‘Transition Unlimited’ unifies transition efforts statewide

Transition Unlimited Action Plan team members meet in Homewood on Feb. 2.
Transition Unlimited Action Plan team members meet in Homewood on Feb. 2.

A collaboration between ADRS and Auburn University to improve transition services to students is currently being implemented in every high school in the state.

The Alabama pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS) initiative – dubbed “Transition Unlimited” – is designed to build capacity and connect services to appropriately implement transition services throughout the state. Its goal is to provide guidance to local education agencies (LEAs) in the development of Pre-ETS action plans to better meet the needs of students with disabilities.

Transition Unlimited brings Pre-ETS planning to each local high school in the state, said ADRS Supported Employment Coordinator Tina Dortch.

“We are looking at what each high school in the state realistically can or can’t do,” Dortch said. “Every school’s situation is unique, and that’s why we look beyond the district level to each individual school.”

ADRS Transition Services began a series of meetings in January to update all of the LEAs in the state on the new initiative. The meetings are framed in a small group setting of three to six team members per team. Each Transition Unlimited Action Plan team consists of a VR counselor, one or two high school representatives, a Pre-ETS specialist, a school job coach, and an additional speciality counselor, if needed. The Transition Unlimited meetings will conclude Feb. 24.

Representatives pick up transition materials at the Transition Unlimited meeting in Homewood
Representatives pick up transition materials at the Transition Unlimited meeting in Homewood

“Transition Unlimited is all about collaboration,” said VR Transition Program Coordinator Karen Jenkins. “WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) mandates that we collaborate and arrange for the provision of Pre-ETS services with our LEAs, and this is what we are doing to fill that requirement. We’re building better solutions to successfully help guide students with disabilities into competitive integrated employment.”

Jenkins said that at the halfway point of the meetings schedule, she has received a tremendous response from teachers, special education coordinators, and LEA representatives concerning the new program.

“Everyone involved appreciates the opportunity to come to the table and brainstorm and collaborate on these needed services,” she said.

Dortch said that the long-term strategy of the program focuses on the data that is gathered from the LEAs. Transition Unlimited will disseminate and share approaches on evidence-based practices and innovative approaches to improve transition efforts in the future.

“The data we compile is key,” said Dortch. “Ultimately, what will happen is Transition Unlimited will help us be better counselors, and that’s why this is such an exciting endeavor.”

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