Why do special education students need employment readiness services?

Students’ high school experiences too often fail to prepare them for post-secondary education or for the rigors of work in an information-based economy. Surveys consistently show that many high school graduates do not meet employers’ standards in a variety of academic areas as well as in employability skills such as attendance, teamwork and collaboration, and work habits. Unfortunately, the statistics for special education students who are prepared for employment are much worse than those of their nondisabled peers.

What are Employment Readiness Skills?Employment Readiness Services

  • Knowing and exploring occupational possibilities
  • Selecting and planning occupational choices
  • Prepared to conduct job searches
  • Basic reading and math skills necessary for work

Compared to their nondisabled peers, students with disabilities are more likely to experience unemployment or underemployment, lower pay, and job dissatisfaction (Dunn, 1996). Many students with disabilities—as well as those with chronic achievement problems—drop out of high school before graduating, which leaves them even more unprepared for and less likely to obtain a job. Due to these facts, it is critical that students not only get the necessary assessments to determine their areas of need with regard to transition but also have a course of study determined regarding the type of instruction or classes students need in order to be successful in their post-secondary goals.

Employment Readiness Skills Services

            Career Exploration Services are designed to provide special education students the hands-on experiences needed to make realistic choices regarding their career path. Currently, the program offers hands-on, real-job experiences in the following occupational areas: Automotive Technology, Construction Technology, Cosmetology, Custodial Housekeeping, Distribution-Warehouse, Food Service, Health Care, HVAC, Horticulture, Manufacturing, Small Parts Assembly, and Office Technology.

            Employment Preparation for Students with Behavior Disorders – Students with a behavior disorder typically have many of the same problems in the workplace that they experienced in the classroom environment. According to research, workers with behavior disorders experience longer delays in obtaining employment after graduation, lower levels of employment after school, and lower employment rates overall. Students may be unable to form relationships with people who will positively contribute to their successful independence or who are in a position to provide personal, professional, and financial support. Students who experience problems in attitude, adaptability, commitment, assertion, motivation, decision making, time management, and stress management and who do not gain these skills before leaving high school will encounter problems in employment.

            Personal and Social Skills for Employment Services – ”Soft skills” refers to a cluster of personal qualities, habits, attitudes, and social graces that make someone a good employee and compatible in the workplace. Companies value soft skills because research suggests—and experience shows—that they can be just as important an indicator of job performance as hard skills. Many special education students, especially those who are in full-time special education settings, lack opportunities to develop these skills that will increase their success in employment. SoT’s services help students develop self-awareness, self-confidence, socially responsible behavior, good interpersonal skills, independence, decision-making capabilities, and communication skills.

           Understanding a Criminal Record and Employment  Many offenders have difficulty finding permanent, unsubsidized, well-paid employment after release because they lack job-seeking experience, a work history, and occupational skills; furthermore, many employers refuse to hire individuals with criminal records. These circumstances seriously affect an ex-offender’s stability because unemployment is consistently associated with high recidivism rates. This program, developed by the D.C. Employment Justice Center, helps students understand how to communicate about their record to potential employers and know their rights when applying or holding a job.

             Intensive Career Exploration/Employment Readiness Program This intensive, accelerated Employment Readiness Program helps students move through the career exploration activities needed to choose a career path, acquire the skills to complete a job search, learn the social skills to successfully interview for and obtain a job, and become proficient in the skills needed to succeed in a work setting. This program helps students understand the expectations of choosing a career, getting a job, and keeping that job!

If you have not seen the services you are look for, check out our:

Workplace Readiness Skills

Vocational Training

Adult Basic Education Services