Wednesday, August 12, 2015

New state program expands services to students with disabilities

(From the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)

A new statewide program will expand services to Missouri students with disabilities beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

The Pre-Employment Transition Services (PETS) program will offer work-related supports to public school students in Missouri who are not yet eligible for similar services through Vocational Rehabilitation. The program was made possible through legislative changes to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA).

“The Pre-Employment Transition Services program will provide more resources that can improve post-high school outcomes for thousands of young Missourians with disabilities,” said Jeanne Loyd, assistant commissioner for the office of Adult Learning and Rehabilitation Services.

PETS will focus on providing hands-on supports by working directly with students, families and schools. These services include job shadowing, mock interviews and counseling designed to help create a smooth transition into the workforce. Twenty-one PETS specialists from around the state have been selected and trained to help with the program, which will offer services in five areas:

· Job exploration

· Work-based learning

· Counseling for post-secondary education

· Workplace readiness

· Self-advocacy and peer mentoring

“Our job is to help students with disabilities make connections with various services,” said PETS Project Director Robert Simpson. “We are working with these students in a hands-on fashion, getting them connected with the right services.”

PETS is a collaborative partnership between several organizations around the state including the University of Missouri and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

“The program has great potential and can make a positive difference in the lives of many young people,” said Bert Schulte, coordinator of field services for Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation.

For more information regarding PETS, please contact the University of Missouri’s Hook Center for Educational Renewal at 573-882-0859, or

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