A school's written statement of services provided in accordance with Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is called a 504 Plan.
Section 504 requires school districts that receive federal funding to *provide a "free and appropriate public education" (FAPE) to each qualified student with a disability who is in the school district's jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. Appropriate educational services are designed to meet the individual needs of such students to the same extent as the needs of students without disabilities are met.*
*Based on 34 CFR Part 104, Subpart D, Sections 104.31–104.39
The school's written statement for a student with a disability is called an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP is developed, reviewed, and revised in an Admission Review and Dismissal (ARD) meeting and *must include a statement of the student's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. It must also include how the student's disability affects his or her involvement and progress in the general education curriculum (that is, the same curriculum as for students without disabilities.*
*Based on 34 CFR Section 300.320
Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) are provided to individuals meeting the student with a disability definition. Individuals not meeting this definition can receive the same services; however, they are not counted as Pre-ETS and should only be paid with VR budget, not Pre-ETS budget.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) defined a total of 14 Pre-ETS categories. Five of these categories are required and the other nine categories can be considered after the required services are considered or provided. WIOA requires that 15 percent of federal vocational rehabilitation funds be spent on Pre-ETS services.
A student with a disability is defined by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) as anyone age 16-21 years old who is attending school, receiving services through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Special Education) or considered 504 eligible (including those individuals who are working with Vocational Rehabilitation or VR).
WIOA gives some leeway for states to expand this definition based on local laws. In Texas, a student with a disability is anyone age 10-22** who is, or has, received services through special education or is considered 504 eligible. A person does not have to be currently attending school to fit this definition; however, whether or not the person received disability-related supports or services while in high school should be considered. Those individuals who were not considered individuals with disabilities while in high school, and those who have acquired disabilities since high school, are not considered to meet this definition.
**If an individual is 22, he or she will only meet the student with a disability definition if his or her 22nd birthday falls on or after September 1. In that case, the individual will meet the definition through August 31 of the following year.)
The only group of consumers who will receive services considered Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) are those who meet this WIOA definition. The same services can be provided to those not meeting this definition; however, they are not counted as Pre-ETS and should not be paid with Pre-ETS budget.
Transition services are a coordinated set of activities that promote the transition from school to post-school occupations and services that include post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, and/or community participation. Transition services *must promote or facilitate the achievement of the employment outcome identified in the student's individualized plan for employment (IPE).*
*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.5(b)(55)
A TVRC is a qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor who works with a specialty caseload of primarily transition-age consumers at assigned high schools. Vocational rehabilitation counselors (VRCs) do not have to be designated TVRCs to work with transition consumers.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is a federal law that became effective in 2014 and reauthorizes and amends the Workforce Investment Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The law consists of five titles, and Title IV pertains to requirements for the Vocational Rehabilitation program.
The underlying principle behind Title IV is that too many individuals are leaving high school unprepared for work and independence. With that in mind, WIOA prescribes certain service provision requirements discussed below.
Youth with a disability is defined as anyone ages 14-24 with the most significant disabilities as described in RPM 9.10.2. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires that 50 percent of our Supported Employment funding be spent on the provision of Supported Employment services for youth with disabilities.
DRS provides transition services to eligible students with disabilities through the adult Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program to:
*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.42
A student who is in special education, or who has received special education or Section 504 services, is *not automatically eligible for DRS services.*
*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.42
References to the counselor in this chapter apply to any counselors (VRCs) or transition vocational rehabilitation counselors (TVRCs) working with transition consumers.
Counselors must provide to the student, parent, and school personnel information that *describes the
*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.22
Specifically, counselors must ensure that families and students with disabilities are informed about their options and opportunities to choose methods and providers for delivery of all needed assessments, as well as decisions related to developing a plan of services. This leads to a foundation of information from which families and students can make informed choices about a coordinated plan of services for students to achieve successful transition to post-secondary activities and employment outcomes.
See Chapter 2: Initial Contact and Application, 2.4.6 Application Signatures for procedures to authorize minor children who are in foster care to participate in VR program activities.
