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A Guide to Increasing Independence on a Job Site

by Center on Transition Innovations

Available formats:    PDF

 Work-based learning experiences can help a student identify career interests, make contacts in the community, develop job skills relevant to future employment and increase independence in a work environment.

Follow the steps below for increasing student independence in a work setting:

1. Communicate employment

Help all students to believe they can achieve and become thriving, independent workers through the development of self-determination skills.

2. Discover student capabilities

Collect data on the strengths, interests, learning style, support needs and employment goals prior to beginning a work experience.

3. Match student to the job site

Assess and analyze the workplace environment to determine if the job tasks and the environment meet the interests and strengths of the student.

4. Identify natural supports and cues

Pinpoint the natural cues and supports in the work environment that can assist the student in becoming independent.

5. Develop a task analysis

Break the student’s work routine and tasks into smaller, more manageable steps to match individual needs.

6. Provide systematic training and instruction

Maintain high expectations for completing each task, and provide job site instruction to match the student’s learning style.

7. Prompt, reinforce and fade

Use least-to-most prompting when teaching a new skill, reinforce the desired behavior and gradually begin fading the prompts when the student shows mastery of skill.

8. Evaluate progress

Observe, gather data and supervisor feedback, and measure progress based on the standards of the business.

9. Teach to self-assess

Allow opportunities for students to self-assess, set goals and analyze progress.


The content was developed under a contract (881-APE62524-H027A170107) from the Virginia Department of Education.