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Guiding Principles for Competitive Integrated Employment

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) has established a list of Guiding Principles that build on the value of full inclusion of people wit...

Green Bay YIPPEE Flyer

Join the YIPPEE Training in Green Bay...

Wisconsin Dells YIPPEE

Join u for YIPPEE Training in the Wisconsin Dells...

 

Spotlight News

TIG Scholarship Applications Now Being Accepted

The Transition Improvement Grant will award two(2) $1,000 scholarships to a student with a disability pursuing further education. Students must be graduating Spring 2014, and be a student receiving special education services. Students must complete and submit an online application and essay questions to be considered for one of the two available scholarships.

Go to: http://www.witig.org/youth-community/  to apply

Applications will be accepted until April 30, 2014 Winners will be notified in May 2014.

Articles Of Interest

Wisconsin Statewide Transition Academy - 2014

Experience the single-best opportunity to immerse yourself in the field of transition and network with transition-minded youth, parents and educators from around the state!

Plan now to attend the 2014 Wisconsin Statewide Transition Academy to explore model programs, hands on workshops and best practices in the field of transition.
Exciting New Parent and Youth Track will be offered

2014 Wisconsin Statewide Transition Academy

Friday, October 17, 2014  
Glacier Canyon Lodge – The Wilderness
45 Hilman Rd., Wisconsin Dells
Transition Academy is FREE to attend, but everyone must register at the TIG Calendar of Events

~Transition Collaboration Network (TCN) Meeting the evening before Transition Academy~ 

Transition Collaboration Network (TCN)

Thursday, October 16, 2014 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Glacier Canyon Lodge – The Wilderness 
45 Hilman Rd., Wisconsin Dells
TCN Meeting is FREE to attend, but everyone must register at the TIG Calendar of Events 

Seeking sectional proposals for the 2014 Wisconsin Statewide Transition Academy

Do you have a transition-related topic you would like to share?  Choose from a 75-minute or a 3-hour format: click here to submit your presentation proposal (Proposal being accepted until September 12, 2014.)

Leading by Convening---One Community at a Time!
Contributed by Kathy Tuttle, TIG Northern Regional Coordinator

Leading by Convening is the foundation for the work of Wisconsin’s County Communities on Transition (CCoTs).  This year an event was sponsored by the Wisconsin Community on Transition and the Transition Improvement Grant to bring our CCoT’s together statewide for a day of learning and connecting.  The first Wisconsin CCoT Retreat was held on March 13, 2014 at The Wilderness Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells.  It brought together representatives from 42 counties for a day filled with informational and collaborative activities.

The morning started with a statewide panel of CCoT representatives who shared perspectives on the impact their work has had on outcomes for youth in transition.  They also shared the activities occurring in their CCoTs for youth.  This was followed by a presentation on How County Postschool Outcomes will Improve the Transition Process.  Each participating CCoT had a chance to review their own county data and consider how this can be used in future planning for the collaborative work in their CCoT.

The morning session continued with the introduction of a new online resource developed by the Transition Improvement Grant titled, A Guide for Wisconsin CCoTs. This resource is a listing of activities occurring statewide within our CCoTs.  The purpose is to provide a “go to” guide for CCoTs as they plan to meet the needs in their communities. The guide has detailed descriptions and an appendix full of forms that will help a team get started.  There is a call for all CCoTs to contact their Transition Improvement Grant Regional Coordinators to add events as they occur throughout the year!  Follow this link to view the new resource: http://www.witig.org/wstidata/resources/CCoT_Guide_03_2014b.pdf

Other informational updates were provided by the Wisconsin Promise Grant: http://promisewi.org/, and the Wisconsin Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN): http://www.healthtransitionwi.org/ followed by a networking lunch.  The afternoon was filled with breakout sessions including:  Re-establishing your CCoT, Increasing Employment and Postsecondary Outcomes, Transition Services in the PTP and the CCoT Connection, and Accessing Disability Services in College.  You can access these in detail at: http://www.witig.org/ccot-resources.html

After an informative afternoon of breakout sessions, the teams were brought back together as a group and had the opportunity to reflect on this day of learning.  Taking the new information of the day and their county postschool outcomes, they sat down to create an action plan to take back to their CCoTs.  Here are some of the comments that were shared:  …we will use information to increase membership,…we will include more employers in our CCoT, ….we will add speakers, …we are coming away energized with new ideas , …we are going away with new strategies to build partnerships, and …we will start using our data for planning to increase student outcomes. 

