Secondary Transition to Employment Program (STEP)
The goal of the STEP program is to expand employment training/transition offerings in the western part of Fairfax County for students, ages 18-22, who have earned a Special or Modified Standard diplomas. Research has shown that the transition process for students is more successful when students increase the amount of time that they train at community work sites. Developing students’ instructional, community and employment skills allow students to be better prepared to transition out of school as well as expand their exposure to the communities in which they will live and work. A side benefit of this program is the creation of opportunities that are mutually advantageous to students and the business community. Businesses benefit by increasing the awareness and understanding about individuals with disabilities in the communities they serve. Businesses also benefit by assisting in the development of productive, responsible and motivated members of society. The participating businesses can take pride in their involvement in the educational process of students with disabilities in their communities. This model is a collaborative effort among Fairfax County Public Schools staff, students, their families, and adult services. This model allows for a class based at Chantilly High School with job shuttles leaving daily to go to job sites. Students receive community-based instruction and career training in a business environment for 4-5 hours per day. They learn work skills, behaviors, applied academics, self-advocacy strategies, and independent living skills. Student progress is documented in the domains of career instruction, literacy, essential life skills, and social skills.