The Role of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) in School to Work (STW) Transition Services

OVR assists secondary education school students with disabilities to transition from school into postsecondary education, training, independent living, or directly into employment with the ultimate goal of inclusion in the adult community as productive citizens. The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Transition Counselor works closely with staff at local schools to:


  • Provide assistance with transition planning.

  • Develop appropriate OVR referrals.

  • Educate school staff, parents, students, and others about the OVR programs.


The Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) should be completed as soon as eligibility has been determined but no later than 60 days, and the necessary information has been gathered. An IPE should be in place prior to graduation or exit from school. The IPE is to be coordinated with the student's Individual Educational Program (IEP) that is developed by the school system's transition team. The transition team may include, but is not limited to the following members:


  • Parent or Guardian

  • Special Education (SPED) Teacher

  • General Education Teacher

  • Vocational Education Teacher

  • Other necessary school services personnel

  • Support Coordinator

  • Invited agency representatives

  • Others who may be instrumental in the student's successful transition


VR Transition Counselor Responsibilities

The VR Transition Counselor may carry out the following responsibilities as OVR’s representative:


  • Providing outreach to educate individuals about the OVR process and services.

  • Processing referrals and applications.

  • Conducting preliminary assessment interviews.

  • Securing preliminary eligibility documentation/student records.

  • Completing case note documentation.

  • Attending Transition IEP meetings as the OVR agency representative when invited by the school.

  • Providing guidance about informed choice, disability issues, employment and benefits planning for SSI/DI recipients.

  • Conducting follow-up activities.

  • Networking activities that contribute to the successful employment outcome of CNMI residents with disabilities.

  • Ensuring the timely provision of transition services including Pre-employment Transitions Services. (PETS).


Outreach activities of the VR Transition Counselor are primarily focused on providing information about VR to school staff, students, parents, community professionals, and others interested in transition services. Outreach to these students should occur as early as possible during the transition planning process and must include, at a minimum, a description of the following:


  • Vocational Rehabilitation program purpose

  • Eligibility requirements

  • Scope of services that may be provided to eligible students


The VR Transition Counselor can provide information regarding OVR services that can be passed on to students and their families by contacting the SPED Teacher, Transition Coordinator, SPED Coordinator, or School Counselor.

Ways the VR Transition Counselor may conduct outreach include:


  • Providing VR brochures and business cards to the school.

  • Presenting at the first Open House or Orientation held at the school.

  • Conducting regularly scheduled school visits (co-location).

  • Participating in transition and job fairs at the school.

  • Attending school IEP meetings when invited.

  • Speaking about VR services at school staff meetings, teacher in-service training, student/parentgroup meetings, or interagency meetings.


The VR Transition Counselor should work with school staff to ensure referrals of students with disabilities to the OVR program at the beginning of the school year as follows:


  • Referral and application for OVR services is recommended at age 16 for students who are involved in or plan to be involved in Community-Based Work Experiences (CBWE).

  • All other students are encouraged to apply for OVR transition services two years prior to school exit.

  • Students at high risk of dropping out should be referred if they are old enough to begin training or searching for employment.

  • The VR Transition Counselor may act in an advisory capacity for at-risk youth who are too young to apply and/or do not have a disability.


This should allow sufficient time for determining eligibility, identifying OVR service needs, referring students to community services, and developing the approved IPE prior to the student's exit from school.


Vocational Rehabilitation Pre-Employment Transition


Supported Employment - Services for Youth with the Most Significant Disabilities


CNMI Public School System-Special Education Program


Transition Steering Committee

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) administers programs that assist in educating children and youth with disabilities and provides funding for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services for youth and adults with disabilities.  OSERS established the Transition Steering Committee to focus specifically on services, needs, and outcomes of youth with disabilities who may benefit from the work conducted and services authorized by its program component offices.  This committee, also known as "Transition Tigers", includes staff members from bothe OSERS program component offices:


  • Office of the Assistant Secretary (OAS)

  • Office of Policy and Planning (OPP)

  • Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)

  • Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)


Additionally, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) posted the archived materials on the Transition Activities website under Events located at: