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WORKFORCE TRAINING: School to Work

Developing Community-Based Training Sites

Vocational training must reflect a community's local economy in order to prepare students with severe disabilities for paid jobs by the time of graduation. Training in the community allows students an opportunity to sample real jobs, determine work preferences, and develop a resume or work history. It also provides the teacher or job coach with information about the ideal job characteristics each students needs for successful employment.

Steps In Developing Community-Based Training Sites Include:

If vocational training experiences do not reflect future job possibilities, the students may have difficulty with their transition from school to work. Thus, each school system's vocational curriculum should be based on the local labor market within the community in which the students reside. The local labor market should be continually assessed to: Determine the major employers in the community, the types of employment most commonly available, and the type of employment that has been obtained by individuals with disabilities.

School systems must also carefully analyze the types of training experiences selected. The following steps should assist in the development of community-based training sites. Conduct a job market analysis; generate a list of local businesses and categorizing them by job types (e.g. clerical, food service, janitorial, industrial, etc.)

Identify businesses with the targeted jobs; After a general job market analysis has been completed, contact specific employers regarding the use of their businesses for vocational training.

Select and analyze appropriate jobs for community-based training; Activities during this phase of setting up a community-based training site include observing the coworkers performing the job duties available, selecting tasks that are appropriate to the students who will be receiving training, and actually working the selected job duties.

Schedule community-based vocational instruction; A rule of thumb to follow for scheduling purposes is no more than 4 students per training site per instructor, however fewer would be more effective for skill development.

Design individualized instructional programs. Included in the design should be a) specific training objectives, b) individualized task analyses, c) data collection guidelines, d) instructional strategies, e) reinforcement procedures, and f) program modifications.

Work experiences on the school grounds should be for younger students under 14, when community-based training is not an option. As students near graduation, time in real job settings should increase until the majority of the school day is spent in the community