Group Title: Harambee
Title: Harambee. 2003.
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 Material Information
Title: Harambee. 2003.
Series Title: Harambee
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: University of the Virgin Islands.
Affiliation: University of the Virgin Islands -- Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
Publisher: University of the Virgin Islands.
Publication Date: 2003
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States Virgin Islands
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300580
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Message from the President

Thle role of the university is to assist its students with obtaining the .WAil/v needed to
ti ion eit'fcuiclh- in their personal and vocational lifestyles. The students of the )rin C.
Islands require a planned and smooth transition to enable their greater poitetial. This is
no less true for our fellow Virgin Islanders with developmental challenges.
The Spring, 20td. issue of our magazine. Harambee, brings together the different
groups in our tlivertrt' island communities that assist our citizens with developmental dis-
labilities in the transition process from school to post school activities, including post-
secondary e hicaioni, adult services, independent living and community participation.
The University of the 1irgini Islands is proud of Harambee. This issue hlghligihts the mania service
providers who assist to provide the necessary inlioruaiion and services for smooth transition to IUin the\.
friends and nuichhol'. of people wit h developmental disabilities. I hope ec cr-onYt' who comes across thi'. p!,l/li-
cation will take some time to enjoy reading it.

LaVerne E. Ra ie..wi: Ph.D.

Message from the Provost

This S'th edition of Harambee surveys the effioi of the VTirin Islands community
to help our fellow citizens transition to pro]' i iir;ity independence and inclusion. Gone
are the days when people with disabilities accepted limited expectations. People with dif-
fering abilities today rightly expect to lead fill. productive and independent lives in their
communities. The University of the Virgin Islands encoiiura-ige the development of our
communities by assisting those with challenges to play their important roles in making 3
our society more productive, inclusive and compassionate.
I thank the many aiuhlor who have made this issue a reality. I am sure everyone I
. ill find this issue to be ci'liltenini, and enjoyable reading.

Gwdn-Marie Moolenaar Ph.D.

_ _.......~11_1111~

Message from the Executive Director
The I 1 gin Islands University Center for Excellence in Developmental
Disabilities (IL' CEDD) chose to f iL ;u on transition services in this issue of
Harambee. By definition, transition services are a coordinated set of activities
and outcomes based upon needs, preferences and interests students to
promote efcltcive movement from school to post-school ac rivitic
This issue is written to reach young T irin Islanders with disabilities to
assure them that there are opportunities that include: vocational trailing. on the job training. subsidized or
unsubsidized work experience and infin mutio; about appropriate accommodations available to them. It is
also intended to reach potential cmpin, very and remind ihern that there are people with disabilities who are job
ready and eager to learn. Ultimately, this 8th issue of Harambee is written to reach the I rgin Islands
community in general and enlighten them to the abilities of irgi n Islanders with challenges to contribute to
society trloiqgh their productivity, independence and inclusion. Taxpayers rather than tax consumers.
It is my hope that all who read Harambee will become advocates for our brotheli and sisters with
developmental disabilities.

K'gin Habtes, Ph.D.

Change ...............2
r' NTransition Services: ......4
Editor's Nofes Preparing Your Child for
Life After High School
Pulling together resources to help students with disabilities transition transition Services ....5
from school to work and community involvement, we present Volume Eight of
Harambee. Teamwork and coordinatiu are the keys to success in assisting Vocational Rehabilitation .
our fellow citizens with c hallenge. to be productive, independent members of ransition Planning
our vibrant and diverse socicf.' The Harvest .......... 8
We think the many cLnnrihtiors who broiigh their Quality Work Experiences 9
specialties to this issue's JliRcu irin of transition. By Transitioning from ......I I
cooperation and coordination, the participants involved in the School to Life
transition process do great work in helping the Ib inll Islands Interviw with........12
Interview with . .12
build a more productive, inclusive and compassionate Anderson Romain
eom School to Work/Career .13
Starting at the age of fourteen, yoi.un, citizens are 4- S l to Wr
brought into the collaborative raining process for work and ?
social inclusion. ITIh qppropniate student input, the i Projects with Industry.. .15
Departments of Education and Human Services proivki What is Collaboration ... 16
opportunities for positive connections with indIi pe'Ic i lt living resources, job
training and supported work activities. As students age, thty participate in
ino ing, toward adult responsibilities in our communities. Mark Vinzant, Editor
Today, community leaders and employers recognize the positive
contributions people with developmental disabilities can make. This is a great Layout & Printing
change from the past of limited expectations. Expectations for people with Island Images
I hll/ N today push the envelope of possibilities. We can all do our share to
help make our islands a place of opportunities for all our citizens.

Mark Vinzan, Editor




By lark 1in iu 1a

Trantition is change. Change tromn one
place or status to another. We do this change all
the llie. er\er\ da\ throughout our lires. A,
much as us human beings want to be
comfortable with things staying rea-tsuringl. the
same, change is constantly inevitable. We can't
avoid change.
Realizing that change rules life, we can
prepare for change in our lives by _tudl ing the
ways our thoughts and actions can help with the
acceptance and smooth flo\\ of life's
movements. We move from infantile comforts
to eagerly embrace new things that represent
growth and success. Sometimes change is
anxious, frightening and requires us to put great
effort into our perceptions of how to manage
and accommodate life's flow. It seems that
change is greatly affected by how we take the
changes we must make. What are our
perceptions? How will our personalities adapt?
What attitudes help us cope? W\liat hinders us?
Information acquisition and forward
thinking are good attitudes for the acceptance
of change for positive results. This is why the
U.S, Congires, has passed laws and the Federal
Government has issued regulations mandating
transition services for students with disahblities
All students transition from school to post
secondary activities. Why are transition services
mandated for students with disabilities? Hard
data prove that students with disabilities drop
out of school in greater numbers and have more
difficulty finding and keeping jobs.
UncnImplo ed; people with disabilities must rely
on government supports to live. Eniplo\ ed;
people with disabilities support theinselees and
contribute to the tax base. That people with
disabilities interact and contribute to our society
when employed is a big factor in building a
positive, inclusive and compassionate culture.

