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Mission Statement

The Career Education Department of TSBVI provides learning opportunities that are experientially based, academically supported, and realistically focused on student's strengths and goal areas. Students explore a variety of occupational clusters during which they are assessed with regard to work behaviors, skills, and interest. Independent living skills, such as money management, transportation issues, grooming and hygiene, problem solving, and goal setting are integrated and stressed throughout the career education experience. SCANS competencies are infused and documented throughout a student's program. Transition planning includes working with students and their parents, local school districts, and Texas Commission for the Blind caseworkers who analyze the local labor market and potential resources which might include further technical training.

The expected outcome is that students will be prepared to enter the job market with the ability to demonstrate good work habits, set realistic goals, demonstrate basic SCANS skills, and enter the job market with specific skills training in various job clusters.

Philosophy

At the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, we believe:

  • All students who are visually impaired have the right to a meaningful educational experience which will enable them to serve as contributing members of society and lead fulfilling lives.
  • An essential component of a meaningful educational experience is career education.
  • Career education can be defined as the knowledge, skills and attitudes which prepare students to function successfully as contributing members of society.
  • All students have the right to participate fully in decisions regarding their career education.
  • A comprehensive career education program must include both general career development skills and specific occupational skills as needed by individual students.

Career Education Department Student Oriented Goals

  1. Explore adaptive equipment for job adaptations.
  2. Provide our students with knowledge and experiences, education, and services to help them to identify and access strong post-graduation services.
  3. Return students to home school before they graduate with concrete plans regarding where they will work, live, and play.
  4. Provide opportunities for students and staff that incorporate best practices such as SCANS skills, integrated thematic instruction, and integrated academics.
  5. Teach transportation use options that utilize the students' mobility skills in the most independent, logical and safe travel methods possible.
  6. When determined to be in the best interest of a student's success at an eventual worksite, develop and implement more skill specific training before community placement.
  7. Design and implement a process wherein the students evaluate the Career Education Program and its staff.
  8. Design and implement full-fledged career pathways, some of which may include certification options for students.
  9. Students' portfolios will belong to the students when they exit TSBVI.

The Community-Based Vocational Education Approach to Productive Employment for Students with Disabilities

Community-based vocational education (CBVE) is an effective approach to employment preparation for students with visual impairments. Traditionally, students have received classroom instruction with little or no actual work experience. CBVE delivers career education and training on community work settings. Students aged 14 years or older initially engage in nonpaid career assessment and training experiences to identify their career interests, assess their skills and training needs, and develop the skills and attitudes necessary for paid employment. After such instruction, students engage in cooperative work experiences for which they are paid.

Here at the school we have three components to the community-based vocational education approach: work assessment, work training, and cooperative work. Students often progress sequentially through all three components. However, some students may participate in only one component before moving to cooperative paid work, depending on their instructional needs.

(Adapted from the Handbook for Implementing Community-Based Vocational Education Programs According to the Fair Labor Standards Act.)

Work Assessment

The work assessment component helps determine individual training objectives for student with disability. In this Community Based Vocational Education (CBVE) component, the student undertakes works assignments in various business settings under the direct supervision of school personnel and employees. Assessment data are systematically collected concerning the student's interest, aptitudes, special needs, learning styles, work habits and behavior, personal and social skills, values and attitudes toward work, and work tolerance. The student rotates among various work settings corresponding to the student's range of employment preferences as situational assessments are completed by school personnel and assessment site employees. As result, students select work settings in which they can best pursue career or occupational areas matching their interests and aptitudes. Future training objectives are matched with these selections. These training objectives become part of the student's subsequent IEP.

Work Training

The work training component of Community Based Vocational Education places the student in various employment settings for work experiences. The student, parents, and school personnel develop detailed, written training plan, which includes the competencies to be acquired, method(s) of instruction, and procedures for evaluating the training experience. Training is closely supervised by representative of the school or designated employee/supervisor. The purpose of this component is to enable students to develop the competencies and behavior needed to secure paid employment. As the student reaches the training objectives in particular employment setting, the student moves to other employment environments where additional or related learning, or reinforcement of current competencies and behavior can occur.

Cooperative Work/Vocational Education

Cooperative vocational education consists of an arrangement between the school and an employer in which each contributes to the student's education and employability in designated ways. The student is paid for work performed in the employment setting. The student may receive payment from the employer, from the school's cooperative vocational program, from another employment program operating in the community such as those supported by the Job Training Partnership Act, or combination of these. The student is paid the same wage as non-disabled employees performing the same work. In some instances, arrangements are made by the school and employer through the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division to pay lower wage based on comparable performance.

The school and employer reach written agreement before the student enters the cooperative vocational education component. This agreement includes clear stipulation of the student's wages and benefits. This agreement may also include follow-along services to ensure the student adjusts to the work assignments and improves performance and productivity over time. Students may engage in more than one cooperative vocational education placement as part of their special education experience during school.

For more information about Career Education contact Tad Doezema at  or by phone at 512-206-9457.