This day showed the power of “leading by convening” and that a CCoT will and can make a difference.  You can share this day and access the resources and presentations at:   http://www.witig.org/ccot-resources.html.  

Transition Improvement Plan (TIP) and the Predictors of Postschool Success
Contributed by Mary Kampa, TIG Post School Outcomes with Jenny Jacobs, TIG Post School Outcomes Outreach

There are currently 16 Predictors to Postschool Success.  In the last three newsletters we presented the first three Predictor categories which focused on Career Choices, Work Preparation, and Networking.  The fourth cluster of Predictors focus on Delivery of Instruction, which includes school-based programs, curriculum and inclusion in general education activities and programming. Success in these areas leads to increased outcomes in many areas of adult living.

  1. Test Preparation/Accommodations – Standardized tests assessing single content or multiple skills areas with specified levels of proficiency. Diploma status is achieved by completing the requirements of the state awarding the diploma.
    *  Activity: Teach test taking strategies and study skills instruction.  Practice taking standardized tests in both paper pencil format and on the computer
    **  Resource: How to Request Accommodations on College Board Tests
  2. Inclusion in General Education – Free and appropriate public education (FAPE) requires students with disabilities have access to the general education curriculum and be engaged in regular education classes with peers without disabilities to the greatest extent possible. 
    *  
    Activity: Establish an inclusive environment in the regular education classroom by providing support to regular education teachers who have students with disabilities in their classrooms.  Promote use of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in regular education classrooms. 
    **  
    Resource: TASH- Equity, Opportunity and Inclusion for People with Disabilities
  3. Program of Study – Includes an individualized set of courses, experiences, and curriculum designed to develop students’ academic and functional achievement to support the attainment of students’ desired post-school goals.
    *  Activity: Establish a planning process to assist students with developing their program of study.
    **  Resource: National Career and Tech Ed Program of Study Templates 

Read the next e-news to find out more about the 16 Predictors of Postschool success.

A Student-Centered Approach to Fostering Hands-On Employment Skill Building
Contributed by LaNae Jabas, TIG Eastern Regional Coordinator

Each year, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), School-to-Work Transition Program provides supported work and employment opportunities for hundreds of MPS students with disabilities, ages 15-21. This program gives students, throughout the district, an opportunity to participate in a variety of hands-on career exploration options, which otherwise would be virtually impossible for individual high schools to offer. The overall philosophy and structure of the program reflects a high quality student-centered approach, one that truly puts the needs of the students first. Because the program is so vast, when students enroll they are appropriately placed in worksites based on identified interests, abilities, strengths, along with areas that need improvement. Students are offered a wide variety of work opportunities at the various sites, are continually assessed and instructed for improvement, and leave the program not only with employment skills, but with a resume that reflects the wealth of their MPS supported experiences.   The program offers three distinct skill building programs on a continuum: 

Community Assessment Training Program (CATP):

The Community Assessment Training Program (CATP) supports 200-250 students with various special needs in work site opportunities each semester. This “entry level” program teaches students both the hard and soft skills so necessary for employment. Students are fully supported at each of the 21 worksites through a teacher assigned to the site and one or more educational assistants.   A high school elective credit is awarded to students for their participation.  The students report to sites five times per week for one semester, In addition, qualifying students also have the option to participate in the program during extended school year (ESY).  During extended school year (ESY), students report daily for the duration of the extended year. The majority of CATP students are bussed between home/school and worksites, though that is changing.  The School-to-Work Transition Program (STWTP) trains students identified as viable candidates for mobility training in the use of public transportation. The program is so popular that each semester, they receive more applicants for CATP experiences than they have available opportunities.  They typically have a waiting list of 150 students or more.

