Vocational Training & Life Skills
Work-based experiences are your key to having a successful school-to-work transition. Career exploration includes the following: job shadowing, internships, unpaid volunteer experiences and paid employment.
There can be a job for everyone who wants one - regardless of the nature of disability, need for workplace accommodation or economic conditions in the community. In addition, effective job development is highly individualized and person-centered, based on youth skills, interests and need for support. Aspirations, skills and positive attributes of the job seeker must match the needs, expectations and workplace culture of the employer.
To help prepare for the work world, do the following: get to know the business community by researching and networking with employers; create an individualized job search plan; and enroll in a vocational program.
For more information, head over to our section on Employment.
As a part of most school districts’ programs, vocational training opportunities and community based learning are provided for students after they complete their educational requirements. This typically occurs when the child is 18-21. The State of NJ wants all individuals regardless of special needs to attempt to be competitively employed in the community. Students with special needs will require more time to properly adapt to working at job vs. being in a classroom. The vocational programs offered are designed to start that process prior to graduation. Parents should inquire about these opportunities as they start preparing to transition at 14 years old.
Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) believes that all individuals have the right to explore community-based employment as their first option and that individuals have the right to seek "real jobs" for "real pay" that lead to meaningful and productive lives by working within their community. JFCS’s team of Employment Specialists and Job Coaches help individuals obtain and maintain competitive employment. JFCS is an approved Supported Employment vendor with the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) and the New Jersey Division of Developmental 0Disabilities (DDD). Services offered include job development, job coaching, and long term follow along support.
After graduation, students with disabilities can utilize services through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS). DVRS provides individual job counseling to discover areas of interest and abilities plus job coaches to help individuals be successful in their employment. There are offices in each county for DVRS so that families do not have to travel that far to access this service.