When you work, you build your skills and become more independent.
A job can help you live on your own and buy the things you want. A job also lets you give back to the community. You might need help to find a job or learn how to do the job — and that's OK. There are many ways to help you be successful at work.
If you wonder what type of work you should do, think about the things you enjoy and the things you're good at — and how you might use those interests and skills in a job. You can find a job doing something that matters to you. If you're unsure, you can get help exploring different jobs and finding a job.
You might need to take classes, enroll in a training program or job shadow with someone doing a job that interests you. You'll also need to learn how to be clear about what you want, what you need, what you understand — and what you don't understand.
Your benefits might change when you work. Still, with planning, when you work you'll make more money than you would if you were on benefits alone.
As you begin to plan your path to employment and build your skills, consider using this employment resource guide for students with disabilities to help you along the way.
Read Kylie's story for inspiration or to jump start your own conversations about work.
Kylie is in a high school transition program. Kylie and her work coordinator had a person-centered, informed choice conversation about work.
While talking to Kylie, the school work coordinator discovered Kylie loved going to her local salon and thought she might like to work there. Knowing Kylie was moving toward employment, the work coordinator invited a Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) counselor to Kylie’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting. A week later, Kylie applied for VRS services. The work coordinator contacted the salon to inquire about job possibilities.
With school support, Kylie interviewed at the salon and was hired for 10 hours per weekend. School support is not available over the weekend, so VRS authorized seven hours of job coaching to support Kylie as she started her job. Kylie was able to work with natural supports when the seven hours of job coaching ended.
If Kylie had needed ongoing support once stabilized in her position, job coaching through supported employment services would have been authorized through her DD Waiver.
Parents, families, teachers, coaches and other adults have a big impact on your path in life. Their expectations and attitudes can help you move toward your work goals. Here are some things that can make a positive difference.
From exploring interests and career options to gaining work skills and experience, many schools offer resources and services to help.
For example, Pre-employment Transition Services (PDF) can help you:
If you have an Individual Education Plan (IEP), tell your IEP case manager that you want to work. You might also be able to get help through Vocational Rehabilitation Services, WIOA youth services and waiver services.