Transitioning from school to work

What will VR do for me while I’m still in school?

If you’re eligible for VR services, you’ll have a counselor who will help you develop a plan to achieve successful employment. Your counselor—and the rest of your VR team—will:

  • Help you explore different career opportunities
  • Give you information about the work skills, abilities and training you need for a specific job
  • Help you find out about the types of jobs available in your community
  • Arrange for you to use the nearest Vocational Rehabilitation Training Center during the summer before your senior year to strengthen your ability to meet work requirements
  • Work with you and your parents to locate training programs to help you meet your employment goal

Who makes the decisions?

An assessment will indicate your strengths, abilities and interests and you decide what your employment goal will be.

Good planning is the key to success. Your counselor will work with you, your parents and others involved with your planning to help you make informed choices about the kinds of jobs and careers you want to consider.

What happens when I graduate? What if I go to college or a tech school?

After you leave high school, your VR team will continue to work with you to

  • Implement your employment plan and coordinate services if you need assistance to learn a job
  • Provide any help you need to look at career alternatives
  • Offer counseling and guidance as you work toward your employment goal
  • Arrange for special training you may need
  • Help you find a job
  • Follow up after you are working to make sure you and your employer are satisfied
  • Explore other services if necessary

Who pays for all of this?

There’s no cost for determining if and how SCVRD can help you.

Planning and job placement assistance can also be provided by your VRcounselor as no cost to you.

If we need to purchase things—such as tools or training—to help you accomplish your employment goal, family resources and level of need will be considered in determining any costs.

But what if I don’t want people to know I have a disability?

All information we have about you is kept confidential. Only you, your parents and your counselor need to know. We share your information only if you give permission.

What about my SSI or SSDI benefits?

Your counselor can give you and your parents general advice about how your benefits may be affected when you begin earning wages. Work incentive allowances are available and you should contact the Social Security Administration to get specific information about your situation.

How do I qualify?

You must have a physical or mental impairment that interferes with your ability to work.

You must also need and be able to benefit from VR services that will lead to competitive employment.

When should I apply?

The ideal time is before you begin your junior year. However, you may apply if you have already begun your junior or senior year.

See your high school guidance counselor or school nurse or call your nearest SC Vocational Rehabilitation Department Area Office for more information.

High School/High Tech

High School/High Tech (HS/HT) promotes technology-based careers and education for youth with disabilities. It creatively exposes students to a variety of technology-based career opportunities, encouraging them to achieve long-term success.

Goals

  • Creatively motivating students to explore their own interests and potential in mathematics, sciences, engineering and other technology-related fields.

  • Encouraging students to aim for college and a degree in their chosen field.

  • Providing students with career planning, including counseling on colleges and degree projects.

  • Helping professionals in mathematics, sciences, engineering and technology-related fields to better understand uses of assistive technology and the accommodation and facility-access needs of individuals with disabilities.

  • Helping students with disabilities become independent, productive members of the 21st Century technology-driven workforce.

  • Providing employers with a new resource of qualified workers.

I’m a student. Why should I participate?

HS/HT students across the nation are learning first-hand what it’s like to work in high-tech environments. They participate in Site Visits, Mentoring, Job Shadowing and Paid Summer Internships. All these activities provide you with the opportunities to learn more about careers in technology-related fields. You are encouraged to develop your career goals and to take academic preparation necessary to achieve their goals. Working in a dynamic environment, seeing mentors at work, and planning a course for the future guides students with disabilities towards the demands of the 21st-Century workforce.

Become a High School/High Tech student and participate in exciting, hands-on activities while developing a career plan for your future.

Why should my business participate?

The labor force will increase an average of 2.5 percent per year from 2005 through 2010 with technology-related fields averaging a growth rate of 12 percent per year (Department of Labor & Employment Occupational Projections, 1998-2008).

The unemployment rate of people with disabilities (aged 21 to 64 years old) averages 70 percent, virtually an untapped labor force. Employers remaining competitive in the workplace are exploring new approaches to better access non-traditional labor sources, such as people with disabilities.

High School/High Tech gives both students and employers the opportunity to learn from each other about the challenges of entering today’s workforce.
— Vince DiCarlo Warning Coordination Meteorologist NOAA, Greenville, SC

Components

South Carolina HS/HT projects incorporate research-based design features that focus on what youth with disabilities can do to prepare for their future. This research is important because of the increasing pressure to invest public dollars in projects that show results and incorporate promising practices. A typical South Carolina HS/HT project includes:

  • Preparatory Experiences: Services conducted in environments where youth feel accepted and nurtured and include career assessment, opportunity awareness, and work-readiness skills.
  • Connecting Activities: Activities featuring in-project and post-project support designed to benefit each individual participant.
  • Work-based Experiences: Experiences which build on-the-job experiences.
  • Youth Leadership and Development: Activities that assist the young person to become self-sufficient and productive.

History

HS/HT started almost two decades ago in Los Angeles, California, addressing concerns that not enough students—especially those with disabilities—were being prepared for careers in technology-focused industries. In the late 1990s, HS/HT grew rapidly, resulting in more than 75 projects currently operating nationwide. HS/HT participating sponsors will join other distinguished national sponsors including NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Microsoft.