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January 2024: Starting Strong

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Image of DRS Transition masthead with multicolor paint splatters and the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Services logo.


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What to Expect From This Newsletter

Thank you for signing up for the DRS Transition monthly newsletter. The goal of this newsletter is to spread awareness about transition resources, programs, services, and partnerships. We hope to introduce readers to transition professionals across Oklahoma. Through one-on-one interviews, we share inspirational stories of successful transition aged youth with disabilities.

Because this newsletter is distributed monthly, we hope to keep readers engaged by providing current and relevant content. We truly appreciate the commitment and support for Oklahoma's students with disabilities and are excited to share more exciting transition news in 2024 and beyond. Happy New Year!

Stay up-to-date with Transition

January and February 2024: Epic Winter Expos

Image of logo, Epic Charter Schools

The Family Engagement department at Epic hosts expos in September and January/February. These events are designed to inform parents/caregivers about many important aspects of Epic Charter Schools. DRS is one of many resources that will be explained at the Epic Expos. The Winter Expos will take place in many areas across Oklahoma over the next two months. This is a great way to learn more about Epic by connecting with them in person.

Epic Winter Expo Dates and Locations

Jan. 11 - Lawton Winter Expo - First Baptist Church Lawton, 501 SW B Ave., Lawton 73501

Jan. 18 - Muskogee Winter Expo - Muskogee Civic Center, 425 Boston Street, Muskogee 74401

Jan. 22 - Enid Winter Expo - Autry Tech, 1201 W Willow Rd, Enid, OK 73703

Jan. 26 - OKC Winter Expo - 1900 Northwest Expressway R3, OKC, OK 73118

Jan. 31 - Tulsa Area Winter Expo - Glenpool Conference Center,12205 S Yukon Ave, Glenpool, OK 74033

Feb. 6 - Norman Winter Expo - Quest Church, 6450 36th Ave NW, Norman, OK 73072

Feb. 15 - Durant Winter Expo - Durant First United Methodist Church, 5400 W Main St, Durant, OK 74701

If you have questions about these events, please contact Mark Williams at

New in 2024: Start Applying Now for the BEST STEP Summer Program

Image of Apply Now for 2024 BEST STEP, image of BEST STEP logo and image of Growth and Opportunity street signs 

Building Employment Skills Today (BEST) and the Summer Transition Employment Program STEP were recently merged to form BEST STEP, an exciting new opportunity for students with disabilities in Oklahoma.

BEST STEP is a multi-week program designed to prepare students, ages 16-21 for employment. Participants spend the first week in a classroom setting learning Pre-Employment skills -  including workplace readiness, self-advocacy, job exploration, work-based learning, and post-secondary education.

After the first week, participants have an opportunity to work in a paid summer internship with businesses in their community who have partnered with us for BEST STEP.

This year, the BEST STEP application process has begun sooner than ever. Those interested in applying for the BEST STEP summer job skills and work experience program can start submitting applications now. By accepting applications earlier in the overall process, it is more likely that communities and schools who are interested in the program could see a BEST STEP in their area!

Click here to apply now for BEST STEP

Click here for the 2024 BEST STEP flyer

Tulsa Area and Oklahoma City Area Transition Fairs

Image of Transition Fair Calendars for Tulsa area and Oklahoma City area, Links to calendars below. Check back often!

NEW resource! Anyone can learn about transition (resource) fairs happening in both the Greater Tulsa and the Greater Oklahoma City areas.  The calendars can be accessed from a computer through the following links:

Click here for Tulsa area transition fairs

Click here for Oklahoma City area transition fairs

Student/Youth Spotlight

A cartoon of a spotlight on the words of DRS Transition Serving and inspiring Oklahoma's students with disabilities is our passion; our purpose.  Each month, we hope to highlight a student whose story encourages others.

We have learned that one of the best ways to hear about our most amazing students is from those that spend time with them everyday. So, we encourage family members, education professionals and transition professionals to tell us about students who are doing amazing things.  

Image of Transition Student Spotlight; Nominate Someone Today

Image of Merry Christmas from Project SEARCH - Moore Public Schools

Holidays with Project SEARCH students from Moore Public Schools

Image of Christmas tree made up of pictures of students

Holidays with Project SEARCH - Oklahoma City Public Schools students

Image of Happy holidays, Thank you so much for your support of the Project SEARCH program, We appreciate you. From Grace, Toney, and Wendy

Holidays with Project SEARCH students from Francis Tuttle Technology Center

How to nominate a Student:  

If you know a current or former student who has participated in Transition events or who has found success through Transition services, please let us know by submitting this nomination form.

Click here to nominate a student

 Transition Resources  

Image of logo, Pre-employment Transition Services

Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS)

Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) assist students with a documented disability, ages 14-21 and enrolled in an Oklahoma school system, to explore, discover, increase awareness, and prepare for post-secondary training/education and/or employment. Pre-ETS activities focus on job exploration, work-based learning, workplace readiness, self-advocacy and post-secondary education counseling.

For more information or to get connected, please contact:

Traci Foreman

Image of logo, Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH – Oklahoma

Project SEARCH™ is a business-led, collaborative model that provides employment and education opportunities for high school seniors or post-secondary technology center students with disabilities through a combination of classroom employability skills instruction, career exploration, and on-the-job training and support. The program is a year long.

