Special education program: Transition Partnership Program (TPP)
Students with special needs often find it difficult to transition from the school environment to the work force. Employers who demand productivity and good working ethics just as often are very skeptical about hiring special needs students. This has changed mostly because of the special education program: Transition Partnership Program. It is a program to help special education students transition from the school environment to the work environment to become full time employees in the work force. The transition to work is an outgrowth of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (94–142). and the The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as amended in 1997 (101–476). Many school districts and regional educational facilities have websites promoting their programs.
Knowing all states, regional, and local educational agencies must follow the federal guide lines, each educational agency promotes the transition partnership program in its own way. States such as Michigan and California, have web pages with detailed information about their school to work programs. For example Michigan’s web pages Michigan Transition Services Association (MTSA) mission statement states: Michigan Transition Services Association is dedicated to providing support to our members who assist students and young adults with disabilities as they transition through school to achieve their post-school goals. The whole purpose of Michigan’s school to career program is to guarantee students employment in as much students as students are capable of working
All the educational facilities have a common theme; all promote the welfare of the special education student as being worthy of employment. For example Office of Education states; “The Transition Partnership Program (TPP), RCOE’s collaboration with the Department of Rehabilitation, is designed to help students as they move out of Special Education and into career. The RCOE further states more than 350 students from participating school districts join the program each year.” The RCOE provides career training TPP provides a two-semester course that includes decision-making skills, interest assessment, career exploration and job preparation, and provides continuing support after high school and may include job placement assistance and vocational training or financial assistance to purchase job-required tools or uniforms.
Desert Mountain Special Education Local Plan Area has a similar school to work transition plan. The Desert Mountain SELPA states, “Prior to placement, students participate in a job-readiness class. Areas of readiness training include: personal portfolio assistance; workplace etiquette; productive work habits; job maintenance skills; and awareness of employer expectations.
Similarly, another regional educational facility, Marin County Office of Education Secondary and Post Secondary Programs provide skills necessary to secure and maintain competitive employment for special education students. For example, classroom teachers provide curriculum and activities designed to prepare the student for employment. It appears all states, regional educational school agencies and local school districts follow the same or similar rules as Marin County with the following criteria being implemented for school to work career.
*Job destination training
*Teaching job tasks
*Supervision at the work site
*Providing assistance to integrate the student into the work environment through natural supports
*Assistance with public support agencies
*Family and residential provider consultation support
*Counseling necessary to maintain employment
A study by the Institute out of the University of Illinois looked at the importance of building partnerships, promoting inter agency cooperation, and establishing strong state and social leadership to study the outcome of the school to work transition for special education students. The research showed:
All states recognized the importance of inter agency collaboration and cooperation, linkages and partnerships, and leadership to effect, strengthen, and sustain inclusive STW systems. State and local procedures were enacted to guarantee that agencies worked together. “Effective leaders realize the benefits of collaborative partnerships and foster such approaches throughout the system, at the state, regional, and local levels. Concurrently, a collaborative system fosters leadership with a variety of constituencies and utilizes that leadership to promote and sustain effective approaches. Collaborative partnerships promote shared service delivery, efficient resource utilization, and system-wide problem solving.”
The research also showed some states were more prevalent at caring out these benchmarks such as New York, and Colorado, New Jersey, and Maryland. The transition Partnership Program appears to be working.