High School (14 to 21 years old)

View of Philadelphia from Benjamin Franklin Nridge at sunset

Transitioning Years - Maximizing Potential

Adulthood is around the corner and you will be graduating before you know it. You want to start exploring your interests and researching possibilities. In thinking about what you want to do after high school, know that there are many jobs and careers that do not require a college degree. There are many options such as on-the-job training, apprenticeships, certificates and certifications. Know and understand your rights as a student with a disability to access Pre-Employment Transition Services.

Employers are looking for employees who are reliable, can communicate effectively, and work well with others. The workforce has changed a lot since 1990 and even 2000, so here are some suggestions to help you build skills and figure out what your first move after high school is:

  • If you are not already involved in a sport, club, or activity, find one! It can be through school or in your community. Ask a teacher for a suggestion on where to start if you’re unsure.
  • Get a job! Getting a job while still in high school not only earns you money, but it also helps you to begin to understand what it means to work. You have responsibilities and you will also build confidence.
  • Volunteer! Give back to your community or an organization that means something to you. This can be a formal opportunity you find through Facebook or Instagram, or maybe it is something you seek out.
  • Develop your reputation! If someone says your name, what would others say? Are they positive? Your reputation becomes your brand and in the workforce this is important. Think twice, then think again, before you decide to post or share something on social media, and that includes how you may or may not talk about your disability.

Below are some suggestions for you to engage in your IEP / 504 Plan Meetings. These guidelines are intended to empower you and it is never too late to begin engaging in these ways:

  • Lead the meeting
  • Go to the meeting prepared with the goals you want to work on
  • Be able to share why the goals are important to you
  • Voice any needs for accommodations or other supports
  • Remind the team about your dreams and hopes for the future, including your career path
  • Advocate the need for people, including Early Reach Coordinators, to be involved in your meetings
  • Take notes at your meeting
  • Be sure to have your own copy of your IEP / 504 Plan
  • Make sure your plan has everything in it that was discussed at the meeting
  • In getting ready for graduation, gather all documents related to your disability from your school.

Career and Technical Education

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