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STW Guide to Transition

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Participants in the School to Work Transition Program are introduced to the concept of work, explore vocational interests, and establish good work habits. The program is designed to successfully transition students from a school environment to a work environment so that upon graduation students have gained the knowledge necessary to pursue their career goals. Students work on contracts from local businesses and industries, attend work habit classes, and work on goals designed to improve their work performance within the Facility Based Program of BCRC. Students work under the supervision of Job Coaches who assist them with work questions, help them maintain quality control, and implement their goals. A Community Job Coach works with students individually and as a group to help them explore their vocational interests by learning about and exploring community jobs. Each student is also assigned a Program Specialist who facilitates, coordinates and designs the individual plan for each student.


School versus Adult Services

Public school services are free and mandated by law. A student with a disability is legally eligible for education until 21 years of age. When a student with a disability is enrolled in school, the public school provides, as part of the student’s education, many services that are not automatically part of adult services. These services include but are not limited to the following:
· Transportation
· Speech Therapy
· Occupational Therapy
· Physical Therapy
· School nurse to dispense medication and assist with various daily living skills (e.g. catheterization).
· Counseling
It is important to realize that many adult services are eligibility based. This means a person must qualify for the services. Once the student graduates, they must seek out these services if they are still needed. Some services a student receives in school may or may not continue under adult services. These resources may be investigated while a student is still in school. County agencies may provide needed services or a person’s medical insurance may cover these costs for a period of time.


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The school provides transportation for the student to activities that occur during the school day. Students who attend BCRC’s School to Work Transition Program travel using transportation arranged by the school in conjunction with parents.
As an adult, people are responsible for obtaining transportation on their own. There are a variety of transportation sources available for adults. Some of them are:
· The Beaver County Transit Authority (BCTA)
· J B Taxi Service
· Individual / Family / CLA (Community Living Arrangement) Staff
The Beaver County Transit Authority (BCTA)
This form of public transportation is for people who are able to ride the bus independently. BCTA charges a set fare each way according to where a person is traveling. BCTA provides transportation throughout Beaver County, from Chippewa Mall in Beaver Falls to Downtown Pittsburgh. There are various routes. At times, a person may need to transfer to another bus in order to reach their anticipated destination. In order to use this form of transportation a person must have access to a bus stop designated by the BCTA schedule. Further, they must be traveling to a point also on the bus line. The BCTA does not run on Sundays nor do they operate on six designated holidays each year. Patrons who ride frequently can purchase tickets at a 10% discount from the BCTA Transportation Center or other ticket outlet locations. Individuals who qualify may use a half-fare card at certain times of the day, which reduces the fee for the trip. For further information on this source of transportation you may call BCTA at 724-728-8600 or 724-378-3099.
The Demand and Response Transit (DART) is a door-to-door, advanced reservation, shared-ride transportation system of the Beaver County Transit Authority operated for the general public in both urban and rural areas of Beaver County. Service is available to those who do not live within one-fourth of a mile of regular Beaver County Transit Authority fixed route buses and to those with specialized transportation needs.DART extends public transit to all areas of Beaver County, urban and rural, for the general public, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and others with specialized transportation needs. The routes and schedules vary each day in response to the demand for the service. Trips are scheduled by advance telephone reservations. The patron or someone else must call DART to schedule a pick up and drop off time. The DART van will come near the house to pick the person up and drop them off at the requested destination.DART vehicles can take a person to and from any point in Beaver County that cannot reach by using regular fixed route buses. Connections to the BCTA fixed route buses are also provided. DART will go to Sewickley on Monday and Wednesday and Pittsburgh on Monday only for medical services at medical facilities. Rural area trips can be made on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. There is no restriction on trip purpose and no type of trip is given priority over another in scheduling.
DART does transport adults to BCRC’s Facility Based Programs. The person’s geographical location in the county may limit the frequency DART is available to them. Due to the time restrictions and number of days available, using DART for competitive employment my not be an option. People who qualify may use a half-fare card during any time of the day, which reduces the fee for the trip. DART also has six holidays on which they do not transport people. They have limited evening hours and do not run on Sundays. DART can be reached by calling 724-728-2895 or TDD 724-728-3221 for further information on this source of transportation
This form of transportation is available to the public. A person must call and request a taxi for transportation each time they need it. A taxi will transport a person on an individual basis. They are available 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Unfortunately, they are more costly overall than the other forms of public transportation. For further information on this source of transportation, JB Taxi may be reached at 724-643-9690 or 1-866-452-8294
Individual / Family / CLA Staff
Another option for an adult is to provide their own transportation or have a family member or CLA Staff assist with the transportation. A person can study for their driver’s permit with assistance from BCRC if they qualify. BCRC offers a one-on-one tutoring service to help a person obtain a driver’s permit to those eligible for this program. Once a person has the permit, they are responsible for taking the driver’s test on their own. At times, a student may qualify for the individual tutoring service while attending the School to Work Transition Program. Please discuss this with your BCRC Program Specialist. Further, if a person is unable to obtain a driver’s license, a parent or other family member may provide transportation. If the person resides in a CLA, staff may provide transportation.