The picture below shows Lewis Goldsberry organizing patient wrist bands for the Registration Department at St. Joseph Hospital.


On The Job Training/Education Program (OJT/E):

The On-The-Job Training (OJT) Program is a paid work experience that employs approximately 40 students per semester during the school year, as well as during (ESY) extended school year.  All students enrolled in OJT/E are recommended by Transition Coordinators, CATP teachers, IEP teachers, and are itinerantly supported by the School to Work Transition program staff as well as their Transition Coordinators. Students in this program have typically completed 2-4 CATP assessments, and have more highly developed employment readiness skills.   Students are paid minimum wage, and earn HS credit for their participation.  Students must be able to use public transportation as part of their eligibility or provide their own transportation. 

The picture below shows Kanisha Carver, student worker, (left) filing paperwork for the Home Infusion Department at St. Joseph Hospital, with Kanish Miller. Educational Assistant (right)


Employment Training Program (ETP):

To qualify for this program, students must be 18-21 years old, and have developed the highest level of job readiness skills. Students in this program have typically completed CATP assessments and one semester of OJT.  ETP specialists work with an infinite number of individuals, businesses, agencies, corporations and associations to develop competitive employment opportunities for students. Students are itinerantly supported in this program. This program does not follow the traditional school year calendar. Students are supported evenings, weekends, during breaks, etc.  Like the OJT program, students must be able to provide their own transportation to and from the worksites.

The picture  below shows Bar nice Dannie and Dazion Key cooking in the kitchen at Central Services-Court Yard Café.

 

In addition to the worksite based opportunities, the School to Work Transition Program collaborates with businesses, agencies and schools in other related activities:

  • Staff presents employment related topics to high schools and the community
  • Organizes mock interview seminars between businesses and students
  • Develops and holds an annual conference for students with disabilities (‘Journey Forward’)
  • Is represented on several committees in post-secondary institutions
  • Runs an annual  “Business Etiquette” conference
  • Resume development and interview readiness
  • Assists students in navigating the legal and other support systems
  • Works with contracted vendors and the Contract Compliance Office to present career awareness activities within the schools

The Milwaukee Public Schools’ School-to-Work Transition Program continues to serve as a model for other districts throughout Wisconsin, and accommodates numerous on-site visit requests each year.  The School-to-Work Transition Program staff and students have been recognized by the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) and the Wisconsin Restaurant Association.  It is a unique, successful and valuable program for MPS students with disabilities, and one that has always put the needs of the students first. For more information contact Barbara Barnes, (MPS) School-to-Work Supervisor at barnesb1@milwaukee.k12.wi.us or 414-438-3414.

Self-Advocacy Connections to College and Career Readiness
Contributed by Brenda Swoboda, TIG Western Regional Coordinator

More than ever, students with disabilities are using self-advocacy to plan their steps toward postschool success.  Whether students are pursuing a career, college or other training program, educators can tie students' efforts and expressions to the 16 evidence-based Predictors of Success for Employment and Education.  Visit the interactive document at the link below to view some great resources related to transition planning for college and career readiness for students with disabilities.

Click here to go to document: Self-Advocacy Skills: Connections to College and Career Readiness through Instruction



Tips for Helping Students with Disabilities Obtain and Maintain Employment
Contributed by Brian Kenney, TIG Southern Regional Coordinator

Community based employment of students with disabilities proves to be a focal point of many school districts throughout Wisconsin.  There are numerous barriers to employment that exist for our students.  I want to offer some tips and strategies to manage the types of barriers that we can control.  I have created a list of 11 helpful strategies and five of them relate directly to collaborative efforts between a school district, students with IEPs and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR).   Regarding the tips related to this collaboration, we are going to assume that the students are active consumers who are ready to receive services from DVR.  The other six tips are great suggestions for increasing employment outcomes for students with disabilities.     