Since most of us ha% e personal stories
about our o n life transitions. %\e bring an
understanding of some of the challenges faced
by others. With this understanding, a measure
of compassionate attitude and the cooper ati\e
structure of the transition process, students x ith
disabilities can polish their abilities to be
successful\ employed contributors to our
dynamic culture.
Starting at the age of fourteen, students
with disabilities are brought into the process of
learning about enplohI ment, expectations and
responsibilities. Empowerment skills are
introduced and student self- examination is
encouraged to foster competent judgments and
decisions. The examination of choices is
encouraged, goals are collaboratively set with
student input and steps along the path to goals
are identified and reinforced by a team of
cheerleading collaborators focused on
successful transition.
When the legal age of employment is
reached at sixteen, a student with disabilities
should be in serious preparation for their future
transition from school to appropriate post
school activities in line with their potentials.
Appropriate courses of study are identified both
\ within the school system as well as
opportunities in the community. Skills and
behaviors are identified and cultivated to ensure
positive results when graduation finally arrives.
This is the time for reaching out for services
our community provides to help people with
disabilities join the adult world of work. Only
through collaboration. coordinalltn and
cooperation w\ ith public and private comnmunirt
resources can a student .succes-tuillh nmoe fiom
school to :idult act'. ties in the coinmIinn\.
With the coordinated in' estinient of all
collaborators. inos, iniportantli the student.

graduation will bring an adult ready to
take their rightful place in the dynamics
of our society. Looking at abilities;
skills are developed, atit.tides and
behaviors are cultivated and
expectations are elevated and
celebrated. What types of thiings should
be considered by educators, counselors,
mentors and eniplo ei s? The
discussions that follow detail the
players in the transition process, their
mandates and the very important needs
for positive attitudes and most
importantly, the critical need to work
together for successful outcomes.
Transition for students x ith
disabilities requires us to start working
early, in a coordinated way, to
cooperatively collaborate for change. It
succeeds when we work together.

I el us unile in a revolution to

eliminate prlim/nihl practices and

stereolypes. and to esblihV a culture

tha focuses the full force of science

and democracy on the systematic

empowerment of coCery personn Io lioe

his or her jodgioen potential Yto

soldier has coer died in a taller cause.

Justin Dart., Jr., 1930-2002
from Statement of Conscience, 1998


The National

Information Center

for Children and

Youth with

specialI eduaton rlatd ervce










Transition Services: Preparing Your Child

for Life After High School
By Zulma Turner


As your child with a disability grows
older, your anxieties also grow. \\ hat is to
become of my child? What will happen when I
can no longer be there for him? How will he
live? Where will he go? These are familiar
questions parents of children with dl ab l r1es
" .' ask themselves all the time. Stress and anxiety
can play havoc with your life if you do not plan
carefully for the future of your child. You have
an important role to play to ensure that your
S child with a disability as with all of your
children will have as independent and self
S sufficient a life as possible. It is important to
use the resources of the schools to help your
child. One resource that high schools must
provide under federal law is "transition
services." Transition services can be defined as
a school sponsored activity that is based upon
the students needs and interests and is designed
to prepare a student for the future. Under
federal law, secondary schools are required to
S provide such services for all students \ ith
As a result, all students in special
education beginningii at age fourteen should
have plans in place to help them achieve their
li'Ielung plans. These plans should be
implemented no later than the age of sixteen.
Ti anritioniitg your child is not only an
academic activity; it also begins in his or her
community. The student must be directly
involved in choosing these activities. These
S activities include: postsecondary education,
vocational Iraininrw, integrated employ inent
(incmludiii g supported employment), continuing
and adult education, adult services, independent
living and community partii cipalion. For some
students, transitional services could be
S incorporated into their current high school
o classes. Otlier, can attend specific nroeTriml to
prepare for their lives al-tlc high school.



Some e\anmples or' transition ,el ice
programs include:
Vocational Rehabiliration- This
program is designed to pro% ide e\ alu:tions.
training.. ob search assl tincel and on the iob
training for clients. Client decision can also
include continued education. The client Choice
Program is designed to pro\ idc financial
assistance for projects that demonstrate \' 's to
increase client choice in the \realtionall
rehabili ationi process. Including choice in the
selection of vocational ielhbihiation goa I:.
services and pi o iders
\work StudI Plogramis in the
Community: Youir cluld could receive e trairiinri
leading to employ meant and or ciedil i-t ald
graduation for thie tork experience
Regular Vocational E diiuction
Course, or Proigraiis: These are created 1t
prepare sitldents tor jobs in arens such a,;
cosmetology food ei \ ice. electronic,.
carpentry or other areas.
Special \ocational
Program: These proglamns ire deslincd
specifically tlr students .i ith disabilities and
include .ocationa:l naming and social skills
C(ommulnitii Based lnSltrction: Thil
program is otten called cuopernitie \ocanonal
education Stludcnts recei e iitrIl'cion and
;upei\ ision Fronll chool -taf1 on1 tl eir iibk iII
the commniiiiiiii
(C'ellii s for Independent i Li ilng
(CILS i. If \ our child needs to de elop skills in
the areas otf self help. selt ad\ocac\ and
indeccndeile. lie orl <0ic ma\ be able to attend A
CIL p-ograin a, ti'te sc liool tdi\ t ir i
addition t their school iclx n itles
The most iinportant' peison in an\
child's life is \tou. the pareilt. A sLuch it is V er,
importaunt t e\pfoi e all the opporltiitieL s tile
school and LommunInA ha t'0 ottel r ocetllel

Zulma (i N, 'H, ," ni.n ..1 ,i I\'/l I i.'1
Island;' ti .A. t io..

