The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission's Community Living Services.

Transition Works ABSTRACT

The proposed Transition Works Project is an interagency partnership that will create and deliver innovative and non-traditional career development, job placement and career advancement activities for over 750 transition age students with significant disabilities in the cities of Boston, Springfield and Worcester. The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Education, the Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN), Urban Pride, the Massachusetts workforce development system, the Commonwealth Corporation and the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) will address the unmet transition, career development and employment needs of young adults with significant disabilities ages 16-26.

Transition age youth with disabilities face major barriers to employment success including higher drop-out rates, greater risk of poverty and incarceration, and dependence on public benefits. The Transition Works project is designed to connect youth with significant disabilities with an array of person-centered planning services leading to successful connection to the workforce, while offering the potential for long-term growth and economic self sufficiency. The program is designed in response to the substantial need for flexible, innovative transition to work strategies for youths with significant disabilities. The proposed program will serve students with disabilities in three diverse, metropolitan school districts within Massachusetts.

MRC has a 50-year history of providing comprehensive services to people with disabilities in Massachusetts to maximize their quality of life and economic self-sufficiency, and is poised to commence all program activities immediately upon grant award. The Transition Works program model addresses a myriad of needs among youth as they transition from school to work. Services provided through Transition Works will include extensive assessment services, person-centered planning, peer mentoring, job readiness training, soft skills training, job placement, and extensive follow-up support services to reduce drop-out rates and promote connections to the workforce. Over the five-year grant period, Transition Works staff will provide outreach to at least 2,500 students at selected high schools in the three regions over the grant period, with specific emphasis on traditionally un-served and under-served populations. The proposed program will serve a minimum of 750 youths with significant disabilities and successfully transition 450 students from high school to post-secondary education, vocational training programs or employment over the five-year grant term, with particular attention to student academic achievement and functional performance. Transition Works initiatives include:


  • Development of a statewide Interagency Transition Taskforce composed of all involved state and community partners, as well as youth with disabilities, family members, and employers will provide guidance and direction to the project.
  • Research/evaluate project impact on post-school outcomes for youth with disabilities in areas of post-secondary education, employment, and independent living using qualitative and quantitative methods including tracking of intermediary benchmarks.
  • Disseminate findings through networks of the state interagency transition taskforce at the demonstration sites, professional organizations and statewide conferences.
  • Research options for long-term sustainability and replication of the project.

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.