Allegany Arc

Project Name: School-to-Community Transition Program

Contact Information:
Name: Christina Lyon
Phone: 585-593-3005  x227
Address: 240 O'Connor Street
City, State ZIP: Wellsville, NY 14895
Email Address: Christina.Lyon@alleganyarc.org
Web address: http://www.alleganyarc.org

Project Goals

Allegany Arc will provide data to show an increase in the amount of Allegany County Students that successfully transition from high school into college and/or long-term employment.  We will provide any training and support that is necessary to bridge the gap between youth and adult services.

Allegany Arc will utilize funding to support a full-time Transition Mentor position.  The position will fill a need for developing, coordinating and providing services for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) as they transition from high school to entry into a college degree program leading to meaningful, long-term employment.  The mentor will assist the identified students with meeting post secondary or career goals by participating in all transition planning and serving as a source for recommendations and/or referrals to available agencies and services. 

The Transition Mentor will collaborate with all interested parties; student and/or their families, school district personnel, BOCES, college personnel, community employers (to ensure they are getting the workforce that they need), ACCES-VR & OPWDD (to ensure the student is receiving the proper supports to be successful in their pursuit), the Adult service provider (to ensure there is no time gap between the students school enrollment and enrollment into adult services upon completion) and any other community service providers.

Project Description

Partnership Identification:
Allegany Arc has 50 years of experience in planning and implementing transition programs.  Allegany Arc was part of the MTP Project and provided services to transition age youth in seven Western New York counties (Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Steuben, and Wyoming).  In addition, Allegany Arc has partnered/contracted directly with our local school districts to develop and implement Student Internship Experiences for transition age youth to prepare them to enter the workforce upon school completion, since approximately 1998. ACHIEVE Career Consultants, a division of Allegany Arc, has been in existence since 1989, and works collaboratively with a variety of public and private agencies, businesses, and organizations.

The Allegany Arc project expands an existing program that focuses on enrollment into college degree program, and entrance into long-term, meaningful employment. Through partnerships that were developed because of Allegany Arc’s participation in the Model Transition Project (MTP) the position of Transition Mentor was developed, but was unable to be sustained following the completion of the project.  Recent changes in NYS Department of Education highlights Transition Planning as must for students to ensure success after graduation. The State Education Department issued a Special Education Field Advisory in April of 2012 that highlights requirements for students with disabilities to receive the new Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential.  Within this it states that “the school district must develop an individual transition plan documented in the student’s IEP. Beginning with post-secondary goals projected for the student, the IEP transition plan identifies the needs of the student to meet those post-secondary goals and recommends annual goals and services to incrementally prepare the student to meet his/her post-secondary goals for living, learning and working.”  Furthermore, it states “High school transition planning includes exploring post-secondary opportunities and employment options and should include connecting with the adult service agencies that may provide the student with services when he or she is no longer eligible for a free appropriate public education after the age of 21 (The Transition Mentor will be the point of contact).  

Allegany Arc will continue its partnership with Alfred State College in New York to support two programs:

  • R.I.S.E. (Reaching Individual Success in Education) is a partnership between Alfred State College and ACHIEVE Career Consultants (division of Allegany Arc). It is located on the Alfred State College Campus and focuses on creating a unique educational experience that nurtures students’ social and academic growth.  Students are given access to a variety of experiential learning opportunities through service learning, work study, mentoring and internships.  R.I.S.E. focuses on academic instruction, employment experiences through work-based learning, and social and independent living.
  • College Mentor Program is for individuals with disabilities that have applied and been accepted to a college of their choice. Services include; transportation to and from campus, note taking services, tutoring, self-advocacy training, social skills development, community integration, pre-vocational services, and supported employment if the student desires to work while attending school. Allegany Arc’s College Mentor Program has had a campus presence and collaborates with the following Colleges: Alfred State, Jamestown Community College – Olean Campus, and St. Bonaventure University.  Upon graduation, the student is assisted with transition into the workforce.  If the student requires services to obtain and maintain community employment, they are assisted with attaining supported employment services via NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) or NYS Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR).

The programs, currently operating with volunteer labor, lack a full-time Transition Mentor dedicated to developing, coordinating and providing services for the student’s transition from school to adult services.  The mentor will participate in all transition planning and will provide recommendations and/or referrals to services to assist the identified students in their post secondary or career goals.  Referrals include, but are not limited to ACCES-VR, OPWDD, College Mentor Program and/or RISE.

A full-time Transition Mentor will ensure seamless coordination of communication and interaction among stakeholders. Specific responsibilities include:

  • Attending Transition/CSE Meetings for the identified students;
  • Providing support to individuals and College/University for RISE and College Mentor Programs;
  • Conducting Vocational Training/job preparedness utilizing existing RRTI, OPWDD and a Self-Determination Curriculum;
  • Participating in the local and regional Transition Support Group meetings;
  • Facilitating a positive working relationship with all agency personnel, school districts, BOCES, ACCES-VR, businesses and community service providers in order to meet the needs of individuals served;
  • Participating in the development and implementation of Individual Transition Plans as directed by the family, individual and program planning team; and,
  • Recruiting candidates for existing programs and services that focus on post secondary education.
  • Assisting those students who desire to seek employment with completing their applications to ACCES-VR, so that they may be referred to Allegany Arc for Employment Supports.  Employment Specialist’s would then be networking with local businesses/employers to promote the hiring and advancement of individuals with disabilities in the workforce.