Think College

Think College

Vocational Planning
& Employment

Worker picture

The ultimate goal after college is to find a job. To help students with disabilities plan for their future vocation and gain work experience while in high school and college, consider the following strategies:


  • Get Early Work Experiences. Many students without disabilities hold a part-time job during high school. They may mow lawns, baby-sit, walk dogs, or work at the local fast food restaurant. Through these experiences, students learn important lessons in responsibility, time management, and money management. Students without disabilities need these opportunities as well. In fact, having early, paid work experiences is one of the best predictors of postschool employment success.1 Check out "On the Job: Stories from Youth with disabilities" found at the Natural Supports website for stories about studentsí early employment experiences in Wisconsin. Also visit the Let's Get to Work website, a project of the WI-Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (WI-BPDD).
  • Use Person-Centered Planning. It is essential that the student has a voice in his/her career goals. See Person-Centered Planning for Promoting Academic Success for more information and resources.
  • Create specific goals for job experiences. The Massachusetts Work-Based Learning Plan provides a structure for monitoring progress in foundational and career related skills.
  • Follow Best Practices for Transition. What does research tell us about evidence-based practices to support transition-aged students? Check out The 5 C's of Evidence-Based Practices in Transition for Students with Disabilities and the webinar Transition to Employment: Evidence-based Policies and Practices.
  • Apply for a job on a college campus. Some individuals with intellectual disabilities may not be interested in taking college classes but would enjoy being on the campus. By becoming an employee of the college, the individual would have access to the wide variety of activities available to college students and employees.
  • Check out the following websites and webinars:

[1] Test, D.W., Mazzotti, V.L., Mustian, A.L., Fowler, C.H., Kortering, L, & Kohler, P. (2009). Evidence-based secondary transition predictors for improving postschool outcomes for students with disabilities. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 32, 160-181.

Last modified Friday, May 10th, 2013