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What is Transition?

A purposeful, organized, and outcome oriented process designed to help students move from school, to employment, and a quality adult life. Expected student outcomes of a successful transition include meaningful employment or post-secondary education and participation in the community.

District Vision on Transition

The Riverside Unified School District sees transition as an important component of the educational process for the students who are in Special Education. The process of transitioning students from high school into adult lifestyles begins as a student enters a middle school program. A program needs to be developed for each student that includes how the adolescent and young adult will spend his or her day, where he/she will live and what type of leisure or social activities he/she will engage in.
The vision of Riverside Unified School District for a Transition Program includes a partnership of students, parents, staff and community. The program recognizes and values excellence, individuality, diversity, and creativity. We are committed to the intellectual achievement, the emotional and social growth, and the aesthetic development of each student. We are dedicated to graduating students who are self-starters, technologically competent workers, life-long learners, responsible citizens and cooperative, effective communicators. For students receiving a certificate of completion, the district’s goal is to assist the development of functional academic and vocational skills that can transfer to an adult work program or day activity program.

What is WorkAbility I?

WorkAbility I is a nationally recognized school-to-work program that provides comprehensive pre-employment training, employment placement, and follow-up for middle and high school students in special education who are making the transition from school to work.
The vision of the California Department of Education (CDE), Special Education Division is that all individuals with disabilities will successfully participate in preparation for the workplace and independent living.
The mission of WorkAbility I is to promote the involvement of key stakeholders, including students, families, educators, employers and other agencies in planning and implementing an array of services that will culminate in successful student transition to employment, lifelong learning and quality adult life.

WorkAbility I provides:

- Work experience and job training to benefit students, employers, and the community at large
- Special education students (ages 14-22) the opportunity to complete their secondary education while also obtaining marketable skills
- Career awareness and career exploration to secondary students with IEPS

Why are these services necessary?

The California Department of Education completed a two-year study in 1981 that provided substantive information concerning the status of vocational programs for students with disabilities. Results of the study indicated that these students were not being adequately prepared for the labor market. WorkAbility I was initiated in November 1981 as a pilot project to test the concept of work experience for youth with disabilities.

This initiative has produced the following:

- For persons with disabilities, assumptions of low work potential have been discounted as soon as an equal opportunity, proper training and information about appropriate accommodations becomes available to them.
- For employers, WorkAbility I provides workers who are job-ready and anxious to learn.
- For society, employment for persons with disabilities through the WorkAbility I program allows them the opportunity to contribute to society by producing a product or providing a service, as well as by paying taxes instead of receiving long-term financial public assistance. 

The Array of Services
The Array of Services is a full continuum consistent with the Education Code. These components comprise an effective transition system for middle school and high school students. Students served are provided curriculum integration of work readiness skills, career/vocational assessment and a minimum of one Connecting Activity and one Work Based Learning Service. 
- School Based Component: Elements that are commonly part of the school curriculum and/or educational delivery system.
- Connecting Activities: Programs and services that help link school and work based learning opportunities.
- Work Based Learning: Work site learning experiences or strategies to connect the classroom to work

Transition Services for Students
Interest Inventories
The school staff and transition team will lead various activities with students to assist them in identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Inventories vary by grade level and program.

Career Awareness

It is difficult to plan for your future, when you are unaware of what your options are. Students are encouraged to use their completed interest and skill inventories to explore correlating careers. In addition, the WorkAbility Career Awareness Program is infused into the special education curriculum and designed to give students information and experience related to planning for the future.

Career & Community Speakers

Speakers from community businesses and programs come to the campuses in order present the world of work and community students will experience as they transition to high school and into adult life.

Advocacy Training

The ability to identify and explain ones needs; students with disabilities should understand the laws that protect them and help them achieve their academic goals. Students are given explicit instruction in self advocacy throughout the transition program.

Student Run - School Based Businesses

WorkAbility has assisted with setting up several school based business at in RUSD middle schools. Businesses vary and include a student store, an engraving business, a button making business, and gardening businesses. Businesses are operated by students, giving them valuable insight into the world of work.

High School Visitations

High School Visitations bring middle school special education students and high school personnel together to introduce the curriculum and requirements of high school. In addition, students tour the high school campus and learn more about what high school will be like.

Career Fairs

8th Grade Jamboree: An off-campus event for 8th grade students. Students attend career and life skill workshops, career rallies, and hear messages from guest speakers. In addition, local high school students deliver performances and messages to prepare students for their next academic step.

The Annual Riverside College & Career Fair: Students attend an annual Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce sponsored event in the evening where there are over 100 tables of college, university and job training program representatives gathered. Last year approximately 5,000 students and parents (guardians) attended the event. In addition, students may choose from up to 15 workshops to attend including interviewing, financial aid, and college requirements.

Job Placement

Specialists located on the high school campuses assist students with placement at affiliate businesses within the community. Students are placed in the community for 60-hours earning minimum wage. Placements are made from career interest survey results and informal interviews.

Job Exploration Study Tours

Local Businesses: Special Education teachers at the middle school level are invited to take their students on trips into the community to visit businesses and post-high school training programs. WorkAbility encourages pre, during, and post tour activities. Businesses toured vary based on the middle school's location.

Riverside City College: WorkAbility students tour the Riverside City College Disabled Student Programs & Services department. The Office of Disabled Student Programs & Services (DSP&S), provides services to students with documented disabilities who request such services.

Job Corps: Students attend an orientation and tour the Inland Empire Job Corps facility. Job Corps is a no-cost education and vocational training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor that helps young people ages 16 through 24 get a better job, make more money, and take control of their lives. Each Job Corps center is unique. They all, however, feature campus-like settings with dormitories where students live.

Team Excursions Challenge Course
The University of California Riverside's (UCR) Team Excursion Challenge Course challenges students with both mental and physical problem solving activities. Through carefully designed and led activities, individuals and teams explore self-imposed boundaries and develop strategies for improved performance.

Job Skills Transition Partnership Program
A class for students in the 12th grade who wish to become eligible for department of vocational rehabilitation services. Course work covers personal management, career management, and life management.

Strategies for Success (SFS)

A program for all resource students. Students receive one period of support with special education teachers per day. Students in the 11th and 12th grade who are enrolled in this SFS class receive academic support and transition curriculum.

WorkAbility I is funded by a grant from the California Department of Education Special Education Department


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