Chapter 8.24 Contents:

[REVISED: July 13, 2017]

  1. Transition services means a coordinated set of activities for a student or youth with a disability designed within an outcome-oriented process that promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation.  The coordinated set of activities must be based on the individual's needs, taking into account preferences and interests, and must include instruction, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.  Transition services must (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.5 (c)(55)) promote or facilitate the achievement of the employment goal identified in the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).
  2. Youth with a disability age 14 to 24.  Youth ends at age 25.
  3. Student with a disability means an individual in a secondary, post-secondary or other recognized education program  between the ages of 14 to 22 who:   

a. is receiving special education or related services under Part B of  IDEA,

b.  or for purposes of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of as amended (Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.5(c) (5)), is an individual with a disability .


    4. For appropriate referrals to VR, see Chapter 2.1, APPLICATION, Policy 1, Section A2 and Chapter 2.1, APPLICATION, Policy 1, Section A7
    5. DRS policies and procedures regarding application and eligibility assessment shall apply.
    6. The counselor is not responsible for attending school Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings of students who are not appropriate referrals for the VR program.
    7.  The client shall be responsible for:                

a. Keeping VR appointments and being on time. Calling the counselor if you must cancel or reschedule. Calling the service provider yourself to make or reschedule the appointment if the counselor asks.
b. Getting pertinent records (such as medical, psychological, educational, etc.) for the counselor, or signing a release so the counselor can request them.  Following up with the record keepers, if the counselor asks, to make sure the records are sent to the counselor quickly.  For parental signature requirement for special education records and for children under age 18, see Chapter 1.1, CONFIDENTIALITY, Policy 1, Section A6.
c. Developing a good working relationship with the counselor and service providers.
d. Asking questions when something is not understood so you can make informed choices.
e. Being honest about your disability, needs, and feelings.
f. Telling the counselor when communication accommodations or other assistance is needed to participate in or complete a VR diagnostic, assessment, or evaluation service.
g. Following through on any other responsibilities as agreed by the VR client and counselor.

      8. Comparable benefits.

  1. Unless otherwise noted, procedures for coordinating, providing, or paying for Transition services shall be consistent regardless of whether the client is served by a local education agency, state-operated program, or through the Comprehensive Services Act.


  1. Services normally provided by the local education agency are a comparable benefit.  DRS staff shall not (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.5 (c)(10) and 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.53) authorize Transition services that are normally provided or funded by the school (such as cooperative vocational education).  The client, custodial parent/guardian, counselor, and school personnel shall explore shared funding options between DARS and the local education agency only after all other comparable benefits available to the client are exhausted.  For services exempt from comparable benefits policy, see the policy for the specific service. 


  1. Transition services shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.22 and 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.53) be provided in accordance with the federally-required local cooperative agreement in effect between DARS and the local education agency.  In the collaboration between DARS and the local education agency, the latter shall be the lead agency.


  1. Before authorizing a service normally provided by the local education agency, the counselor shall adequately justify the need in the case record and shall consult with the supervisor.  Examples include, but are not limited to, school assessment records are too old or are not sufficient to document the disability and functional limitations for VR eligibility, service from the school is not commensurate to the services the individual would otherwise receive from DRS, service from the school is not available at the time needed, etc.


 9. For consumer financial participation, see the policy for the specific service.
10. Purchased services shall be subject to DRS established policies and procedures.  For encumbering funds, see the policy for the specific service and see Chapter 14.1, PURCHASING, Policy 1.

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      B . Project SEARCH

[REVISED: 6/1/2014]

  1. Project SEARCH High School Transition Program is a unique, business led, one year school -to-work program that takes place at the workplace. It provides real-life work experience with a combination of classroom instruction. career exploration, and hands-on training through worksite rotations to help youth with significant disabilities make successful transitions from school to adult life.  This combination of services is provided as a result of an agreement between DARS, the Department of Education, the employer, and the employment services organization.

  2. Project SEARCH is implemented in four (4) milestone stages.

    Milestone 1 is referred to as Program Enrollment and includes, but is not limited to intake and assessment.

    Milestone 2 is called Internship Enrollment and includes up to three separate internships. Each of the three internships includes, but is not limited to,  internship site development, internship coaching, and job site development.

    Milestone 3 is entitled Placement and includes, but is not limited to, job site development in the community.

    Milestone 4 is referred to as Closure and includes, but is not limited to, job site training.

