The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation is the service agency that can assist a student for paying for services related to employment once they graduate. OVR, as this agency is called, usually did not get involved with the student’s program until their last year of high school. However, it was discovered that waiting until the last year would leave a gap in time between when the student graduated and when these employment services began. To close the gap the OVR has drafted a new policy in regards to their services for transitioning students.
The policy is long, but here is exactly what OVR plans to do:
” Utilizing its available resources, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation will:
1. Outreach to youth and young adults with disabilities and their families/advocates to provide information on OVR services and vocational planning beginning at age fourteen or the age of onset of disability, if later.
2. Collaborate with local education agencies (LEAs) and other community agencies that serve youth and young adults with disabilities.
3. Develop procedures for LEAs to refer youth and young adults with disabilities to OVR. These referrals could come from parents/families/advocates, youth and young adults with disabilities, LEAs, and other relevant partners.
4. Accept referrals of youth and young adults with disabilities at least two years prior to graduation, or earlier on a case by case basis when appropriate.
5. Utilize information available from youth and young adults with disabilities, LEAs, parents/families/advocates and other relevant partners to the extent possible when determining eligibility and developing an IPE.
6. Develop an IPE for eligible customers before youth or young adults with disabilities graduate or exit high school.
7. For purposes of determining order of selection for eligible customers, the services provided by other agencies can be considered “multiple services.”
8. Implement the IPE in a timely manner to help assure the consistent delivery of school to work transition services upon the youth or young adult’s graduation or exit from high school.
9. Provide consultation to youth and young adults with disabilities, parents/families/advocates, LEAs, and other transition partners on vocational issues, the Rehabilitation Act as amended and other legislation that affects youth and young adults with disabilities, other partners, and other resources.
10. Each OVR district office will have a point of contact to collaborate with LEAs in its district.
11. Refer cases within OVR’s Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services (BBVS) Specialized Services to BBVS Vocational Rehabilitation when the youth and young adults with disabilities become of transition age and eligibility is determined” (Transition Policy, OVR, 2013).
What the entire policy boils down to is this: The more the student, the school, and OVR can get together before graduation the better. This will stop any delays in service.