Transition Services
By Cvril Levine

At the s.'ccndali. school level,
"transition" is the buzz word hlrou hoiuti the
United States and its Territories when referring
to students with disabilities. Tian',ition simply
means movement. It also means entry or exit
from one place or status to another. With regard
to students, transition means entering school,
moving from grade to grade and then exiting
school into the adult world. When we refer to
transition at the secondary level, we ,ilnpl1
mean movement fi om school to the adult
world whether it be work, college, vocational
training or adult living situations.
How do secondary schools prepare
students with disabilities for movement
(Transition ) from school into the adult world?
It is mandated by law that a formal transition
process begins tor all students by the age of
fourteen or younger, if appropriate. All student
must receive very specific transition services by
the age of sixteen or ounwLger, if appropriate.

\ are transition services? According
to Public Law 105-17, the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act ( IDEA '97 ),
transition services means a coordinated set of
activities for a student with a disability that is
designed with an outcome-oriented process, that
promotes movement from school to post
secondary activities, including post secondary
education, vocational training, integrated
employment (ilicludinrg supported
cmpl:v mcinti. continuing and adult education,
adult services, independent living or community
participation. It is based on the individual
students needs, taking into account the student's
preferences and interests and it includes
instruction, related services, community
experiences, the development or employment
and other post school adult li ing objectives
such as adult Ii ing and employment skills. If
appropriate, the acquisition of daily living skills
and functional vocational evaluation are
included as well. The law also includes linking
i gL't;. collaboration as part oritransition

services. This coordinated set of activities are
the components that make up a student's
transition plan. These components must
complement and relate to each oilier
The different adencics responsible for pro\ idinig
services must do the same, ensuring that the
services they provide to students are
coordinated and not duiiplicied.

Instruction includes:
cilplo\ ability skills training
vocational education
social skills training
college entrance exam preparation
preparation for taking protticieicy tests
placement in advanced classes
teacher developed accommodations,
curriculum ad:ipl:iti.on and
peer tutoring.

Rel.1ed services include:
psychological services
speech-language pauliology & .iudiuhlogN
physical & occupational services
recreation & therapeutic recreation
early identification & assessment of disabilities
c~'luns'elig services
mobility services
rehabilitation counseling & orientation
medical diagnostic & evaluation services
school health services
social work services
parent counseling & training

Community experiences include:
tours of post secondary education settings
residential & community tours
recreation & leisure killi
personal & social skills



Ir g~

Adult living & employment skills include:
guidance counseling
career planning
interest inventories
person centered planning
futures planning
el If determination training
job placement
job tryouts
independent living skills
community participation

Daily living skills involve:
daily self care
dressing & groomingi
household chores
shopping & managing finances
obtaining a driver's license
voter registration
Selective Service registration
using transportation
ca.'r; ing r identification
dialing eliergenlc numbers about

Functional vocational evaluation is an
assessment process providing information
about job or career interests, aptitudes and
skills that may be gathered through situational
assessments, observations or formal measures.
Assessments should be practical and may be
provided by schools or other entities.
Linking agency collaboration consists
of four basic ways in which people can interact
to establish or improve services and plan for
young adults preparing for transition from
school to the adult world. Collaboration
includes networking, coordination, cooperation
and sharing deciioill responsibilities and
Outcome-Oriented Process refers to the
results, or intended effect of the transition
activities on the student. Outcomes include
emiplo imlenl post secondary duclIcItioill
vocational training, continuing and adult
education, adult services, community
participation and independent living.
Appropriately addressing these post secondary
domains during the public school years,
Congress feels, will enhance a young adult's

chances to achieve an adequate level of self
care, independence, self sufficiency and
community integration. This is one of the most
critical intentions behind the IDEA's
requirements regarding transition services.
Virgin Islands students \\ ih disabilities are
participating in these described transition
services with success. Working with students
from the age of fourteen enhances their
motivation, job seeking skills and expectations
of success through empowerment. It is critical
that providers of transition services work
together to achieve successful community
inclusion and productivity.

Cyril Levine is the State Supervisor for
Vocational Special Education

According to IDEA Section 300.29:(a)
Transition services means a coordinated set
of activities for a student with a disability that
(1) is designated within an outcome
oriented process,that promotes movement
from school to post school activities,
including post-secondary education,
vocational training, integrated
employment(including supported
employment), continuing and adult
education, adult services, independent
living,or community participation:
(2) Is based on the individual student's
needs, taking into account the student's
preferences and interests; and
(3) Includes:
Related services
Community experiences
The development of
employment and other
post-school adult living
objectives: and
If appropriate, acquisition of
daily living skills and functional
vocational evaluation.
Transition services for students with
disabilities may be special education if
provided as specially designated instruction,
or related services, if required to assist a
student with a disability to benefit from
special education.