Five Great Ideas Directly Related to Collaborative Work with DVR – 

  1. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal income tax credit designed to help people gain on-the-job experience and acquire better employment outcomes.  The WOTC program offers federal tax credits to employers as an incentive to hire people in several specific target groups.  When an individual has a disability serious enough to be a barrier to employment AND is referred to an employer upon completion of or while receiving rehabilitation services under a State rehabilitation plan or a program approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs, they become eligible. Services must have been received no longer than 2 years before the hire date.  When requirements are met and employment is offered, the employer receives a one-time tax credit of up to $2,400.  Individuals must work at least 120 hours in order for employers to receive a maximum of $1,500 or at least 400 hours to receive a maximum credit of $2,400.  To apply for the WOTC tax credit, employers must submit the IRS Form 8850 and either the ETA Form 9061 or ETA Form 9062.  The IRS Form 8850 is time sensitive and must be sent within 28 days of the individual's start date.  The ETA Form 9062 will need to be signed by an authorized official from a State Partner Agency and results in an automatic certification.  Applications can be mailed to 201 E. Washington Ave., Room G100, Madison, WI 53703 or faxed to 608-264-9682. 
    The forms required are available at the following links:
    IRS Website: Pre-Screening Notice and Request for WOTC for Employers
    WOTC ETA Form: WOTC ETA Forms for individuals
    WOTC ETA Form Certificate: Conditional Certification forms
  1. Short term work experience (time-limited paid work experience).  This service is designed to impart in-depth knowledge of day-to-day work requirements in a real job for DVR consumers. The purpose of the placement may be to complete a job tryout, determine an appropriate vocational goal, determine readiness for employment, determine need for rehabilitation technology and/or job accommodations, development of a current work reference, or to develop new skills.  This may be used as a stand-alone service or in conjunction with job coaching, supported employment, job development, etc. 
  1. Youth on-the-job training initiative.  This initiative is designed to provide an opportunity for youth to find employment while in high school.  It provides a timeframe of up to 500 hours and a wage subsidy of up to 100% reimbursement to allow a business to offer competitive employment to a youth with significant disabilities in transition.  On a case by case basis, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) will negotiate the length and level of wage subsidy directly with the employer business.  Once the youth graduates, there is an "adult" version that may be available as well. 
  1. If you are or could potentially receive Social Security Income monthly stipends, you should consider a benefits analysis – DVR can be very helpful in getting you in touch with the agencies that will help you complete this.  If you qualify for the Social Security Income benefits, you qualify for the benefits analysis.  It is best to have a benefit analysis done early and have up front knowledge of all of your financial and medical benefits.  You want to avoid the possibility of a reduction or loss of your Social Security Benefits. A Benefits Specialist will be able to explain Social Security programs which provide incentives to work.  To protect your benefits, have that benefit analysis completed during your youth transition years. A benefits analysis may be conducted again later on if the work situation changes for the individual.  A benefits analysis can also be used to determine how the person can go to work and successfully go off of benefits. 
  1. Be sure to follow DVR guidelines about calling / checking in each month and keeping appointments. (Sometimes people remember their monthly check-in by calling/contacting DVR on the same day each month, often times their birthday date).  Working with outside agencies is always a collaborative effort and best practice for collaboration is a clear understanding of each individual’s roles and responsibilities.  Mutual respect between youth and DVR can go a long way.  

