Engaging Youth with Disabilities in the Delivery of Pre Employment Transition Services

A Resource for Centers for Independent Living and other Grantees

September 2023


Authored by: Charles Walters, Ph.D., and Sandy Jordan, GCDF, CRC, Able SC


When it was signed into federal law in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) brought with it some major changes to the landscape of publicly-funded employment services for people with disabilities. One of the largest changes came from a new mandate requiring state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies to allocate 15% of their federal grant allotment to Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) to support in-school youth with disabilities who are potentially eligible for VR services. As a result, many state VR agencies have dramatically expanded their target population and supported the development of a wide range of programmatic approaches to providing Pre-ETS. As these approaches have been implemented, relatively little has been written on how students with disabilities are effectively engaged in delivering these services. The purpose of this brief is to provide state and local professionals and grantees supporting the employment outcomes of youth with disabilities with an overview of Pre-ETS, some lessons learned from the authors’ perspective, and considerations for student engagement in Pre-ETS planning and implementation.


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