Vocational Rehabilitation in

Transition Planning

By B,.'. 1 y Plaskett

The role of the Vocational
Rehabilitation A,'encv in the transition process
is defined by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as
amended. It states that " on services"
means a coordinated set of activities for a
,itldent, designed within an outcome
oriented process that promotes movement from
school to post school activities, which
include post secondary cdiication. vocational
training, integrated employment (including
supported emplolimenii ), continuing and adult
education, adult :ci \ ice.s independent
living or community participation." This
process may be simple or complex because
the coordinated set of activities shall be based
upon the individual student's needs,
preferences, interests, strengths and availability
of services.
The key to successful transition
planning for students lies in the relationship
between the school, the vocational
rehabilitation (VR) agency and other
co.lidinatiLg ailencies. Each agency should
know the services and mandates of each other
so as not to assign services to an agency that
cannot be carried out and to avoid confusing
students and their parents.
Vocational Rehabilitation's service
planning should start, in most cases, before
tlie student leaves school and be closely
coordinated with education services from
the school. While it is tle right of each and
every American child to a free and appropriate
education and the school district has the
re11pon0'ibilit of pl ilhlg the services for
the student with a disability to become a
u1cces' learner, there is no absolute
entitlement to oilier adult services. Adult
services that a student may need after leaving

high school may be restricted by eligibilitI
criteria, long waiting lists and uncertain
funding. For this reas-on, Vocational
Rehabilitation involvement in transition
planning floinu the age of sixteen is encouraged.
The Vocational Rehabilitation Agency,
when present at LEP meetings or called
upon, should assist the special education
personnel, the student and his or her parents
* information, guidance and vocational
* assist in making informed choices based on
previous assessments, c\jperieices
and student :Ispil. iolns
* assist with advocating, e\plol inl- interests,
finding out preferences and ldenlltf iini
other resources and adult service agencies
that are a\ ailablie and what the\ have
to offer
* determining eligibility for vocational
rehabilitation services
when appropriate. Students,
The services what or how
available through their disabi
vocational rehabilitation are the mos
can play a critical role people in
in assisting students with transition. TI
disabilities to enter post planning
secondary education should be
environments as well as not FOR tt
the community oi kfoi cc
The agency is part of a
team; not the sole player in the transition

Ms. Beverly Plaskett is the Administrator of
the Division of Disabilities and Rchthi/iatitl

no matter
v significant
lity may be,
;t important
evolved in
he transition
lone WITH,
re student.

The Harvest
By Luz Walters

The Harvest is a supported work
program on St. Croix that commenced on
March 1, 21r01. It was born of the simple belief
that e\ err one has potential. Our credo is:
"Harvest your potential." Our name. The
Harvest, nima be new but we have an
accumulation of forty years of experience
o among our staff working with persons with
0 During the short time we have opened
o our doors to the community, we have had '.nirn
0 chliallenges and successes in placement and
S li.ininig. Our goal is to develop creative
techniques and support services to assist each
SindJ\ Idual to succeed at work. All of the
S individuals that are referred to The Harvest
from the Division of Disabilities and
S Relhbilitition Services, offices of Vocational
0 Rehlabilitti-on are referred for either supported
e employ' meriit or job placement services.
S Statistics indicate that there has been an
0 increase in the number of supported work
0 referrals. This is due to the fact that referrals of
% severely disabled persons have increased. We
S are achie% ing successful employment outcomes
S as defined by this program. Currently, there are
several employees who have maintained their
S jobs for over two years.
The Harvest also provides other work
related support services necessary for job
retention. Mlan of our participants also need
assistance in de\ eloping the skills and
confidence that will enable them to achieve
increasing levels of independence and improve
o> heir quality of life. We provide training and
S care for people with signiificlnt diaihl lCes who
are unable to manage N ilhoin this support. We
also employ some of our participants who are
S being evaluated and trained in the assembly of
S ball point pens. These employees work fnmi
one to tree days per week.
Based on an iindi' iduali expressed

needs and needs identified by our trained staff,
we provide training workshops to meet our
participants needs and find the best all around
solutions to their barriers to cmipll> meint
In the summer months of 2002, The
Harvest participated in a situational assessment
of special education students. Five students
were referred from the Division of Special
Education though the offices of vocational
rehabilitation. We located private businesses
that allowed us to place students in certain
areas of their businesses for three or four hours
a day. This project enabled students to be
evaluated in an integr,ied work setting. A
trainer was assigned to each student and results
of this assessment far exceeded our

Michael Evelyn at work

We are colnstlianili mkiny changes in
our program to meet the individual needs of
workers with disabilities. We continue to strive
to meet the demands of this highly chingeablc
job market. And we will continue to provide
ongoing quality support at einipll\menl sites
based on the worker's needs for intervention to
maintain employment.

Mrs. Luz Walters is an employment counselor
and owner o, Tis,. lh.or-.t

Quality Work Experiences
By Gwendolyn T Powell

Transition means moving smoothly from
secondary school to a post school activity; be it
post secondary education, vocational training_.
independent lii nlg. integrated emnplo\ mernt or
community participation. Transition services
focus on all students with disabilities aue.s
fourteen llrough twenty one served by the V.I.
Department ot' Education. Transition services
help to level the playing field for students with
disabilities in the workforce.
Nlan uoiing people work in the part
time labor lcee while in school. In today 's job
market, more and more learning is taking place
on the job. Our nation has moved from an
economy with many jobs for unskilled labor to
an econ.omii where most of the jobs require high
skill levels and the ability to compete. The
growing lack of job security, changing
tcilli:nlog%, and other changes in the economy
make it impeal ;ie that learning be an ongoing
lifetime activity.
Using the "person centered planning""
approach. Work-Able seeks to pro\ ide quality
work based experiences for students with
disabilities referred by Vocational
Rehabilitation. To help them compete in the job
market, work based experiences include career
exploration, mentoring, job assessment, job
sh.ld~ ing. job coaching, job placement and
foIllow along services designed specifically for
each individual.
Prior to delving into work based
experiences, a Job Finding Skills Workshop is
provided to those who need it. The workshop is
designed to ensure lhat the job seeker :
a. fully understands how to dress and act
properly on the job,
b. possesses an up to date resume',
c. practices inlci i\ in_ in, techniques and
d. learns how to search various resources for
poiitciijl iJ~lb 'pcniings- and makes
.ippointmnic, t for their own job interviews.
As an invited partiip.init in the
Individual lnpi '.n-iml Plan ploIcin;. Work-