Six Other Great  Ideas for Improving Employment Outcomes 

  1.  Interview Prep. -  Partnership for employment begins with interview preparation.  It is very helpful for the student and the school to have a list of potential interview questions readily available.  This allows for practice time, repetition and an overall feeling of comfort and self-assurance with the questions a student may be asked to answer.  Asking the potential employment site for the questions in advance will likely be well received.  Employers who know you are looking to be fully prepared for interview success are going to go the extra mile to accommodate you.  .  Let’s face it, questions to potential employment candidates are not going to give away company secrets.  
  1. Students must have the ability to demonstrate soft skills – Soft skills can make or break a job.  These are core skills that a student needs to be familiar with before they can sustain any level of employment.  Educators do a great job overall in schools teaching these skills and working with our students to demonstrate them.  Now we need to showcase these skills to potential employers.  We can utilize technology to showcase our students and their use of soft job skills.  Making video trailers is a great way to collect examples of students utilizing soft job skills.  These short trailers can be shown to employers and help seal the deal when it comes to obtaining that job.  Be sure to follow good professional practice and obtain proper releases and exchanges with employers regarding student work.  Combining the use of technology to demonstrate soft skills with a strong well written application and a resume will definitely put the student in a position to secure that employment goal.     
  1. Engaging potential employers can be very exciting for teachers and often leads to a strong desire to make lots of promises.  I have been through this experience where I am so excited to engage an employer, I want to make any promise I can to preserve that opportunity.  Best advice is to under promise and over deliver when presenting students to possible employers.  Stay patient and focus on relationship building before logistics.  Begin to look for signs of a strong sense of team when visiting an employment site.  Look at possible awards the company may have won for job satisfaction and customer service and begin to engage the employer in conversation surrounding those things.  This enhances the relationship piece and makes the need to talk about logistical promises seem to disappear.  Initial conversations can revolve around what the company is all about, not what your students can do.  You will learn if the company is the right fit for your students vs your students being the right fit for the company.  There is a big difference.        
  1. Ensure to the best of your ability a job placement is based on age-appropriate assessment and student strengths, preferences and interests.  The worst feeling in the world is placing a student into a job placement simply based on excitement that a job placement was there and a particular student was deemed ready.  The age appropriate assessment exists for numerous reasons and one of the most important is the mere fact that it speaks into the student’s preferences, interests and strengths.  Best practice when it comes to community employment is to base decisions on age appropriate assessment data.    
  1. With regard to the actual interview for the job, complete a mock interview (practice interview) several days before the actual interview.  Also request a group interview – this allows the student to feel comfortable and gives them a sense of team – you’re on their team and so is the interviewer.  This way if the student “gets stuck”, you have prior knowledge of how to assist them.  This also opens doors in the now, for open conversations about accommodations down the road.    
  1. Utilization of technology for communication assistance and keeping hard copies of your important documents is very important.  The most important thing for youth in transition is to have an email address that they have working knowledge of.  This allows them consistency in building a portfolio.  If utilization of a computer and email is difficult, keep paper documents in a safe place and use file folders.  Arrange your documents based on dates/when they were received to be prepared for the future. 

We all need strategies when it comes to successful employment.  Either someone gives you a tip or they possibly let you in on a special new tool that will help you nail that interview or make the student’s resume look like a golden idol.  The biggest key with utilization of a strategy is  preparation to correctly utilize it.  By being fully prepared, you are increasing your opportunities to obtain, sustain and maintain employment.   

2014 Post School Outcomes Survey Begins Soon
Contributed by Jenny Jacobs, TIG Post School Outcomes Outreach with Mary Kampa, TIG Post School Outcomes

Assisting Your District in a Monitoring Year:  Special Education Directors will be reviewing their district’s list of exiters within the next month. (Exiters from 2012-2013 will be interviewed)  Take this opportunity to help prepare your former district students for the upcoming Post School Outcomes survey to ensure your district has a great response rate.

  • Special Education teachers can remind/notify former students of the upcoming survey
  • Inform your Special Education Director of any contact information changes that you are aware of from your exiters last year

Preparation Activities for The Districts in Monitoring Next Year (2014-2015 school year): 

While students are still in school (and will be interviewed in the summer of 2015) teaches can increase response rates by:

  • Explaining the survey to students and their parents during the student’s final IEP meeting
  • Give the student a copy of the “What’s Up?” brochure and the “Sample PSO Survey Questions,” found at www.wipso.org.
  • Show the  Youth Post School Outcomes video when discussing other graduation activities

      without subtitles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebomXDKvNBo

      with subtitles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoPUzlvbQVU

  • Explain to students that by answering the questions on the survey, they are providing the school with valuable information and helping other students like themselves.
  • Share survey results from other former students; talk about former students who enrolled in college, went on to work, enlisted in the military services, etc. 

