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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition: Creating opportunities for youth with disabilities to achieve successful futures.

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Career Development Program

The Career Development Program (CDP) is an integral component of Bay Cove Academy of Brookline, MA. CDP is a program that serves youth ages 12-21 who have severe emotional, behavioral, or learning disabilities. All students and staff of Bay Cove Academy participate in CDP, which incorporates both school- and work-based learning.

The general goals of CDP are to help students develop a positive worker identity; match a student’s skills, strengths, and interests to a job placement; and upgrade skills needed for the workplace. In addition, goals are to empower and motivate students towards a future of successful employment and self-reliance, provide career exploration and development, and prepare students for the transition to skilled post-graduate opportunities.

CDP is a comprehensive school-to-work transition program organized into developmental phases of employment so that students increase their levels of independence as they participate in career planning, the classroom, and real-world employment skills training and community job placement. Students typically participate in CDP for a period of one to five years. The phases of CDP move students from simply exploring the work through on-campus jobs to more intense work-based learning experiences. These more intense experiences take the students off campus, placing them in internships in which they work 10-20 hours a week, independently obtain transportation to and from work, and complete self-evaluations. As students become more independent, they take part in competitive employment or a career-based internship for at least six months.

From September 1997 to September 2000, 65 students participated in CDP. Within a year of graduation, 86 percent of the graduates were employed, in school, or in a full-time combination of both. About 91% of employers were satisfied with CDP.

For more information, visit or contact:

Kathleen Pignone
Bay Cove Academy
156 Lawton Street
Brookline, MA 02446
Tel: (617) 739-1794
Fax: (617) 739-2187


E-Connect Mentoring Program

E-Connect is a school-based mentoring program that utilizes e-mail and face-to-face meetings to connect high school students with disabilities to employees from local companies to help them develop employment skills. E-Connect was developed at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration. This website contains the E-Connect curricula, as well as tools, samples, handouts, and presentations for those interested in implementing E-Connect in their school.

Linking Learning to Life (now Navicate)

Linking Learning to Life (LLL) is a school-to-career partnership of the Burlington (VT) School District, the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the University of Vermont. Its mission is “to improve the educational performance and advancement and the employment and career prospects of all Burlington students.” The work-based learning strategies in the program include assisting students with a wide range of community learning experiences from employer visits to service learning and long-term internships.

A partnership has been forged with the Vermont Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to pilot a school vocational rehabilitation counselor position. This staff member provides intensive transition planning, work-based learning, job development, and job placement services to students with disabilities in grades 9-12 and enrolls them in the vocational rehabilitation system. The counselor also serves as a connector, helping to bring together classroom teachers, special educators, parents, and community resources to integrate learning experiences for students.

In order to help students understand the skills and expectations of the workforce, LLL places teachers in six-week paid internships in business during the summer. They develop classroom applications based on their experiences. This approach has proven to be an invigorating experience for many teachers, who match their skills and interests with projects that meet employer needs.

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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
Institute on Community Integration
University of Minnesota
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This page was last updated on November 29, 2017.