in off-campus opportunities or work experience. WAI encourages parental involvement and recognizes the role of the family as essential to assisting students to become economically self-sufficient individuals working in CIE.

Work-Based Learning Component

The Work-Based Learning Component includes activities that involve actual work-site learning experiences or connect classroom learning to work and help the student to achieve CIE. All community-based placements, paid and unpaid, are in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Key elements of this component include:

  1. Career Awareness Activities: On or off-campus activities designed to make students aware of the broad range of careers or occupations in the world of work. These activities are typically occasional experiences that may include field trips, guest speakers, career fairs, conducting interviews with employees or employers and career research using career information, internet or computer information systems.

  2. Career Exploration Activities: Activities designed to provide more in-depth exposure to career options for students. They are of longer duration, two hours to one semester. These activities may include:

    1. Job Shadows: student follows an employee at a work site to learn about a particular occupation of interest. The activity is designed to assist the student to explore a range of career/occupational choices and to select a career/occupational goal as they advance into the latter part of high school.

    2. School-Based Project/Business: enterprise in which goods or services are produced by students as part of their school program. Project-Based Learning is a type of integrated school-based project that provides an opportunity for students to tackle a “real world” problem and identify potential solutions by applying academic skills, social skills, life skills, and problem-solving and creative-thinking skills.

    3. Service Learning: method of instruction that combines community service with a structured school-based opportunity for reflection about that service, emphasizing the connections between service experiences and academic learning. Most programs are balanced between students’ needs to learn and the recipients' need for service. Students benefit from acquiring skills and knowledge, and learning civic responsibility.

  3. Career Preparation: Community-based activities that provide the opportunity to develop work-readiness skills and career-related technical skills. These activities may include:

    1. Internship: provides students an opportunity to participate in unpaid, work-based learning in an integrated setting for a specified period of time to learn about a particular industry or occupation. In most internship situations, a workplace mentor instructs the student, critiques the performance, challenges, and encourages the student to do well. It is critical to ensure that all aspects of criteria outlined by the FLSA are met to ensure that this experience is a work-based learning experience – not employment, or mock sheltered workshop activities.

    2. Apprenticeship: youth apprenticeship programs are formal, multi-year programs that combine school and work-based learning at a competitive wage in a specific occupational area or cluster and are designed to lead directly into either a postsecondary program, entry-level job or registered apprenticeship program. Most apprenticeship programs are developed in collaboration with the State Apprenticeship Standards Board.

    3. Community Classroom: method of instruction which utilizes unpaid on-the-job training experiences at business, industry, or public agency sites to assist students in acquiring those competencies needed to acquire entry-level, competitive, integrated employment. The intent of the community classroom experience is to augment classroom instruction that can be extended into the community. It is most typically associated with ROCP. It is critical to ensure that all aspects of criteria outlined by the FLSA are met to ensure that this experience is a work-based learning experience – not employment.

    4. Community-Based Vocational Instruction: the development of learning experiences in the community through WAI and in compliance with all FLSA requirements for a work-based learning experience. FLSA requirements for Unpaid Training:

      1. A comprehensive training plan

      2. Activity involving the performance of work

      3. Planned, sequential learning occurs, resulting in skills documentation

      4. Youth are exposed to all aspects of the industry

      5. Placement provides challenging real or simulated tasks

    5. Preparation for the Work Site: activities that develop awareness of employer requirements in a specific work-based learning opportunity, or work experience placement in the areas of duties to be performed, appropriate attire, workplace rules and other expectations.

    6. Job Search: curriculum and activities that provide students with the needed skills to find a job such as interview skills, use of a portfolio in a job search, where to find job listings, how to make use of resources and networking, and how to contact employers.

    7. Placement Services: WAI staff develop jobs in the community or connect students with other placement opportunities. The typical placement process involves contacting employers, developing training plans, securing a training agreement, arranging schedules, and scheduling the student interview or orientation. A training plan includes the following elements:

      1. Clear statement of student hours and wages

      2. Name of worker’s compensation insurance company

      3. Statement of related goals and interests

      4. Statement of employment skills addressed in work experience

      5. Statement of how performance will be evaluated

      6. Designation of a work site supervisor and a school coordinator/supervisor

    8. Employment: students are productive employees, receiving at least minimum wage for performing tasks independently. The work experience education component encourages a connection between school and work.

    9. Job Retention: curricula and activities that reinforce the skills that a student needs to maintain or upgrade a job, and the appropriate way to leave a job.

    10. Work Site Mentor: mentor serves as an advocate and role model for the student. A workplace mentor instructs the student, critiques the performance, challenges, and encourages the student to do well, and works in consultation with the classroom teacher.

    11. Job Coach: works in consultation with the classroom teacher to provide direct supervision and training to individuals or groups of students. The coach trains students to perform job tasks independently and advocate for themselves at the work site, assists with mobility training and assists students to develop the personal qualities, communication skills, and interpersonal skills required to maintain employment.

    12. Mobility Training: students may require mobility training to utilize public transportation or to cope with a sensory deficit. Another aspect of mobility training is community orientation to learn the community and to travel from various points within the community independently.

    13. Work-Based Follow-Along: routine contact with the student and the work site during the placement to evaluate, trouble-shoot, coach, and monitor the implementation of the workplace training plan.

    14. Follow-Up: contact with the student after graduation for collection of WAI data.
Questions:   WorkAbility I | WorkAbility1@cde.ca.gov | 916-327-0878
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, November 08, 2022
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