  3. Project SEARCH Milestones are exempt from financial participation (see Chapter 14.3, FINANCIAL, Policy 1) and other cost services shall (per 2016 Federal Regulation 34 CFR § 361.54) be subject to financial participation policy and Client Financial Statement (RS-13) results.

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2. Pre-Employment Transition Services 

A. Pre-Employment Transtion Services

 [REVISED: April 7, 2017]

1.      Pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS) is a program (per Federal Regulation 34 §  CFR 361.5  (c ) (42))  in which  DRS works in collaboration with the local educational agencies to provide or arrange for the provision of pre-employment transition activities for students with disabilities in need of these services who are eligible or potentially eligible for vocational rehabilitation services. This includes students with disabilities who have not yet been determined eligible for vocational rehabilitation services ( Federal Regulation 34 § CFR 361.48).

2.      Required pre-employment transition services include:

a.      Job exploration counseling;

b.      Work-based learning experiences provided in an integrated environment to the maximum extent possible that may include:

i. In-school and after school opportunities,

ii. Experiences outside of the traditional school setting, and

iii. Internships;

c.       Counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational programs;

d.      Workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living skills; and

e.      Instruction in self-advocacy, including peer mentoring and instruction in person centered planning.

3.      Services that may be authorized under pre-employment transition services if funds are available include:

a.  Implementing effective strategies to increase independent living and inclusion in communities and competitive integrated workplace;

b.  Developing and improving strategies for individuals with intellectual disabilities and other  significant disabilities to live independently, participate in post-secondary education experiences, and obtain and retain competitive integrated employment;

c. Providing instruction to vocational rehabilitation counselors, school transition personnel, and other persons supporting students with disabilities;

d. Disseminating information about innovative, effective, and efficient approaches to achieve the goals of pre-employment transition services;

e. Coordinating activities with transition services provided by the local education agencies under IDEA;

f. Applying evidence-based findings  to improve  policy, procedure, practice, and the preparation of personnel to provide pre-employment transition services;

g. Developing model transition demonstration projects;

h. Establishing or supporting partnerships involving States, local education agencies, DARS, DBHDS, private businesses, and other participants to provide pre-employment transition services; and

i. Disseminating information and strategies to improve the transition to postsecondary activities of individuals who are members of traditionally unserved or underserved populations.

4.      Local DARS offices are responsible for providing pre-employment transition coordination which includes:

a. Working with local partners (including workforce development boards, one-stop centers, and employers) to develop work opportunities for students with disabilities, including internships, summer employment, employment opportunities throughout the year, and apprenticeships;

b.Working with schools to coordinate and ensure pre-employment transition services are provided;

c. Attending individualized education program (IEP) meetings for student with disabilities when requested; and

d. Attending person-centered planning meetings for individuals receiving Medicaid services if requested.

5.      DARS serves Pre-ETS recipients in the following manner:

a. Pre-ETS counselors shall provide Pre-ETS to students with disabilities who are potentially eligible for vocational rehabilitation services(see DARS Pre-Employment Transition Services Guide); and

b. Vocational rehabilitation counselors shall provide pre-employment transition services to students with disabilities who are determined eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.

i. The Pre-ETS counselor shall refer Pre-ETS students with disabilities who require vocational rehabilitation  to the vocational rehabilitation counselor; and

ii. The Pre-ETS counselor may assist the vocational rehabilitation counselor with the provision of pre-employment transition services to students eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.

6.      Pre-ETS services under an Order of Selection.

        a. A student with a disability who receives pre-employment transition services prior to applying for VR services and being placed in a closed category may continue to receive pre-employment transition services.

       b. A student with a disability who has not received pre-employment transitions services prior to being determined eligible for the VR program and placed into a closed order of selection priority category may receive general transition services that benefit a group of students with disabilities to ensure the continuation of beneficial services, but may not begin individualized pre-employment transition services.

7.   Pre-ETS services are exempt from financial participation (see Chapter 14.3, FINANCIAL, Policy 1), but other cost services for those receiving VR services under an IPE shall be subject to financial participation policy and Client Financial Statement (RS-13) results. 



B. PERT (Post-secondary Education Rehabilitation Transition Program)

[REVISED: 7/1/15]

The counselor contacts the PERT Director at the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (WWRC) if a school wishes to apply to participate in PERT.


Links to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) are currently unavailable while we await federal changes to the vocational rehabilitation program. Upon promulgation of the final regulations the links will be updated and activated.