Able seeks to ensure that students and
parents are aware of the supported
employment services available and
encouiiIge their full active participation in
their child's transition.
Career Exploration: This
cumminunity based activity, which is a part
of our job club, Interact, provides field
trips to businesses of interest to allow
students to see, first hand, the work that
goes on in the business. \ddilionll., guest
speaker-k from the community~ pioi\ ide
C workshops.
Mentoring: A mentor gives
students with disabilities an opportunity to
have a person who works in their field of
interest take a genuine interest in their
career development. The one to one advice
and support helps students gain a well
rounded understanding of the requirements
and skills needed to pei form the job
successfully. For the first time, last
October, our community celebrated
National Disability Mentoring Day
(NDMD ).Nearly forty students and
employers participated in the one day
event as part of National Disability
Employment Awareness Month
commemorated each October.
Job Assessment: In collaboration
with employers, job assessment gives the
student a chance to actually "try out" jobs
of interest. These assessments iurually last
several days and are sometimes paid
Job Shadowing: These experiences
give students the opportunity to observe
workers as ihey do their jobs. This
experience helps increase the student's
awareness of various career choices.
Supported Employment: Part time
paid employment in an integrated setting
while still in school and full time
permanent employment in post secondary
school fall into the category called

supported eniiploy ment ( SE ). Supported
employment entails all of the above services
plus job de\ elopnient. job placement, job
coaching and tollh6t along services.
Job Development: the employment
specialist works closely with a student to help
find the job that matches their skills, interests
and abilities. During this phase, families and
others are interviewed to help determine how
best to proceed with job searches.
Job Placement: When a job match is
found, the student is employed. If needed,
transportation training to and from the worksite
is provided.
Job Coaching: The job coach provides
on-the-job training, as apppropriac, for as long
as it is needed.
Follow along: After the employee
becomes proficient in pel orImingi the job,
natural supports are put into place to assist the
new employee to be more independent as a
worker. Natural supports are co-workers,
supervisors, parents and others who are positive
influences in the emplo ee's life.
It is very important to us at Work-Able
to collaborate and network with businesses ,
employers and agencies that can help us find
the "perfect" job for each person we serve.
Having developed ,ltioln relationships with
niiploy C'e over the years, we ask them for
leads, we tf lloI the leads, we visualize the
person at work and try to ensure that assistive
devices needed are available. We work all
angles to help job seekers find and keep quality
eiiplot nment in an integrated setting.
\ oi k- -ble, Inc. (WAI ) is the oldest
supported work agency in the territory with
offices on St.Croix and St. Thomas. Since 1989,
WAI has provided lie above described services
for hundreds of people with disabilities in the
V\'iT in Islands. W ork- Able also collaborates
\x il' other .i'icices that provide services to
adults with disabilities, promotes coninmunit\
education and awareness about issues affecting
persons with disabilities and is a strong
advocate fbi full compliance with the
Americans with Disabilities Act.
Work-Able is in direct partnership N\ ihd
the Department of Human Services, Division

of Disabilities and Rehabilitation Services,
usually referred to as Vocational Rehabilitation,
one of the pi iiiry collaborative partners of the
"Transitional Services Team."
All persons placed in employment by
Work-Able earn the wages and benefits
customary to their position. At no time, do we
accept a job for our job seekers that pays sub-
minimum \ ages' Work-Able focuses on
ABILITY, not disability, and we belie\ e that
hiring persons with disabilities is not a
charitable gesture; it is a prudent business

Gwendolyn T Powell is the executive director
of Work-Able, Inc.

At age 14 planning must start. The
student's postschool goals should
be developed and transition
service needs identified. The
needs may include a course of
study and a year by year plan to
achieve goals after graduation.
The IEP team must determine
what instruction and
educational experiences will help
the student prepare for transition
from high school to post school
By age 16, the needed transition
services must be implemented.
Services should include instruction
and related services, community
experiences, vocational evaluation,
employment and other activities
involved in adult living. A statement
of interagency responsibilities
should be included as well as
needed links to other agency
services. The IEP should be
updated at least annually.
The IEP team should also monitor
the student's high school program
to be sure the student completes
all graduation requirements that
are identified as appropriate in the
student's IEP.

Transitioning from School to Life
By Felecia Biwnl/,i\

For student with special needs, the
years spent in a school setting provide a level
of comfort and security for the student as well
as for parents and family members. As the time
for separation from high school draws near and
the options appear dim and inappropriate, tile
frustration of parents and students is felt by
entities such as the Center for Independent
Student opportunities are grea:ilt
enhanced and success can be assured if t iinig
and preparation for life after high school are
addressed as part of their classroom curriculum.
AlthoiIgh some preparation takes place,
statistics show that ouing people with
disabilities are twice as likely to drop out of
high school and only half as likely to finish
collegee as compared with oilier American
) south Since the introduction of the Individuals
x\ i0l Disabilities Education Act ( IDEA ),
almost lhree decades ago, mainstreaming of
students with diibilities, in regular education
classrooms has resulted in Nignificant progress.
This Win / W in situation provides increased
opportunities for non-disabled and disabled
students to interact and develop peer
relationships. These preparatory years for life
beyond high school allow younmisters who have
friends and acquaintances with disabilities to
learn to see beyond the disiabililt and to focus
on the whole pel son. Inclusion addresses the
issue of %enlsiti\ iti among peers as students
with disabilities grow up e\pecting to interact
with diverse people in the community. This
process also dissolves 'teictit pe., and
pre1 tidiCeCs
In our coimunil>, the majority of
students with disabilities are transitioned into
the c.omnilnnit to full or part time work
placement or to other day activity programs. In
many instances, ho\J eel. students are
graduating w\ ithoul job skills and are forced into
a competitive environment for which llhe are
ill pl epa'ed.
The \'irgiin Islands Association for
Independent Living operates two Centers for
Independent Living that have played a pi iotlI