Transition services are not separate from Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services; they are a strategy of VR services designed to help students with disabilities make the best use of VR services to achieve a successful vocational outcome. Not all students who are referred will be eligible. When students are not eligible, they should be referred to other relevant community resources.
All policies related to eligibility determination in Chapter 3: Eligibility, are applicable to the provision of transition services to eligible students. In addition, all policies related to assessing and planning of rehabilitation needs in Chapter 4: Assessing and Planning, are applicable to the provision of transition services to eligible students.
As a part of a set of coordinated transition services, counselors must work with students, parents, schools, and community partners to
Counselors must also:
*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.22 and 361.45.
IPE services must:
Students who receive transition services are usually in a career exploration stage of development while they are still in high school. Counseling and guidance, along with specific exploration activities, would be expected as part of the IPE. Multiple IPE amendments may be necessary as the student's rehabilitation needs change.
Depending on the complexity of the student's circumstances and need for services, counselors can begin working with students who are attending high school at any time to help them move successfully from school to competitive integrated employment or independent living.
Provided services are based upon the assessment of the needs of the student receiving transition services, taking into account preferences, interests, and developmental maturity. This coordinated set of transition services should explore:
Transition services promote or facilitate the development of the consumer's IPE while he or she is still in high school. *IPE services for transition can include, but are not limited to:
*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.5(b)(55)
Schools are responsible for identifying and providing accommodations and modifications based on a student's need to access education. DARS should not be providing services strictly for the purpose of accommodating an individual to access their education, or any services included on the IEP, even if a student has an IPE in place. However, counselors can partner with the schools to provide Pre-ETS while the student is still in high school.
In order to adequately prepare students for post-high school success, services considered should include Pre-ETS. Many Pre-ETS can be provided to enhance what the school is already providing, or these services may be provided in partnership with the school, with consideration for what the school should be providing.
Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) are provided to individuals meeting the student with a disability definition. A student with a disability is defined by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) as anyone age 16-21 years old who is attending school, receiving services through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Special Education) or considered 504 eligible (including those individuals who are receiving vocational rehabilitation (VR) services).
The primary focus of DRS should be on those individuals who are ages 14-22, with consideration of the consumer's individual transition needs.
Individuals not meeting this definition can receive the same services; however, they are not counted as Pre-ETS and should only be paid with VR budget, not Pre-ETS budget.
WIOA defines a total of 14 Pre-ETS categories in the WIOA section 422. Five of these categories are required and the other nine categories can be considered after the required services are considered or provided.
The five required Pre-ETS categories are:
The additional nine possible Pre-ETS categories address the following:
Note: Supported Employment, including all assessments and benchmarks, is not a Pre-ETS service.
Pre-ETS can be provided to students, as defined by WIOA, at any point in the VR process, but should be provided with an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) when there is enough information to complete one. These services can be provided to individuals who are eligible, or potentially eligible. For example, if a counselor provides training on self-advocacy to a Special Education class, the time spent can be counted as Pre-ETS as long as the individuals in the class meet the definition of student with a disability, regardless of their status in ReHabWorks (RHW).
When services provided do not involve expenditure of funds, consider whether the counselor's time can be counted as Pre-ETS. As long as the counselor's time was spent on one of the defined Pre-ETS areas, for individuals meeting the student with a disability definition, it can usually be counted. Examples include time spent planning a transition fair, time spent traveling to meet with students for the purpose of providing Pre-ETS, or time spent attending a transition-related training. When questioning whether an activity should be counted, the counselor should speak with his or her manager.
For additional resources related to Pre-ETS, please review the Pre-ETS FAQ.
Generally, counselors may expect to work with individuals receiving transition services from application through successful closure and/or post-employment services.
All Rehabilitation Policy Manual (RPM) policies, procedures, and guidance related to documenting consumer service delivery must be followed for students participating in transition services.
Case notes for students receiving transition services must also include the following components unique to decision-making regarding transition services:
When documenting Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) in a ReHabWorks case note, select the appropriate topic (such as, counseling and guidance or service justification) and use "Pre-ETS" as the first text in the "Add to Topic" field.