Choosing excellence requires an organization to commit to constantly being in motion. We have committed ourselves to change, to reinvent and recreate all we do to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities. In doing so, it enables our students and clients to achieve their goals and reach their place in our society. When an organization commits itself to using evidence based and research practices to ensure student and client success, it forces that organization to be ever in motion, always changing and focused on innovation and improvement. Using information from research journals, NTACT (National Technical Assistance Center on Transition) and other resources enables us to train our staff and implement services using the proven models of instruction and programming.
In 2005 when CEO was founded, we knew we had the capacity to become a force in the field based upon our focus on transition and the years of experience in the field of employment for people with disabilities. Making that happen requires the efforts of many and a touch of luck. As Branch Rickey, the General Manager of the old Brooklyn Dodgers, once said, “luck is the residue of design”. CEO designs its services and models based upon our client districts, their students, and our adult’s needs with the final outcome being their career and employment goals are met. We create solutions and innovation by bringing a collaborative effort to our client districts and our ACCES-VR services. We are absolute in the belief that cooperation is the key to transforming problems into solutions.
In the early 1980s, I studied the work of John Forbes Nash (later of “A Beautiful Mind” fame) and discovered the Nash Equilibrium. Within the theory was the concept that when parties make the best decision based upon the best results of all the participants, the result is greater success for each participant in contrast to a competitive or conflict laden approach.
We resolved that “Innovation through Collaboration and Cooperation” would be our vision to better serve our client districts, individuals, and their families. Since our founding until today, we maintain that vision in all of our services. The following is an overview of our services:
What is the difference between “Transition Services” and “CEO Transition Services”?
In God We Trust, All Others Must Produce Data” is the motto that enables CEO to gain the trust and confidence of our client districts. When a district finds itself looking to produce empirical data to substantiate their goals and services, we have developed an incredible web-based system that we call “TransMetrics”. TransMetrics is a means to provide data to districts as well as all the service notes and all of the information that CEO develops for our students and adults. The data includes both information regarding the student as well as data regarding the district and other functions such as job placements, student hours etc.
In order to meet the ongoing need of districts for information at CSEs and other important meetings, we developed Transdox. Transdox is a website that provides a student’s transition documents to a district simply by entering the user name and password for that district. Included in Transdox is all the students transition documents that qualify and quantify their progress in transition. Documents such as Career Plans, Employability Profiles, Level I, II, III Vocational Assessments, Assistive Technology evaluations, Task Analysis, Job Analysis and other related documents for the student’s transition.
Transition from high school to the world of work or post-secondary education can be one of the most exciting times in a student’s and their family’s life. This process can also be anxiety provoking and frustrating especially for students with special needs. School districts often lack the resources, time and information to effectively meet the needs of these students. Career and Employment Options, Inc. (CEO) is a company that was founded to meet that need.
Creating and developing the foundations for building creative and effective transition programs takes experience, knowledge and skill. CEO was designed to see the big picture of what a school district needs and create programs for a “soup to nuts” approach to transition.
In providing our services, we use a “Big Picture” approach and look toward the entire community in developing resources, opportunities and linkages. Our staff are required to develop employment opportunities within the student’s home community. In addition, we train our staff in the complexities of travel training and how to enable a student or adult who will not or cannot drive how to effectively use the public transportation system.
Career Services for Individuals In & Beyond Special Education”
As part of CEO’s creative approach to solving district needs, several years ago, CEO developed a curriculum that is cross walked with CDOS (Curriculum for Development of Occupational Services). Our curriculum “Career Services for Individuals In & Beyond Special Education” was developed with the efforts of over 20 Special Education, Guidance Counselors, Rehabilitation Counselors contributing to the effort. Within our curriculum are 18 Units and over 140 lessons addressing everything from resume development, interview skills, college preparation skills and starting your own business. We included lessons on how to apply for Civil Services and how to connect to Social Security Administration and adult services such as ACCES-VR, OPWDD, OMH and CB (Commission for the Blind). We also use our curriculum in coordination with other curricula for the more affected students so we are assured the essence of career services has been provided and the student has benefitted.
