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Careers in Vocational Rehabilitation in Region IX

Region IX Community Rehabilitation Program

eRehab Training Series

Rehabilitation Capacity Building Project

Project Higher Education

Point of Transition Service Integration Project

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The last day of school should be no different than the day after.

This project has developed and implemented the Transition Service Integration Model (Pumpian & Certo, 1996) in approximately a dozen communities in California which has resulted in a seamless transition from school to integrated direct-hire employment, Postsecondary education and inclusive access to a wide range of preferred community activities and settings for students with severe disabilities during their last year in public school (i.e., typically students who are 21 years old). This model utilizes a one-stop workforce investment strategy that unifies the three primary systems responsible through enabling legislation for this transition: the public school system, the rehabilitation system and the developmental disabilities system. It results in students exiting school with a stable job and a scheduled routine for accessing non-work activities in natural community settings when they are not working, and it ensures the continued support needed to maintain these activities after graduation.

POTSIP benefits consumers and systems in many ways

Successful Strategies (Project Level)
  • New partnerships among all stakeholders (building trust)

  • Holding two sets of regular meetings: funding/policy issues & programming/practice issues

  • Different approaches across state: designing new agencies; expanding services of existing agencies

  • Fostering collaboration among vendored agencies to share billing approaches, support strategies, other expertise

  • Meeting with service coordinators (case managers) as a group each spring

  • Meeting with vendors (i.e., Vendor Coalition) to encourage participation by non-project sites; develop partnerships with new school districts and selected agencies

  • Building capacity within stakeholders, e.g., buying out a percentage of a DR counselor; supporting a percentage of a teacher's time; subcontracts to agencies to provide a job developer and transition liaison to work exclusively with the targeted students

  • Including students, family members, employers, as well as representatives from schools, DR, & DDS in presentations at conferences, workshops, & for visiting professionals (e.g., Denmark, Netherlands, Japan)

Changes In Practice (Program Level)

  • More students are leaving high school with jobs and keeping those jobs.

  • Students are involved in other non-work activities that are continuing.

  • Students who are 21 (or in their final year of school) are provided services differently (e.g., no school holidays, different daily hours, located off-campus)

  • Services are being re-examined for students who are 18-20, in order to support job placement during Point of Transition year.

  • Families are receiving information early on regarding options for adult supports and services (e.g., meeting with school personnel, service coordinators, representatives from Dept. of Rehab., DDS, vendored agencies)

  • Families and students are feeling more empowered in making informed choices regarding their future.

Changes In Policy/Funding

  • Split or shared funding to support work and non-work activities (DR & DDS)

  • Department of Rehab. providing funding earlier, while students are in last year of school

  • DDS providing a 60-day safety net for students who lose a job to support continued job development time

  • Using staffing allotments and assignments in more creative ways (funding staff from vendored agency to work with targeted students)

  • Sharing assessment & collateral packets among all school partners, adult agencies, DR, and DDS in order to provide consistency, less redundancy, and working toward the use of single planning document that will satisfy all partners' requirements.

  • School districts are moving students (18-22) off high school campuses (e.g., leasing space from vendored agency)


  • Blackorby, J., & Wagner, M. (1996). Longitudinal post school outcomes of youth with disabilities: Findings from the national longitudinal transition study. Exceptional Children, 62, 399-413.
  • Certo, N. J., Mautz, D., Pumpian, I., Sax, C., Smalley, K., Wade, H., Noyes, D., Luecking, R., Wechsler, J., & Batterman, N.  (2003).  A review and discussion of a model for seamless transition to adulthood. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 38(1), 3-17.
  • Certo, N. J., Pumpian, I., Fisher, D., Storey, K., & Smalley, K. (1997). Focusing on the point of transition. Education and Treatment of Children, 20 (1), 68-84.
  • Fisher, D., & Sax, C. (1999). Noticing differences between secondary and post-secondary education: Extending Agran, Snow, and Swaner's discussion. Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 24(4), 303-305.
  • Noyes, D., & Sax, C. (2004). Changing systems for transition: Students, families, and professionals working together. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 39(1), 35-44.
  • Pumpian, I. & Certo, N.J. (1996-99). Focusing on the point of transition: A service integration model. Funded by U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Postsecondary Model Demonstration Program, Washington, DC.
  • Pumpian, I., Certo, N.J. & Sax, C. (1999). Progress Report, Year 02, AY 97-98: Focusing on the point of transition: A service integration model. Funded by U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Postsecondary Model Demonstration Program, Washington, DC.
  • Sax, C.  (2003). Lessons from New York City's Pathfinders project: It's never too late to start doing good work.  In D. Fisher (Ed.), Inclusive urban schools: Lessons learned in big city schools (pp. 205-211). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.
  • Sax, C. L., & Noyes, D. A. (in press). Interagency collaboration. In F. R. Rusch (Ed.), Beyond high school: Preparing youth for employment (2nd ed.). New York: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.


Order From Exceptional Family Resource Center, San Diego:

Start Smart (newspaper-format): Provides information and resources for students, ages 14-18, and their families on how to plan and prepare for adult life while in high school.

Plan Smart (newspaper-format): Provides information and resources for students, ages 18-22, and their families on accessing adult services for quality adult lives.

College Success (newspaper format): Provides information and resources on continuing education beyond the K-12 system; including Community college, 4 year university, adult education, vocational/technical training, and more. Information on supported living services are also included.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Caren Sax

Dr. David Noyes




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