role in the process of transitioning. Included in
the activities of the Centers are programs to
address the needs of students with disabilities
who are preparing to take their I ightful places
in the community. Specifically, the Centers
offer opportunities to minimize the frustrations
of students and parents alike.
Through summer prog ram initiatives,
students in transition benefit from participation
in a wide variety of community experiences.
The activities promoted include visits to
worksites of potential emplo ers-, becoming
familiar with resources such as post offices,
banks, s.upernmarkcts and recreational areas.
These field trips help students explore career
options and utilize skills learned in the school
Summer employment at the Centers for
Independent Li\ ing is also an avenue that
allows students in transition to develop the 1\pe
of skills needed to enter competitive
employ ment. To the extent possible, the
Centers seek all opportunities for work
placement of students with disabilities at our
agency or in appropriate community settings.
Each ear, the Centers participate in job
shldow ing progiains to give students in
transition the opportunity to job shadow where
the% are exposed to peer counseling and other
training opportunities offered to individuals
with disabilities. During these opportunities,
students are introduced to self advocacy issues
and techniques pertinent to their transition from
school to communitA life.
In the future. our Centers envision the
development of a working agreement with the
school system to assist students with disabilities
in transition to our communities. If students
with disabilities are provided with the
opportunities to develop skills in the core areas
of cmplo\ ment. money management,
preventative health, training opportunities and
life skills, many of the pitfalls to success can be

Ms. Felecia Brownlow is the executive director
of the V. Association fbr Independent Living

Interview with Anderson Romain

Harambee had the opportunity to interview
Anderson Romain, a student at the St.Croix
Educational Complex, who has been involved
in the transition process for two years. Young
Mr. Remain is an engaging and accomplished
senior who is excited about the opportunities
before him. He is studying upholstery has
competed and placed eightli in national
competition sponsored by the Vocational
Industrial Club of America. He will compete
again this year in stateside competition hoping
that it will lead to scholarship opportunities.

Harambee: \hat do
you understand
transition to mean for

Mr. Remain: For me,
transition means going
from school to college
or help in getting a job.
I am learning about
opportunities after
school and how to take
advantage of them.

Harambee: How long
have you been involved
in the transition

MNlrRoiiiain: About
two years. We first
learned about self
advocacy skills so we
could participate in our
individual education
plans and transition
plans. We also learned
about computers to look
trr schools and job


Harambee: What do you tliink the outcome
will be for you after graduation?

Mr.Roiiain: I thliin the outcome will be very
uood I will have a certificate in upholstery and
I am seeking a scholarship through the
Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA).
That scholarship will help me attend a technical
school in the states. I'm excited about
competing again this summer in the VICA
competitions to help my chances of getting
a scholarship.

Harambee: What are the important things
you are learning about life after you graduate?

Mr.Romain: I'm learning a lot! It is not like
I expected. Life after graduation is more
difficult. It needs a careful and thoughiful
approach. You need to be serious and keep your
mind on your goals. The competition has
helped me keep my focus and I am more self
assured for h.lh ing accomplished a good finish
in upholstery compeiilion

Harambee: Would you recommend the
transition process to others?

M1-.Roimaii Yes. The transition process has
helped me to learn to compete It helps me to
focus on my goals and to work hard toward

Harambee: Could you sutl ucst any
improvements to the transition process?

Mr Romain: Yes. More teachers need to uct
involved in this process.

Harambee: Thank you for sharing otLir
perceptions. \\ e congratulate you for your
second consecutive win in the Virgin Islands
VICA competition and the future you are
making for .'iis. 1.

The Vocational Industrial
Clubs of America (VICA)
offers yearly a competition
called Skills USA
Championships to
recognize career and
technical students who
excell in their occupational
areas as well in leadership
development activities.
Competition is offered in
forty six occupational fields
and participants are judged
on how well they introduce
their skills, how well they
demonstrate and explain
their skills, how well
prepared they are with
appropriate tools, clothing
and safety procedures
and how interesting and
informative their
presentations are.
Competition is intense
with participants from all
over the United States
showing their skills.

School to Work / Career Initiative
By Rebecca Dedmond, Ph.D., LPC

When facing. the challenges of school
and planning their education and career paths,
youth often ask, "\Wh do I need this?" '\\ ill I
ever use this information in real life?" "Wh' :lt is
out there?" "How can I be a part of it?" As they
progress Through school, it is important to help
)outh see the connections between their studies
and the world outside their classroom, their
community, their heritage and their future. The
School to Work Initiative is about helping
o ulth, and their parents, make the connection.
School to Work / Career Initiatives in
the \irgin Islands is administered jointly by the
Departments of Labor and Education. It is
about building partnerships throu,_h enhanced
curriculum integration, classroom activities and
many activities outside the classroom.
Participants have opportunities to
collaborate for employment:
* Students learn to understand their own
interests and abilities and to realize that
academic success is important to lifetime
career planning and achievement. They
obtain information about what jobs are
available, what workplace skills are needed
and practice in how to succeed on the job.
* Parents work in sessions that help them
understand the best ways to help their
children recognize and explore their talents
and aspirations. In addition, ihe\ learn the
importance of accessing and using available
inl tnir iiai :1n, including computerized career
* Educators enrich their classroom learning
environment as they learn to implement
unique and innovative ways of teaching and
connecting classroom and work-world
activities. They gain increased support for
schools from business and labor
01 1 3i 7 t io Ipn',.
* Employers play a critical part in preparing
the next generation I.o" workers that \\ ill

