Career Development Services

Career Development services provide coordinated transition services, as defined by IDEA 2004, for youth with disabilities, ages 14 to 21 years old.  The need and appropriateness for services is individualized and determined by a child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team.  Services are available for both center-based students as well as students in district-operated programs. 

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Community Based Instruction Learn More 

Community Based Instruction (CBI) is designed for students who need intensive instruction in functional and daily living skills.  It is a vital instructional tool for some students in the secondary transition years of their education, and should be discussed by the IEP team. CBI is educational instruction that occurs in typical community environments and provides students “real life experiences.” The goal of this instruction is to provide a variety of hands-on learning opportunities that will allow the student to apply knowledge.  It will also determine whether further instruction is needed.  All activities in the community should support the post-secondary goals of the student including education, employment and independent living.

Students with cognitive challenges have difficulty generalizing or transferring information. When instruction is conducted with the actual materials in the natural environment where a functional skill is expected to be performed or the activity would occur, students progress at a greater rate. CBI provides natural opportunities for independent living skills practice that is meaningful to students. Concepts and skills that are introduced in the classroom are applied and practiced in natural environments using CBI.  CBI experiences allow students to see, hear, smell and do things in real life settings as opposed to simulated or artificial settings that are abstract.  Doing things in the natural environment is concrete, reinforcing, and assists in providing educational relevancy for the student. For additional information please refer to the following section of the Austin (TX) Independent School District's handbook.

Directory of Transition Services  Learn More

A resource manual of services and agencies in the Allegheny County area has been compiled to support students, families, professionals and schools as they seek information, support and services for students with disabilities.  Information provided does not imply endorsement of services, programs or agencies but rather simply acknowledges the many options available to individuals with disabilities.  Individuals using this directory should thoroughly investigate any service provider or agency prior to contracting, registering or accessing services.  

Federal and State Transition Resources  Learn More

The federal and state government through the Departments of Education, Labor and Welfare supports the secondary transition process through a number of initiatives and resources. 

Framework for Independent Living Learn More 

This guide supports Community Based Instruction and can be referred to when planning CBI experiences and goals. 

IEP Development

The IEP team will convene to develop the IEP for a student who is turning 14 and begin to discuss secondary transition.  The IEP is developed around the hopes and dreams of the student and family.  The present education levels, strengths and needs, transition grid including post-secondary goals, courses, activities and agency support and measurable annual goals are determined by the post-secondary goals of the student and family.

The student is a vital part of the IEP team and should be instructed on how to contribute directly to the team process.  All members of the IEP team should direct questions and comments to the student and allow the student to respond. The student can participate in the entire meeting or a portion of the meeting. For information describing how to assist a student in understanding, preparing, participating and leading their IEP, visit the Zarrow Center.

Transition DRIVES the IEP through the remaining years of the student’s school life.  As the student moves toward graduation, the information found in the IEP should be more specifically related to careers and choices.  The present education levels should paint a clear picture of what the student has done and how he is progressing towards the intended post school goals.  The IEP process should prepare the student for the next steps after graduation.

Post-Secondary Transition Learn More 

Post-secondary transition is the process of preparing students for adult life after they leave high school.  In Pennsylvania, transition planning begins at age 14, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP team, as students consider their future goals through career awareness exploration activities. The transition process continues through high school as academic instruction and community experiences help clarify and support these goals. The entire process is based on a student’s needs, taking into account each student’s strengths, preferences and interests. Transition can be thought of as a bridge between school programs and the opportunities of adult life, including higher education or training, employment, independent living and community participation.  

Specialized Transition Services Learn More

The AIU's Career Development services provide coordinated transition services for youth, ages 14 to 21, with disabilities. These services include center-based vocational programs, cooperative education/work experiences, transition services and community-based instruction. Beginning at age 14, or younger if the IEP team deems it necessary, stu­dents with disabilities are eligible to receive services which fall under the umbrella of the Career Development Services. The need and appropriateness for these services are determined by the IEP team. The services are available for both AIU students and students in district-operated programs.

Transition Surveys  

Transition planning is a process that begins at age 14 or earlier, if determined appropriate by the IEP team.  Transition goals including higher education, employment and independent living.  These goals are based on the hopes and dreams of the student and their parents/guardians. The student’s interests and aptitudes must be identified and addressed through the IEP.

The Transition Survey assists the IEP team in developing the IEP post-secondary transition goals.  It is important to gather information from both parents and students to allow for discussion and note future goals from all perspectives.  You will find a variety of surveys in this section.  Please take the time to review the surveys below and choose the survey that will best meet the needs of the student and parent/guardian you are targeting.

Travel Instruction Travel Instruction 

Travel Instruction includes components that enable individuals to develop an awareness of the environment in which they live, and learn the skills necessary to move effectively and safely from place-to-place within the worlds of education, employment and the community in which they live.

Vocational Programs Learn More 

Vocational programs focus on skill sets and hands-on-learning in a simulated work environment and allow students to develop skills that can be used in the workplace. Classes prepare the student for a specific trade or career area that emphasizes hands-on learning and the application of knowledge. Students are supported in the learning process with small class sizes and professionally certified teachers and support staff.  

A variety of vocational programs are offered to students with disabilities at Mon Valley School, Pathfinder School and Sunrise School.  Students train in well-equipped vocational shops simulating a real work environment.  Focus is placed on developing safety and basic skills that will lead to increased independence and preparation for entry level positions in the work force.  Movement from the center-based program to career and technical centers is emphasized.


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