Contact us for additional information or training opportunities.
Mary Kampa, maryk@witig.org , 715-416-0609 
Jenny Jacobs, jennyj@witig.org, 920-617-5630 

Free: Dragon Dictation Speech-to-Text Mobile App
Contributed by LaNae Jabas, TIG Eastern Regional Coordinator

Looking for a FREE, simple to use speech-to-text iOS app for students who have difficulty typing, translating thoughts into written words, or for those who simply want to improve core reading and writing skills? Dragon Dictation may be the app you are looking for?  This easy-to-use app allows for the natural reinforcement of composition skills based on the “Six Traits of Writing”.  Through utilizing this voice recognition program, students can brainstorm their ideas/content, organize thoughts, determine their purpose/voice, develop their sentence structure, and overall writing mechanics. Once downloaded, the student can personalize the program by ‘training’ it through creating an individual voice ‘profile’. This means that, once a profile is created, the program is then ‘trained’ to recognize the way an individual articulates his or her words. There is no time limit when recording and a graph appears at the bottom of the screen allowing the individual to see his or her voice audio levels. In addition, text or email messages are displayed immediately.  Fixing and editing text is easy to do. If the program misinterprets a word(s) due to mumbling and/or inaccurate pronunciation, it can be easily corrected by tapping on the word and choosing to either delete or manually correct it using the online keyboard.  The program's best feature may be its ability to remember when words are misinterpreted and then corrected, allowing for voice refining to occur, which in turn improves future recognition.  In addition, information recorded can be easily shared with social networking applications such as email, Facebook and/or Twitter posts.  To try out Dragon Dictation, go to http://www.dragonmobileapps.com/

Youth Leadership Forum is the Place to Be!

Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to meet other youth from around the state and development leadership skills you will use throughout your life, in school, work and your community.  What is YLF you may ask?  YLF is The Wisconsin Youth Leadership Forum which is a week-long leadership training and career awareness program for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors with disabilities. It provides training in leadership, self-advocacy skills, and career awareness to approximately 25 students with disabilities throughout the state of Wisconsin.

YLF is for:

  • Students who show leadership potential by being active in their school and community
  • Students who have a disability (physical, learning, cognitive, emotional, sensory, etc.)
  • Wisconsin residents
  • Students who are currently sophomores, juniors or seniors in high school

Why Attend the Youth Leadership Forum?

  • To give you a place to meet other students your age who are experiencing similar issues and concerns
  • To help you increase your leadership skills so you can further your future goals and reach them
  • To assist you in becoming a leader in your school and community

The YLF is held at Edgewood College in Madison, WI where you will stay in the dorms with other YLF attendees.  It is a great opportunity to also see what it is like to live on a college campus for a week.  The YLF takes place July 13-18, 2014.  The best part, it FREE.  So get your application started and apply as soon as possible as applications must be submitted before Monday, April 21st, 2104.

If you are interested, first, complete the application, then get 3 letters of recommendation that highlight your leadership skills, complete two essay questions and submit your application before Monday, April 21, 2014.

If you have questions, or for more information about YLF, contact Cassandra Lokker at: 715-307-2185 or wisconsinylf@gmail.com.

To view the application process, visit http://www.wi-bpdd.org/projects/YLF/index.cfm.  Click on Youth Leadership Forum on the left, then PDF or Word next to “complete the application”.

Good Luck!

New Video: Introducing Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Contributed by PACER Resources

Planning for employment and post-secondary education is an important step in preparing young adults with disabilities for life after high school, and it’s never too early to begin the planning process. In this short Simply Said video, youth with disabilities will learn how their local Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) counselor can help them be successful at school, at work, and in the community. 

Click here to see the video from PACER Center Resources

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