Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Special Education share responsibility in preparing youth with disabilities for the transition from school to post-high school employment, education, specialized training and independence.
The local school district is primarily responsible for providing transition-related services while a student is still in school. However for students with disabilities who are, or may be, eligible to receive vocational rehabilitation services, communication and collaboration with VR may help to ensure a smoother transition.
VR's role is primarily one of planning and preparing for when a student graduates or exits the school system. Successful transition planning involves VR counselors and educators working together to encourage students and their families to think about goals for life after high school and develop a plan to get there.
VR also works in partnership with individual school districts to provide students with disabilities an opportunity to obtain high school credit for paid work experience prior to graduation or exit from school. This transition service is called the Cooperative Work-Experience Program (COOP), and it is provided through a statewide intra-agency agreement within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education between VR and Special Education.
Eligibility for VR services is determined by the VR counselor on an individual basis. The counselor must certify that the individual has a physical or mental impairment that causes limitations to employment and requires VR services to prepare for, secure, retain, advance in or regain employment.
At all stages throughout the VR program, eligible students will be provided vocational information and guidance allowing them to make informed choices regarding their vocational plan. Eligible students may receive one or more of the following transition-related services, which include but are not limited to:
- Vocational planning
- Career guidance and counseling
- On-the-job training
- Assistance with finding a job
- Independent living services at Centers for Independent Living
- Pre-employment transition services
How to get started with VR services
View a short video introducing VR Transition Services.
General overview of the VR-SPED COOP Program
Additional information regarding the VR-SPED COOP Program
COOP Roles and Responsibilities for a WEC
COOP Roles and Responsibilities for a VRC
Pre-employment Transition Services Overview
Pre-employment transition services through the University of Missouri - College of Education