Embrace the Mandate for Career Exploration

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was designed to help youth with disabilities make a smooth transition from high school to employment or higher education. To make smooth transitions a reality, WIOA asks Vocational Rehabilitation and Education agencies to collaborate to prepare youth with disabilities for their next steps, starting as early as age 14!


You can learn more about the five required Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) here. In this blog, we will focus on the first Pre-ETS requirement – Job Exploration.



What is Job Exploration?

Job Exploration counseling may be provided in a classroom or community setting and includes information regarding in-demand industry sectors and occupations, administration of vocational interest inventories, explore careers and identification of career pathways of interest to the student.


Exploration is the Foundation of Transition Success

 “Transition Begins With a Clear Vision of a Student‘s Aptitude, Talents and Interests.“ Dawn Hesse, Transition Coordinator, St. Charles, Missouri .*


By encouraging youth and their advocates to consider transition earlier, WIOA creates more time to find a good fit. A comprehensive career exploration program is the most efficient and effective way to prepare students for a strong start in the workplace.


Here’s why:

  • You don’t know what you don’t know! Career exploration helps students learn about a wide variety of future careers and what it takes to get there along with identifying their own career interests.


  • Discovering a job that matches student interests, skills, and labor market needs takes time, and jobs that appear to match on a simple career inventory may not work out in reality. WIOA provides funding for comprehensive exploration, beyond just testing!


Hands – on Career Exploration in the classroom or field office setting enables students to learn more about a job in a low-stakes, low-risk environment, preventing a discouraging internship or first job experience.  Even the most severely impacted can participate. “Using an adaptive curriculum and appropriate teaching strategies more students with challenges find a vocational interest and skill set they are able and eager to perform.“ Theresa Cortney, Transition &Employment Specialist


Help Your Students Find Their Passion and Calling

Project Discovery provides a meaningful and realistic way to provide broad and varied career exposure to students. The Project Discovery curriculum is aligned with WIOA to provide comprehensive career exploration for ALL levels of students with special needs. Project Discovery includes evidence-based practices such as hands-on activities, video modeling, visual schedules, data sheets/progress monitoring, audio supports, and knowledge and performance-based assessments. Through on-site and online training, we empower you to help your students discover the best options for their future. Learn more about the Job Exploration Package here.


(for more on Hesse’s program read, Job in the Lab – “I Can See the Excitement in Their Faces”)

Job Ready. Life Ready.

Life-learning begins with discovery.

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