Youth Employment Services


Program Description:
Linking Learning to Life’s Youth Employment Services Program (YES!) was developed through a dynamic partnership with the Vermont Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

“I’m able to live independently because I’ve got a good job. I want to be able to support myselfto be able to save up money to buy things that I really need in life”

The partnership began in 1998, with the creation of the School-Based Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor position. This position was implemented to ensure high school students with disabilities in the Burlington schools receive timely services related to employment and smoother transitions from school to work. Fully funded by LLL the first year, the Agency of Human Services, Division of Vocational

position for the second year, and fully fund the position thereafter.

As the program grew the Employment Training Specialist position was created to assist the School-Based Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with providing specific job related supports. Together they work as a team supporting students with their vocational and transitional goals.

Why is it Important?

Interagency collaboration between school systems and Vocational Rehabilitation has proven to be key for students with disabilities as they move from school to adult life. However, the growing needs of these youth and the differences in goals and funding can create barriers for students as they transition. According to the 1993 National Transition Longitudinal Study, 70% of youth with disabilities are unemployed two years after they exit from high school. The School-Based Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at Burlington High School assists both systems to improve transition outcomes for students, and strengthens collaborative relationships.

“The thing that every student has to understand is that it is your life. You have a right to speak up and say, ‘this is the direction I’d like my life to go in’”

Who Does it Benefit?
Specific services provided by the VR Counselor and Employment Training Specialist benefit:

  • Students, by providing regular vocational counseling, assessments, and job search skills, and job opportunities
  • Special Needs Educators and Classroom
  • Teachers, by providing technical assistance, including attendance at IEP/Transition meetings, development of vocational goals and objectives, and coordination with adult service providers;
  • Employers, by providing technical assistance with accommodations, job coaching, and follow-up services; and
  • Adult Service Providers, by coordinating available resources and upcoming referrals, and creating an effective and timely referral process (e.g. through establishing a local CORE Transition Team).

For More Information:
Please email Pam Gowland, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, or Kim Sansone, Employment Training Specialist, or call (802) 864-8430.

Burlington School District
VT. Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Vermont Association of Business Industry and Rehabilitation (VABIR)

Helpful Links and Resources:
University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration
University of Vermont Center on Disability and Community Inclusion

LINKING LEARNING TO LIFE   52 Institute Road, Burlington, VT 05401   Ph: 802 951-8845 | Fax: 802 951-8851