Program partners include a host business, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), a host school (high school or career technology Center), The University of Oklahoma National Center for Disability and Education Training, and a Community rehabilitation provider. Program participants must be DRS clients and have a real desire to obtain competitive employment at the conclusion of the program.

For information on establishing a Project SEARCH, please contact:

Brandi Hurley

Grant Opportunities

Here are some exciting grant opportunities to be aware of:

School-Based Health Clinic

Schools who are planning to implement a School-Based Health Center (SBHC), either via telehealth, or a mobile clinic or plan to add oral or mental health to an existing SBHC will have the opportunity to earn a stipend (about $5,000+) for their schools. The stipend can be used to buy supplies, extra duty pay for the school staff person assigned to assist with the clinic, or a start for an RN-School Nurse Salary.

Please email Gayle Black, Alicia Lincoln, or you may call 405-426-8082 for assistance.

Gayle Black-

Alicia Lincoln-  

Oklahoma Department of Career Technology Education (ODCTE) Innovative Grants

  • “Supporting CTE Special Populations Grant Application 2024-2026” is now available for review and will open in March 2024!!!​ Check it out and begin planning in advance for an opportunity to be awarded a two-year grant (up to $50,000/year) _aimed at helping schools implement transition programs and/or other support strategies to assist in the provision of transferable skill sets to students regarding the attainment of meaningful employment and becoming productive members of society!!!_
  • The Supporting CTE Special Populations Overview ( outlines the requirements for the 2024-2026 grant application and required goal priorities.
  • Perkins Local Education Agencies, LEAs or consortia who meet the $15,000 requirement OR technology centers, technology center co-ops, postsecondary institutions, or consortia who meet the $50,000 requirement are eligible to complete the grant application. ​
  • Application deadline is currently listed as May 3, 2024 (subject to change).

Target Field Trip Grants

  • Amount: $700
  • Description: Since 2007, the Target Company has donated more than $16 million in grants to the improvement of education. As part of their efforts, Target seeks to expand the parameters of the classroom by providing opportunities for you to fund educational excursions for your classes. Each Target store in the United States will award three Target Field Trip Grants, enabling one in 25 schools throughout the country to send a classroom on a field trip. Funds may be used for transportation, registration for events, admission prices and other field trip expenditures.


Target Field Trip Grants

Target Field Trip Grants


Meet Graceson

Graceson LaFever is a Vocational Rehabilitation Technician in the Midwest City office. She joined the DRS team in fall of 2023 and has made a huge difference since starting in her role. Graceson brings tremendous enthusiasm and positivity to her work. She is well liked by clients and co-workers which has allowed her to become more engaged in working with people with disabilities.

She is currently completing her bachelor's degree in Psychology and plans to earn her master's degree as soon as possible. Working with youth has always been a passion for Graceson. And having the ability to serve youth with disabilities has been a pleasant surprise.

She wants young people to know there is always someone there for them and that disabilities do not define who they are. Graceson is a valuable member of the DRS team and we are lucky to have her working with DRS Transition. Graceson LaFever

Graceson LaFever
Vocational Rehabilitation Technician
Vocational Rehabilitation
ph. 405-737-4897   

Meet Traci

Traci Foreman, is the Program Manager for the University of Oklahoma National Center for Disability Education and Training (NCDET). She has worked with people with disabilities for the past 20 years, in the areas of counseling, employment services, Job Corp, case management, housing, vocational, teaching in public schools, and teaching in prisons.

Her observation of how individuals with disabilities were treated, overlooked, and looked down upon, inspired her to forward her education. Traci obtained a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Langston University and is using much of what she learned in her role with NCDET.

She grew up in Porter and is proud of her hometown’s “Porter Peaches”.  She graduated from Porter High School, played sports, rode horses, and worked in her family's corner store for many years before attending college.

What sparked her interest in working with people with a disability was her brilliant and talented cousin who has a disability, and whose strength and talent have gone unrecognized.  Traci watched her cousin experience things like being bullied and being overlooked for work opportunities and she knew she could make a difference for anyone experiencing these things.

She wants to bring change and knowledge to those individuals that have always been told “what they couldn’t do”.  Traci’s passion, experience, and leadership skills make her a great fit in her role. We are lucky to have her on the team. Traci Foreman

Traci Foreman
Program Manager
University of Oklahoma
ph. 405-519-1056

 What is Transition?

The Transition program provides services to prepare students with disabilities for employment and life after high school. Services may include career counseling, vocational evaluation, work adjustment training, on-the-job training, work-study, and job development and placement. The Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired divisions jointly run the Transition program so the youth can easily move into adult services when it is time.

Start the Application Process

Contact Us:

Renee Sansom Briscoe
Phone: 405-951-3488

Chris Compton
Phone: 405-605-9651

Tracy Keeley
Phone: 918-581-2322

Kevin Randall II 
Phone: 405-255-9663  

Image of Logo, Oklahoma Rehabilitation Services  

Image of Logo, Oklahoma Works - a proud partner of the American Job Center network 

Image of Empowering Oklahomans with Disabilities, with a paint brush.   We can help create the blueprint for your youth’s success    

Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services
3535 NW 58th Street, Suite 500, Oklahoma City, OK 73112


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