Helping students leave school with a job
School-to-Work takes a team approach. You work with a job coach, your school, your parents, the Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and others to help you find a job before you leave school.
School-to-Work also gives you and your family information on other services and how to plan for your future.
For more information, check out the School-to-Work Video Series
- You must want to work
- You must get connected with the following agencies:
- WA State Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA)
- WA State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)
- Any school district in King County or a partnering County
- You need to apply for Social Security benefits
- You must be turning 21 years of age in your last year of school:
Transition Exit Year
9-1-96 through 8-31-1997
9-1-97 through 8-31-1998
9-1-98 through 8-31-1999
|2021||9-1-99 through 8-31-2000|
|2022||9-1-00 through 8-31-2001|
When To Apply
You should apply no later than Spring before your Transition Exit Year of school.
How to Apply
To apply, choose one:
1. Ask your teacher for help; or
2. Apply at an annual Transition Resource Fair. King County hosts two Fairs in March; or
3. Read the information below. Complete the application. Hand the application to your teacher or mail it to King County:
Attend a Transition Resource Fair
- King County hosts two Fairs in March.
- At the fair, you can:
- Meet with job support agencies.
- Learn about community resources.
- Attend workshops.
- Talk with other students and families.
Choose a Job Support Agency
- A job support agency will help you find a job.
- With some schools, you choose your job support agency. With others, the school has pre-selected the agency. Ask your teacher if the school already pre-selected a job support agency, or if you need to choose one.
- If you are choosing your agency:
- Interview at least three agencies
- Choose one no later than June before your last year of school
Apply to DVR
Apply to DVR as soon as possible and before starting services with your School-to-Work provider.
To apply, choose one:
- If you need help locating your local DVR office call 1-800-622-1375; or
- Call the DVR office nearest you:
- Bellevue: 425-590-3115
- Kent: 253-372-5900
- Seatac: 206-444-3800
- Seattle: 206-273-7100
- North Seattle: 206-440-2230
- You will meet with your team regularly to build good communication and understand each other's responsibilities. Your team might include:
- Your parent(s)/guardian(s)
- Employment specialist
- DVR counselor
- Other people you wish to include.
- You will work closely with an employment specialist. An employment specialist will help you learn about places where you would like to work, jobs you are interested in, your hobbies and interests, things you dislike or prefer not to do, skills you feel are your strongest, and areas you feel you need some help.
- Your employment specialist will work with you to complete a Community Based Assessment. This is simply a way for your employment specialist to learn about how to help you find the job right for you, and assist you in developing a clear job goal.
- You will prepare for getting that job by preparing a resume, making sure you know what to wear for your interview, practicing your interviewing skills, and even helping you practice taking the bus to and from work.
- Your employment specialist will be working hard to market your skills to different employers, will set up interview opportunities for you, and provide you with the interview support you need.
- Your employment specialist will provide you and your team with monthly reports which provide information about the progress you are making towards achieving your job goal
Stay in school, even if you start working
Sometimes students lose their first jobs. If you stay in school, you will have a safety net of services through school while looking for another job. If you leave school early, you may not be able to return.
Many students and families are confused about how wages will affect their Social Security and Medicaid benefits. Benefits planning services can help you understand how to report wages to Social Security. These services can also help you understand how to manage your benefits. Meet with a benefits planner within a month of starting to work to understand the rules and your responsibilities.
The ARC of King County has a Frequently Asked Questions information sheet on Employment and Your Benefits.
Plan to Work offers benefit coordinating support free of charge.
Ongoing job support
Job support agencies will help you become as independent as possible on the job. Still, you may need ongoing job support when changes occur. For example, ongoing support can help you learn new work duties, or to deal with a change in your work schedule.
Employment as a goal
The goal of S2W is for students to leave school with a job. Despite the best efforts of the team, some students do not find jobs. Even if you are not employed at the end of school, you will have taken important first steps toward employment, including connecting with adult agencies and services. Most students continue seeking employment with their provider.
Once school ends, funding for ongoing support is not guaranteed. However, students who are working are well positioned to receive funding for ongoing support.
It is important that you and your family learn about the funding options for ongoing support. Talk with your Developmental Disabilities Administration case manager and S2W staff for more information.
Job Support Agency
Many people continue to work with their job support agency after S2W. Some people choose to work with a different provider agency If you wish to make a change, talk to your DDA Case Resource Manager and S2W staff for more information.
King County Developmental Disabilities Transition Initiative, External Evaluation Reports. Prepared by David Michael Mank, Ph.D., Indiana University.
The School-to-Work Project Evaluation. Prepared by Karl Tegenfeldt, MSW Intern and Program Manager, King County Developmental Disabilities Division.