ultimately become the leaders in their
The School to Work Opportunities Act
of 1994 (PL 103-239) provided a bold,
proactive, strategic frame\ ork of education
reform to assist ALL students to acquire the
skills, knowledge and habits the\ need to
identify their career goals and make effective
transitions from school to filrther education and
training or work. School to Work (STW)
outlined the arduous task of pulling together
disparate and heretofore almost mutually
exclusive sectors: K-12 public schools, post-
secondary institutions, business and community
to develop and implement a coherent process
and systeni with these key components:
1. School based learning. Rigorous classroom
instruction that is linked to workplace
experiences and that provides students with
the information and skills the> need to
identify and prepare for promising careers.
2. Work based learning. Work experience,
structured training and tther workplace
activities appropriate to students career
interests and linked to school curricula,
3. Connecting actil itie;. Efforts to help
employers and schools forge and maintain
links between school based and work based
The School to \\ork / Career Initiative
in the Virgin Islands is, by law, governed by a
council and a local partnership that is
coimpl iRed of approximately tirtny leaders from
the Departments of Education, Labor and
Human Services, parents, enplut r s,
community leaders and youth. These leaders
advance the vision of cleaiting a quality school
to career transition s\ 'lem for all youth; pre-K
i.hrough grade 16. This system has these
defining features:
* Career awareness at the elementary school

S Career guidance and exploration in middle development piogitnln.

* Career preparation in high school and
* A career focused program of study (A career
major) that promotes high academic
standards and the skills needed to to
transition to post-secondary education and
* Curricula that integrate academic and
vocational learning and that exposes students
to all aspects of an industry
* A planned progiCe!ion of work experience
and training that is coordinated with school
based learning to provide students with
workplace mentoring and instruction in
gene.lil workplace competencies
* E. flonf to ensure that ALL students have
equal access to the full range of school and
work based components

Hesketh Johnson at work

The Virgin Islands School to Work /
Career (STW/C) System was constructed using
the V.I.'s initiatives f"i economic development,
education reform and workforce development
as a foundation to prepare youth with the
interpersonal, basic and technical skills for
succe',f.ul careers in ithe Islands and
globally. Education initiatives have integrated
the cultural heritage of the Virgin Islands
Islands, work ethics, the Leave No Child
Behind Act, the Secretary's Commission on
Achieving Necessary Skills, and the principles
of the Workforce Investment Act for the
attainment of a broader, more effect\ e youth

Each school and agency specifies grade
level student competencies and designs
curricula to facilitate south achievement
through integrated and contextual classroom
instruction, group guidance, career days, job
shadow' ing day, poetry contests, entrepreneurial
exploration. online and electronic career
information systems research and community
service projects. Student learn to document
experiences and skills by creating their career
and educational planning portfolios.
A sequence of professional
development activities thil ughour the territory
has included materials and resources training.
partnership training and two institutes each
attracting educators, ouilths. parents, facilitators
and businesses. Materials and resources that
support program imlplermentation have been
shared with all participants.
To date, School to Work / Career
prograiI's have served a broad cross section of
students at all levels of abil ily. most notable
accomplishments to date include:
a wide range of ermplo\te en:igement,
including job shadowing and mentoring
youth who have broadened their career
options and plans
measured student achievement attendance
and grade improvement
broader youth development goals and better
plalinnin for the future
increased access to caring adult mentors
funding that has stimulated enduring new
enhanced student motivation
ongoing partnielships among husinesses.
schools, post secondary institutions and
y otlh serving groups.
While these accompllishmncts are
extraordinary for a three year imnplenientLaion
period, there is much left to do. To become
involved contact us at 773-1994.

Rebecca Dedmond,Ph.D., LPC is Coordinator
of t5ih ST1 C pr"ri.iram

Projects with Industry
By Canrlmvn Smith-Dempster

Beginning now, you and other members of
service organizations and members of lhe
employer community throughout the Virgin Islands
have an unprecedented opportunity to
structure bold new ways of finding and hiring V.I.
citizens. Given today's dynamic workplaces, where
skill demands are increasing rapidly and qualified
workers are difficult to find, the timing couldn't be
Projects with Industry ( PWI ) is a new
system of workforce investment designed to
transform and reposition a fragmented assortment
of programs and services into a comprehensive
allignment of training and support services. The
goals are:
* inipiove quality training and life skills for
employees and to
* broaden the base of qualified workforce
applicants for employers.
PW\I is a network of employment
specialists and service providers positioned to work
with citizens, employers and organizations that
provide services to those who have medical
conditions preentini them from finding gainful
employment. PWI is business led and market
driven. Employers and workers alike will find PWI
services more relevant to actual workplace needs.
Wi-hat can clients expect from the PWI
network? Employment and service providers know
that their job is to inform individual clients about
business expectations. Individualized assistance and
support from employment specialists includes:
* prescreening and skills assessment including
personal interviews, job applications and
reference checks
* career planning for advancement and
* skills training in a variety of computer
applications including database inlaageinenlt.
spreadsheet, internet web design and
* skills training in office skills including
accounting, bookkeeping, composition and
* communication skills, customer services,
sales and management skills
* hospitality and tourism training programs
* permanent placements
* assistance with childcare and transportation
Whliat can employers expect from the PWI
network? Employ\ cr satisfaction counts! Business
needs matter! PWI will measure employer
satisfaction with quality, relevance and
responsiveness of services. P\\ 1 will ensure that

