Because this is a collaborative process of coordinating employment services among multiple agencies, it is necessary to obtain a release of information from each student so students, parents and/or guardians can give permission for information to be shared and discussed within the partnering agencies that make up the transition team. Work with the team to develop a release of information that covers all partnering agencies. You can find an example of a release of information on our Padlet © page.
”Working as a collaborative transition team has encouraged us to establish the expectation that students can work and share the mindset with all team members (Job Coaches, Employment Service Providers, etc.) of our goal that ‘employment is the first and preferred outcome’ for our students and that we need to ‘expect, encourage, provide, create and reward integrated employment.'Provo
A Collaborative Process
Keeping the Team Organized
In addition to the responsibilities of the team lead it is helpful to designate responsibilities among team members that will keep the team organized and functioning smoothly. Some responsibilities that can be delegated include:
Calendar invitations/reminders for monthly team meetings
Maintaining a team contact list (this is especially important to update when new team members join)
Taking and sharing meeting notes
Updating used data sharing systems
Updating student and family contact information
Communication Is Key:
How do teams share data and information?
As teams meet together monthly, it is anticipated that each team member will share the information they know about the students whose supports are being coordinated for. This includes sharing documentation from CRPs, including the Work Strategy Assessments and Discovery Staging Records, and Positive Personal Profiles from the educator (see more about these documents in the HOW section). Sharing information with other agencies may be a new practice for some team members, but the more information can be shared, the better coordination can take place for students.
It’s important for the team to establish effective communication among team members and to develop a system to stay in communication with participating students and their families. Implementing a data- sharing information system is a helpful way to stay in communication with partnering agencies, students, and families. Additionally, a data-sharing information system can be used to track the progress of each student and ensure that students are getting connected to each of the partnering agencies and services. This can be done through several ways including a shared Google file, or a student tracking form. To find an example of a student tracking form, please visit our Padlet© page.
Holding Monthly Team Meetings
The practice of meeting together, in-person if possible, with all members of a School to Work transition team becomes invaluable as partnering agencies learn to work together to coordinate services, strategize, share ideas and support in an effort to help each individual student through Discovery, work based learning experiences, paid internship opportunities and Job Development. Ensure to develop timelines and think about holding a parent/student orientation night. Tips for running a team meeting and a sample agenda can be found here. An example of a timeline can be found in the next section.
Become familiar with the policies, services, and resources each agency provides
Is everyone clear about what/where/when/for whom employment services are provided? Are we setting goals that build on the strengths of services and gaps in delivery? Does everyone have a clear role towards supporting employment services for youth with complex needs?
Getting to Know Your Team
One of the key factors for a successful transition team is the building of strong relationships between that partnering agencies on the team. In addition to knowing agency services and policy, learn who supervisors and agency leadership are. This will also be helpful should there be changes or turnover of local team members.
Barriers to moving forward will arise at both a systems-level and an individual-level. These barriers will vary student-to-student and how you solve the problem may also vary. It is important to remember to work as a team in these situations, as many team-members may have different information or perspectives on each of these problems.
Systems-level barriers are those that are brought on by the agencies involved in supporting a student. It is important to reflect on what each team-member is capable of doing within their agency as well as who they know and how these capabilities and connections can help problem-solve. One example of a systems-level barrier teams were facing was the Department of Workforce Services policy that required all individuals seeking services to complete a Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) test. This assessment test held no bearing on what services could be provided but was required for anyone seeking services. Because this assessment was a significant barrier to students with developmental disabilities who were looking to access WIOA Youth services, a statewide change in policy removed the TABE test requirement. Other local systems-level problem solving may include the implementation of a parent information night to provide information to families about the different employment services available to their students and the roles of each partnering agency.
Many of the barriers your team will face will be at the individual-level. These barriers are student-specific and will mostly likely involve working with the families to problem-solve. Individual-level barriers may include delays in the eligibility process, challenges to citizenship, a lack of connections and relationships the student has outside of the school, communication or language barriers, issues with transportation, changes within the home, and many more. These barriers can be addressed through collaborating with the various members in your team to address the issue at hand. Try to problem-solve around these barriers during your team meetings or meetings that are dedicated to the individual student which could also include outside members such as families or case managers.
Example: A mother of a student will not allow them to work outside of a specific area near their home. This caused issues in finding competitive integrated employment that was meaningful to the student. In order to find out the root cause of the mother not feeling comfortable in allowing the student to expand their opportunities outside of a certain area, the team, including the educator, the VR counselor, the CRP (employment specialist), the Support Coordinator, the student, and the mother, came together to discuss why the area needed to be expanded and address the mother’s concerns. In the end, the team came to an agreement to expand the area just enough to allow for ample employment opportunities while keeping the mother comfortable. When the mother was able to see all of the people who were supporting the student in their employment process, it helped her feel more comfortable and develop stronger buy-in in the efforts the team was making for the student.