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Funding Sources

Public schools provide the funding for a student to attend BCRC’s School to Work Transition Program. Therefore, a student does not necessarily need to be active with any other agency in order to participate
Conversely, after graduation adults who receive vocational services must be active with the proper agencies that fund adult vocational services. Two main agencies serve as funding sources for adults in Beaver County
  • Beaver County Behavioral Health, Direct Services Unit (formerly known as Beaver County Mental Health/ Mental Retardation Base Service Unit)
  • Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR
The Direct Services Unit (DSU)
The BCBH Direct Services Unit is a county agency that provides child, adolescent and adult services to residents of Beaver County who have Mental Retardation and certain Mental Health disabilities
To determine eligibility for DSU services, a person and a member of their family must attend an intake interview. Services may include intake, assessment, life management planning, psychiatric evaluation/consultation, treatment planning, service authorization, and case management. Case management services include monitoring, advocacy, service planning, and continuity of care
A student can become active with the DSU at any point during their high school years. Students are encouraged to explore this service well before graduation due to the time needed to secure services. For an intake or to discuss eligibility, please call 724-891-2827
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)
OVR is a state agency that helps students with disabilities to prepare for, get, or keep a job. OVR usually becomes active with a student prior to graduation. Each school district has a counselor assigned to it and your guidance counselor, teacher, or transition coordinator can help you get in touch with them
In order to define a vocational plan OVR may sponsor an evaluation through BCRC. The purpose of an evaluation is to allow a student to investigate various jobs in the community, assess their strengths and needs, assess their aptitudes in order to identify appropriate job options, and to recommend a vocational program after graduation. OVR may pay for further training after graduation or for certain accommodations, which allow a person to have more independence on a job. They also may pay for assistance in securing a job in the community which is often referred to as supported employment. The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation may be reached at 1-800-442-637


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Options upon Graduation from STW

Students graduate from the School to Work Transition Program when they graduate from their high school. At this point, they must be prepared to decide what to do vocationally. After graduation, students no longer receive school services as discussed previously. Instead, they must begin to receive services as an adult and, therefore, be active with the proper agency in order to receive those services. The following is a basic description of the vocational options provided by BCRC and information on what community agencies serve as the funding source
Facility Based Program
After students graduate from the School to Work Transition Program, they may continue to need improvement on their work skills before they can move on vocationally. Therefore, they may decide to remain in BCRC’s Facility Based Program. Students will notice many differences between the adult workshop and the workshop they knew while in the STW Program.
Once eligibility for service has been established and funding and authorization received, a student can begin in the Facility Based Program.
First, they will be assigned to a new Program Specialist. This also means they will work in a new group and have new Job Coaches. A client can be scheduled in a group in either work center, the Administration Center or the Production Center. They are also eligible to work at outside work sites. The Job Coaches will continue to supervise clients the entire day as before.
Second, the adult clients typically work longer days than the students. Usually adults are scheduled to work 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with variability due to transportation, whereas, students on average work half days. Further, adults are scheduled to work throughout the year. They do not have summers off as the students do. Instead, vacation time must be requested.
Third, adults who attend BCRC must be able to eat, take medication, and use the restrooms independently or with the assistance of a Personal Care Attendant provided by the client. Community Resources for Independence may be contacted at 1-800-530-5541 to access Personal Care Attendant services if these are needed
Finally, the Facility Based Program is more limited in community assessments and tours. Adult clients explore their vocational interests in the community but less frequently. Adult clients at BCRC typically spend their day at the production center or are scheduled at one of the community work sites referred to as enclaves. An enclave is a community work site where clients are taken from the facility based program to complete a particular job in the community under the supervision of a Job Coach
Supported Employment,
After graduation students may be ready to seek employment in the community either part time or full time. BCRC’s Supported Employment department can provide assistance with this process. Please follow the link to their department to find out more about the extent of their services (Supported Employment Services).
Aurora Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services
Students with a mental health diagnosis can choose to participate in this program while still enrolled in school or after graduation. Students can be enrolled in this as well as other work programs simultaneously. Please follow the link to their department to find out more about enrollment and services (Aurora Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services