workers understand workplace needs. P\ I
provides a continuum of services to:
* organize activities and plans to improve
employee achievement and success
* work closely with employers to ensure
effective emiplo\ ment of clients
* assist employers with assistive technology
planning and installation when needed by
* document and present client's related
education, training, capabilities and
* provide access to qualified service providers
* provide customized training tailored to
workplace needs
* make referrals to other education, training
and social services as needed
* coordinate child care, tranlportatitn,
counseling, social services and vocational
rehabilitation services
How can we work together? How does
the process work? Linkages are the key! PWI
partners can connect with P\\ I in real or virtual
modes to post job openings, access a pool of
people with the skills to do those jobs and learn
about the best education and training services.
Employers are expected to post and
share skill requirements including education,
training, capabilities and performance
requirements, they are also expected to share job
PWI is expected to help develop plans of
action and make connections with all customers,
clients, employers and other agencies. PWI will
also conduct on site meetings with employees
and employers as well as serve as liaison
between employ ert and training opportunities
for employees.
PWI is a victory for both employers and
employees. It all hinges on the active
involvement of all partners to make it work. This
is a great opportunity to take a fresh look at
developing human talent. Participants can
influence the process and make sure the
workforce investment initiative responds to
workplace needs. Participants can help align
education and training to workplace standards
and implement workforce systems. The Projects
with Industry is a partnership of nonpartisan
leaders in business, education wo ernment and
training. For more information call 777-2253 or

Carolyn Smilt-DT Inqli/. r is project director of PWJ

Taking the First 9Steps

0 \Write down your long-tenn goals and what you think you
need to do to reach these.

Read your IEP and transition plan and decide if the plan is
being implemented.

Tell your teachers you want to lead your own IEP meeting
: and ask them to help you learn what to do.

Learn about your civil rights under the la, such as the
Americans w i tlh Disabilities Act.
0 Learn about your disability, how to explain to people your
0 streinthl, and how to ask for reasonable accommodations.
0 Talk with your doctor and parents about your health care
S needs so you will be ready to take responsibility for them. Marilyn Lewis going to work
Ask your teacher how to get involved with your community's transition team.

Observe your son or daughter's independent living skills, work behaviors, social involvement,
dreams, and hopes.

Call your child's teachers and ask that transition sern ices. including financial planning, be
addressed at your next meeting.

Help your child learn about his or her disability and how to ask for the supports he or she

-I e. .w Give your child responsibility for chores at home.

0* Role play different situations with your child
0 (e.g. interviews).

0 Discuss your child's medical needs with him or her
and facilitate discussions x[ ith your doctor.

S* Introduce your child to adult role models with

0 Look in your phone book and yellow pages and
0 o identify three new possible resources to help your
Nevile Francis in trading son or daughter's transition to adult activities
1Neville Francis in training


There are basically four ways in which people can interact to establish or
improve services and plan for young adults preparing for transition from school
to post-school activities. Let's look at these methods briefly.

Through NETWORKING people gain an awareness of available resources and
discover how to access or refer indi\ iduals to those sen ices. An example of net-
working might be a transition coordinator talking with local business o\w ers to
identify possible job training sites for students. While networking is an essential
step in collaboration, it will not be enough for students who have complex transi-
tion service needs.

Service COORDINATION assists in the selection and scheduling of services. In
coordinating, people arrange for a student with disabilities to receive specific
services from different agencies. For example, one agency making a phone call
to another agency to determine their respective roles and to schedule activities.

With COOPERATION, people look for ways to support and complement one
another's transition services. For example, an adult sen ices agency may accept
a student's recent test results from his or her school to determine the student's eli-
gibility for services. This would prevent the student from being tested twice and
would save the adult services agency time and expense.

COLLABORATION begins with networking, coordination and cooperation and
then requires team members to share decisions, responsibility and trust. It
requires that team members invest time and energy to come up with options and
design strategies for carrying out these plans. Because collaboration requires lots
of time and energy, it is impossible to make all decisions collaboratively. In
some instances, the desired result can be achieved through networking, coordina-
tion or cooperation. Working together, or collaboratively, in\ ites participation of
multiple service prove iders and the use of multiple resources.

National Information Center for Children and oulth with Disabilities (


Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in
Developmental Disabilities

The VIUCEDD was established in to enhance the quality of life of individuals with disabilities and their
families and to provide them with the tools necessary for independence, productivity, and full inclusion
into community life.

* Families should be supported in their role as caregivers of and experts about their children.
* Community services and support should be flexible, available, and accessible.
* People should have the right to be involved in the design and monitoring of services and programs they use.
* The competencies and contributions of people with disabilities should be recognized and supported.
* Communities are enhanced by the full participation of individuals with disabilities in all areas.
* Competent and caring professionals can make a difference.

* To provide interdisciplinary training and education.
* To demonstrate exemplary approaches in clinical, educational and community setting.
* To provide technical assistance.
* To disseminate information related to the implementation of best practices.



ST.Thomas UVI Campus (340) 693-1323 ST.Croix UVI Campus (340) 692-1919

The VIUCEDD is funded by a Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
Administration on Developmental Disabilities.


University of the Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
#2 John Brewer's Bay
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands 00802-9990
Telephone 340-693-1322 Fax 340-693-1325

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