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Transition For Youth with Disabilities

Breaking News: DRS Distance Stem Camp and Pre-ETS!

Transition helps students with disabilities who are eligible for vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for employment and life after high school. Services available through counselors in Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired assigned to each high school include:

  • Vocational counseling and guidance:  through direct contact, the DRS counselor assists teachers, parents and students in developing appropriate career goals.
  • Vocational assessment and evaluation:  helps determine students' employment-related strengths and interests and provides recommended career fields to investigate
  • School Work Study (SWS):  arranged through contracts with the schools, provides job readiness skills training through work experience at the school district or in the community, while earning a minimum wage and high school credits.
  • Work Adjustment Training (WAT):  is provided through contracts with the schools or from community-based facilities, and provides students with foundational employment skills to help them prepare for competitive, integrated employment after high school.
  • On-the-Job Training (OJT):  provides students the opportunity (during the second semester of their senior year) to obtain community employment in their career of choice with permanent employment as a goal.
  • Supported Employment (SE):  helps students (with the most significant disabilities) in their senior year transition into permanent employment with supports from a job coach to search for employment, apply, prepare for the interview, learn the job, and work toward independence on the job.
  • Job Development and Placement specialists help students make job searches more successful by helping them take their interests and strengths and identifying possible businesses with job openings, receive and complete the job application, and prepare for the interview.  The specialists will work with the DRS counselor on this process.

After graduation, DRS counselors and students continue to work toward vocational and employment goals. Some services are available to all eligible individuals without charge. At this point, individuals may be asked to share the cost of some services, depending on income and financial resources.

To find the DRS office that serves your high school, follow this link.

Youth Attend Independent Living Skills Camp from Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

During a week long camp youths learn independent skills and had fun interacting with other kids who are also blind and visually impaired.

Transition School to Work - Dream Big

Project SEARCH

Are you a student who has a disability between the age of 18 to 24 and want to earn some work experience? Project SEARCH may be for you.

This program introduces a group of young adults to the workplace with real world job experiences over the course of nine months through a nonpaid internship. Youth will be exposed to various job skills and positions over three 10-week rotations. Don’t worry we’ve got your back with on-the-job coaching and work site accommodations.

Don’t miss out on experiencing a combination of classroom instruction, career exploration and on-the-job-training with support from professional Project SEARCH staff.

Benefit to Participants

  • Acquire competitive and marketable job skills
  • Gain increased independence, confidence and self-esteem
  • Obtain on-site and individualized instruction and support
  • Receive job placement assistance after program graduation
  • Gain successful, independent community employment

Be an employer that makes a difference, join Project SEARCH

Calling all businesses who need some diverse entry-level employees? Consider being a host organization for Project SEARCH. Share your knowledge with tomorrow’s future.

Give youth with disabilities an opportunity to gain valuable work experience through internships with on-the-job coaching and worksite accommodations.

Learn what it takes to be an inclusive workplace for all individuals – customers and employees.

For more information contact DRS Transition Coordinator at 405 951-3488.

Benefits to Organization

  • Access to a new talent stream with skills that match the labor needs
  • Exemplifies the organization’s diversity mission
  • Enhances the social environment
  • Impacts the future’s workforce through this low cost, low risk opportunity
  • Experience increased local, regional and national recognition through marketing of this unique program

Eligibility Criteria for Project SEARCH

  • Must have an employment goal instead of attending college
  • Must be 18 years of age (before or during program year)
  • Have a disability and eligible for DRS services
  • Ability to take direction and change behavior
  • Be able to communicate
  • Able to pass drug and felony screening (if applicable)
  • Have updated immunizations
  • Willingness to access independent transportation options
  • Willingness to utilize acquired skills to obtain independent community employment

Project SEARCH originated with the Cincinnati Children's Hospital and is a one-year, worksite-based school-to-work program. Check out the national Project SEARCH website.

For more information contact DRS Transition Coordinator at 405 951-3488.

STEP Summer Transition Employment Program

The DRS provides a paid work experience program for its high school transition clients in a few areas of the state.  iJobs consists of a week of in-house training for the youth on employability and independent living skills, such as how to apply for a job, interview, perform the job, work as a team, budget, use public transportation, and comparison shopping, followed then by students working part-time on jobs in their home communities for the duration of the summer.  Throughout the summer, the program staff meets with participating students each week to debrief, provide additional instruction, develop résumés and resignation letters, and bring in topical speakers.  For more information on iJobs, contact the DRS Transition Coordinator, by phone at 405-635-2768, or by e-mail.

Oklahoma Transition Council

In partnership with the Department of Career and Technology Education, and other key stakeholders from across state agencies, schools, families, businesses, and other groups, DRS chairs the Oklahoma Transition Council which focuses on improving transition planning, services, and post-school outcomes for young adults with disabilities.

The council hosts an annual Oklahoma Transition Institute (OTI), where regional transition teams from across the state come together to learn about innovative practices and programs and to develop a plan for how to improve transition in their local areas. Teams are comprised of DRS counselors, school personnel, other state agencies, family members, community service providers, higher education, and other stakeholders with a vested interest in the transition of youth with disabilities. The Council has patterned its work after a model implemented in New Mexico using the Taxonomy for Transition Programming.

To learn more about the council, OTI, or how to join a local transition team in your area, contact the transition coordinator, by phone at 405.635.2768, or e-mail. Be sure to visit the OTC Facebook page for upcoming events and important information.

You can also access information about the OTC, presentations from previous Institutes (OTI), team plans, and a host of other resources relevant to secondary transition for youth with disabilities by visiting the University of Oklahoma Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment.

Timeline of Transition Activities

The Oklahoma Transition Council (OTC) developed a timeline of transition activities to help families, schools, and other partners begin working with children and youth to develop skills, access resources, and make strides toward preparing for life after high school. You can access the timeline by visiting the University of Oklahoma Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment, Timeline of Transition Activities.

Governor’s Youth Council

The Governor’s Youth Council developed a resource to assist parents in career planning with their children.  The Career Planning Folder is a free resource for you to download and print to use as often as you would like to help your youth begin thinking about careers, researching, setting goals, and taking strides toward achieving those goals.

How to Apply

Step 1: Locate an office nearest you, use this link to find the state office and contact information that serves your area.
Step 2: Call for an appointment
Step 3: Fill out an application
Step 4: Gather as much medical information as you can (including a copy of the most current Individualized Education Program (IEP) from the school, if you have one available).
Step 5: Show up for the appointment to complete the application

Keys to Success

  • Keep in contact with your counselor
  • Let him or her know if you move or change phone numbers
  • Complete any assignments


A person may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services if he or she has a significant physical, emotional, mental, or learning disability that is a substantial barrier to employment and requires VR services to prepare for, obtain, keep or return to work.

A person may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation from Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired if he or she has blindness or a significant visual impairment that is a substantial barrier to employment and requires SBVI services to prepare for, obtain, keep or return to work.

What to bring in order to expedite the application process:

Copy of documentation verifying the disabling condition(s), copy of academic transcript(s), (most current Individualized Education Program (IEP) from the school), Social Security card, picture ID, immigration status documentation if not a US citizen, medical insurance verification, if available.


3535 NW 58th Street, Suite 500
Oklahoma City, OK 73112

Office: (405) 951-3488
Fax: (405) 951-3529

Oklahoma Works

Oklahoma Works brings all of our state’s workforce resources together, connecting employers, employees and job-seekers to information and programs that help build Oklahoma’s workforce.

Last Modified on Feb 17, 2021
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