Within the curriculum is a data system we call CEOTrackit that provides our school districts with an ongoing transcript of the student’s progress through our curriculum. CEOTrackit is a means for our districts to demonstrate students have been provided instruction and the students have demonstrated knowledge of the information.
Our Upward Options program has established an effective and comprehensive program for preparing individual and groups of students for post-secondary education. Upward Options enables a district to demonstrate that appropriate transition services to post-secondary and addresses the key elements of traditional barriers toward success for students in post-secondary settings. Barriers such as executive functioning skills, self determination skills, self advocacy skills are addressed through the lessons.
World of Work Program
Students in alternate assessment require the rigor of instruction and engagement equal to students in Regents track. We provide group services for districts that enable them to utilize a cost effective program to introduce and train special education students within internship sites in their own communities. The difference is that the instruction and requirements are data driven. In addition, every site has a set of standards that ensure continuity through community access training, travel training and Employment Classes. The instruction and standards that the Employment Class utilizes is a curriculum that provides students the fundamentals in Career Skills such as Resume/Portfolio, Interview, Job Search and Job Application skills. CEO works individually with students providing Career Skills, internships in careers they may be interested in, job placements for students (when authorized) as well as any other supports necessary for transition.
The key for our transition services is that we ensure our client districts and their students meet NYSED standards for transition and all legal issues are addressed. More importantly, we address student interests, goals and career aspirations. We are diligent that our districts meet the regulatory compliance and our students receive the services they need for a seamless transition.
B2B or Back to Basics
In addressing the needs of students in alternative high school settings, we have developed a program we call B2B or Back to Basics that works with disengaged students and prepares them for a renewed involvement in their high school career. We not only bring the most up to date information, we develop instruments and programs to enable districts to have metrics for the evaluation of the services.
Our Assessment Programs for students and adults has a mission to enable students and adults to use the results to map their own futures. It is an instrument for districts, students, adults and their families to provide direction for potential career options. Our assessment services are multi-tiered in order to enable our districts to utilize the proper assessment for the specific students need.
With the employment rate of individuals with special needs being approximately 38%, this is a social ill that requires change not management. We need to see this social ill with the same vision of a violation of social rights and standings as we as a society would for any group. To correct this requires a provider who is connected to multiple levels of employment both on corporate and local levels. It requires commitment to the job development and placement outcome. CEO makes that commitment.
In 2009, CEO was awarded a contract through ACCES/VR (formally VESID) to provide job placement services. Since that time, CEO has performed job placements at a rate of 30% higher than other providers in our region and the state. One of the primary reasons is our connection to so many employers and communities on Long Island and the New York Metropolitan region.
In 2010, CEO entered into the New York City market by collaborating with a group of providers headed by Dr. Lynda Geller called Spectrum Services www.spectrumservicesnyc.com. CEO provides career and employment services to individuals on the spectrum through New York City Board of Education. We also work with adults in ACCES-VR at our Manhattan office
CEO was founded on the premise that transition and employment services for individuals with disabilities was in need of a new vision. That vision was not limited in providing services in the traditional manner. Instead, our vision is to create an excitement in the journey to a career for the people we serve.
CEO has won the New York State Rehabilitation Association statewide award for “Quality Effective Transition Services.” CEO in partnership with the Amityville School District was one of two partnerships in New York State receiving the award. Our work with the Amityville School/Business Partnership helped the Amityville School District win the Award for Best Practices from the Western Suffolk County Guidance Counselors Association 2007.
These awards and special mention are the result of our commitment to the services we provide. CEO believes that by working closely with the district, the district personnel, students and their families that collaboratively we can integrate career training into a student’s educational experience. CEO has transcended the roles of traditional providers and integrates services for students and adults. We live our motto of “Innovation through Collaboration and Cooperation”.