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Social Security Administration (SSA)

Depending on the situation, a student with a disability may qualify for financial assistance through the Social Security Administration.
Several years prior to graduation, students should inquire at their local SSA office about their eligibility. SSA has an office in Ambridge and in Beaver Falls. If eligible, a person with a disability may receive either Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Supplemental Security Disability Income (SSDI) payment on a monthly basis. It is critical to know which type of payment one is receiving (SSI or SSDI) because earned income wages affect each payment type differently.
People, who receive payment from SSA, must report any/all earned income to SSA as it is earned. This includes wages earned in the Facility Based Program, enclaves and competitive employment. BCRC encourages all consumers and their families to assume this responsibility for themselves and to become familiar with the expectations of SSA and the impact of earned income on their payment. You may reach SSA by calling 1-800-772-1213 if you have any questions


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While attending school, it is wise to begin to obtain the proper identification. Typical forms of identification that adults are asked to have available are a social security card, birth certificate, and driver’s license/state photo ID. These forms of identification will be beneficial to use for various reasons such as: opening a bank account, applying for community agency services, or beginning new employment
When completing the intake at BCRC for services, the student will be encouraged to obtain a state photo ID (non-driver’s license). You may obtain a state photo ID by contacting the East Rochester Driver’s License Center Located at 149 Stewart Avenue
In order to obtain a state photo ID, a person will need to take their social security card, birth certificate, and another form of identification containing their signature such as: voter’s registration or medical card to the license center. The Driver’s License Center may be reached by calling 724-773-7462.
We encourage students and parents to work closely with their School to Work Program Specialist. Please be active in scheduled meetings and share any input you may have in the transition process. Finally, feel free to call the School to Work Program Specialist anytime you have a question or a concern. The School to Work Program Specialist can be reached at 724-847-1306 (voice or TDD).


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Social Service Acronyms

Following are some acronyms a person may encounter as they enroll and receive services in the adult system
BCAO- Beaver County Assistance Office (DPW located in Rochester
BCBH- Beaver County Behavioral Health (formerly Beaver County Mental Health/ Mental Retardation
BCTA- Beaver County Transit Authorit
CLA- Community Living Arrangemen
CMS- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Federal
DART- Demand and Response Transi
DSU- Direct Services Unit (formerly the BSU, located in Beaver Falls
DPW- (PA) Department of Public Welfare (OMR is part of DPW
HCQU- Health Care Quality Uni
HCSIS- Home and Community Services Diagnosis and Treatmen
ICF/MR- Intermediate Care Facility/ Mental Retardation
ISO- Intermediate Service Organization
ISP- Individual Service Pla
JTBC- Job Training for Beaver Count
MH/MR-Mental Health/Mental Retardation (now known as BCBH
OMR- (PA) Office of Mental Retardatio
OVR- Office of Vocational Rehabilitatio
PAWL- PA Waiting List Campaig
PCP- Person Centered Plannin
P/FDS Waiver- Person/ Family Directed Support Waive
PUNS- Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Service
SSI- Supplemental Security Incom
SSA- Social Security Administratio
SSD- Social Security Disabilit
SC- (DSU) Supports Coordinator (formerly called a Case Manager
2176 Waiver- Consolidated Waive
MAWD- Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities


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