Career Planning & Portfolios for Students with Disabilities

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I don’t know about your state, but in Ohio we have had several mandates come down from the Ohio Department of Education. One of the mandates that came down late last year was that ALL students are supposed to complete career exploration in every grade.

All students are supposed to be career ready by the time they finish high school. This was a big challenge for us. How do you get your lowest students career ready?
Well working with all my teachers we devised a plan.

Students in Kindergarten through second grade get to explore careers by inviting different people to visit the class. Before the visit, we plan questions to ask each career participant. We work to practice asking the questions, or use switches with the questions programmed in.
In grades 3-5, we continue to learn about careers by having guests come to visit and also by taking field trips to learn about work places.
In grades 6-8, students explore even more. Students can complete work place field trips, service learning opportunities, mentorships, research, interviews with workers, course planning, financial literacy building, and online work.
In 9-12th grade students take a more active role. We work to plan activities like college planning, a part time job, practicing interviewing skills, guided job training, online work, and more. Additionally, students work to complete an in-depth outline answering questions about their target jobs.
We also work to narrow down student interests by using “Ohio Means Jobs”. Through their “backpack” feature students can take interests inventories, investigate their job interests, and work to get a more realistic picture of what the job may look like for them.

Starting at age 16, students are allowed to complete several work experiences with job coaches. We use student interests to match them up in a job that they are interested in. Students are allowed to work at, at least 2 different job sites per grading period. At the end of the grading period, students are encouraged to pick 2 other jobs for them to try out. Towards the end of their first year, we re-evaluate. What jobs did they like? What did they not like? What parts of the job were their favorite? Least favorite?

We work with each student to build a resume of experiences. We teach students how to search for job openings and apply for the jobs. We also work on interview skills too! We video tape our students completing on the job tasks. We build a portfolio of tangible and video examples that show exactly what our students can do! We also add a QR code to each resume for our students. When they go to a job interview they use their resume with it's QR code to show a video of them working. They say pictures speak a thousand words, so we bank on the fact that video is going to show way more of what our students are capable of! 

Of course, our end goal being, that we are able to help students find and obtain a job, or determine the after school training need to help them obtain a job they want.
We use several different websites and resources to help students discover their career paths. Additionally, I created recording sheets to help students keep track of their preferences. This is a link to check them out here. 

Here are some books I like to use to teach a few life skills: 
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Here are some of the websites we use:  

Ohio Means Jobs 

Drive of Your Life 

Preparing students for a career after school is a hard task. The more stakeholders are involved in the planning the better off the student will often be. Of course, the students interests play an important role, but parents/ guardians, County board coordinators, job trainers, and any other resources that the student will or does qualify for will help garner long term support and ultimately success for that student.  

What things do you do to help your students with disabilities ready themselves for careers after graduation? 

1 comment:

  1. Most states are pushing these changes. In KY, it is called College and Career Readiness or CCR. Schools are being held accountable for students being CCR ready. I have the list of progressions we are doing in KY, if anyone is interested. They are very helpful.
    I have also created a career readiness curriculum for high school students with moderate disabilities. I'm attaching the link yo this comment. There is also a video on the link for additional information.

    Erica Price


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