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Prepare Students With Disabilities for Life After High School

For students with disabilities, life after high school can be a challenging experience, whether they’re looking to find a job, receiving specialized training or participating in other educational opportunities. To help them adjust smoothly to this next stage of life, a state program called Transition School to Work (TSW), part of the state’s Vocational Rehabilitation program provides eligible young people with a wide range of resources and services.

Transition Planning

As part of the TSW program, students and their parents team up with a school counselor and a vocational rehabilitation counselor to go through a transition planning process. This helps everyone better understand the students’ disabilities and lets students and their families participate in the choices that determine their next steps after high school. Transition planning covers everything from academic and nonacademic coursework to work and training opportunities, as well as decisions about where to live and what to do for fun and socialization.

In conjunction with their local education system, students between the ages of 14 and 16 undergo career exploration sessions and set long-term life goals, creating an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). Between the ages of 16 and 18, students focus on job training and placement, as well as other vocational rehabilitation services.

Transition Services

TSW provides students with disabilities with the following services:

  • Guidance and counseling: The applicant and a vocational rehabilitation counselor develop an IPE.
  • Vocational assessment
  • Career exploration
  • Assistive technology evaluation: The vocational rehabilitation counselor determines which technologies or tools, such as a computer with braille-reading capabilities, can be used to help an individual with a disability in a training or employment setting.
  • Postsecondary training: The student receives readiness skills training, whether on the job, at a Tennessee rehabilitation center, or at the vocational/technical or college/university level.
  • Job readiness training
  • Job search
  • Job placement and follow-up

How to Apply

A student with a disability may apply for TSW services directly or may be referred by another individual such as a parent, guardian, high school teacher, guidance counselor or an agency by contacting the vocational rehabilitation counselor associated with the student’s school.

Who Is Eligible?

Find out if a student is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.

Find a Location Near You

Call the state Vocational Rehabilitation Services office at 615-313-4891 for additional assistance.

Contact a Vocational Rehabilitation regional office near you.

  • Johnson City 423-434-6934
  • Knoxville 865-594-6060
  • Chattanooga 423-634-6700
  • Cookeville 931-526-9783
  • Nashville 615-741-1606
  • Columbia 931-380-2563
  • Jackson 731-423-5620
  • Clarksville 731-648-5560
  • Memphis 901-528-5284

Get Started

Find more information about developing a transition plan here.

Additional Information

For more details about TSW and the Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation program, visit their website here.