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Learning and Earning After High School

Learning and Earning After High School: The Role of Transition Services in Raising Expectations and Attitudes for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

NCCDD will create a sustainable approach to providing transition services and resources for students with intellectual disabilities, even with those with the most complex of these disabilities. The approach will begin as early as middle school and continue through high school.

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Why is NCCDD funding this initiative?Goal 1 of the new Five Year Plan: Increase financial security through asset development for individuals with I/DD

  • While progress has been achieved in transition practices, attitudes and expectations for post-secondary outcomes remain low for students with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (I/DD), especially for those with more complex disabilities.
  • Secondary school reforms and transition practices do not align with current educational programming goals and community opportunities.
  • The majority of individuals with I/DD and their families are not part of meaningful goal development during high school, middle school or elementary school.
  • This initiative supports NCCDD's Goal 1 of the Five Year Plan: Increase financial security through asset development for individuals with I/DD.

What are the major goals and objectives?

  • Identify effective transition models through state and national resources.
  • Provide technical assistance to education agencies in North Carolina based on evidencebased strategies of transition.
  • Work with NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to provide resources that will improve the post-secondary opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

What has taken place since the start of the program? (Activities)

  • Pilot projects with four Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in NC have been created for ongoing technical assistance.
  • A comprehensive assessment within LEAs has been conducted to identify barriers to successful transition strategies.
  • Intervention strategies hae been constructed that lead to improved transition outcomes.
  • Specific products and online resources have been developed for students, families, educators, administrators and service providers.

What has been achieved to date?

  • Building relationships with NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and Local Education Agencies (LEA). Ten LEA pilots have been established. Twenty total partner schools are participating.
  • RTLE.org (Roads to Learning and Earning) website launched to house video tutorial and other transition resources for students, teachers and administrators.
  • Training sessions with stakeholders across the state have been conducted to raise expectations for post-secondary outcomes and to inform about the resources available in the transition process.
  • A comprehensive needs assessment was conducted with LEAs to identify specific policy barriers to address in transition procedures.

What long-term changes are expected as a result of this initiative?

  • Provide a blueprint of Learning and Earning After High School resources to schools across North Carolina. Resources will be shared with students and their families and will be used to train staff to raise expectations for students with disabilities.
  • Share evidence-based practices with school system to better integrate targeted transition planning into standard educational programming.
  • Improve post-secondary outcomes for individuals with disabilities such as post-secondary education and integrated employment.

How can I get involved?

Contact Philip C. Woodward, NCCDD Systems Change Manager, [email protected]

Who is the contractor?

Western Carolina University logo

Western Carolina University


Who can I contact for questions?

Grantee: Dr. Kelly Kelley, [email protected]

NCCDD: Philip C. Woodward, Systems Change Manager, [email protected]


Additional Resources

RTLE.org (Roads to Learning and Earning) website



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North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities

Office Hours: 9AM-4PM Monday-Friday
1-800-357-6916 (Toll Free)
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This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001NCSCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

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