For High School Transition Staff
Each fall, our vocational rehabilitation counselors contact appropriate school staff to establish a calendar for visiting schools and meeting with students. They work out a mutually acceptable plan for communicating with staff and students.
Referring Students for Services
A high school student with a disability that affects his or her ability to plan and prepare for work should have the opportunity to learn about vocational rehabilitation services.
The best time for a referral is usually about two years before high school graduation, typically near the beginning of the junior year. If a student with a disability is planning to leave school before graduation -- or has dropped out -- an immediate referral to the high school's VRS counselor makes good sense.
Individual schools may have differing procedures for making referrals for vocational rehabilitation services. Be sure and follow your school's procedures. School staff and the school's assigned VRS counselor work together with a student to create a plan for future success.
It is not necessary for you to know whether a student is eligible before you make a referral for services. Once you make the referral, we'll make the assessments.
Eligibility and Documentation
In order to qualify for vocational rehabilitation services, students must meet the following basic eligibility criteria. There must be:
- Documentation of a physical or mental condition that causes a substantial impediment to employment
- Evidence that the individual requires services in order to prepare for, obtain and retain employment
- The presumption that the individual is able to benefit from services
Documentation of a disability is usually obtained from the student's school assessment or from a psychological report or from a medical provider's statements or records. If the student is not able to provide this documentation, the VR counselor will obtain it with written consent.
If a disability is suspected but not documented, school staff may still want to refer students for services. In cases where the student does not have an IEP/IIIP/504 plan or has not been diagnosed with a qualifying condition, school staff should consult with the VRS counselor assigned to their school. VRS may provide diagnostic services to determine eligibility, at no cost to the student's family or the school.
Cost of Services
There is no charge for determining a student's eligibility, for counseling, job placement, and most other vocational rehabilitation services. There is a sliding fee, based on family income, for some purchased services.
Paying for Services While a Student is Still in High School
The student's needs and the terms of the IEP/IIP/504 plan and VRS employment plan should drive service decisions. Minnesota's secondary schools are required to provide a student's transition services while the student remains in school.
Typically, our vocational rehabilitation unit does not fund services until the student graduates or leaves school. However, in some cases it may be appropriate to provide a vocational rehabilitation service before graduation. Sharing of such costs can be discussed.
Collaborating Effectively with Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Because ongoing communication between school staff and VRS is an important for student success, VRS should be invited to all student IEP and IIIP meetings. The earlier that VRS is notified of a meeting, the greater the likelihood they will be able to attend..
Data Practices Policies
VRS can receive names of students that a school would like to refer for a VRS orientation as well as perform orientation sessions with students without written consent.
VRS must have a copy of written consent from a student (and parent or guardian where appropriate) in order to speak with school staff about a student's personal information, including obtaining and releasing information in an IEP meeting.
VRS must have a signed Tennessen Notice from a student (and parent or guardian where appropriate) to obtain personal information from them.
For More Information
Contact Alyssa Klein at 651.259.7359 or Alyssa.Klein@state.mn.us.