The Secondary Transitional Experience Program (STEP) is sponsored by the Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services (DHS/DRS), Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program and is designed to provide supervised work experience for high school students with disabilities. Emphasis is placed on developing appropriate work-related habits, attitudes, and acquiring marketable work skills. STEP provides an opportunity for students to experience guided on-the-job training.

To participate in this school-to-work program, a student must be sixteen years of age (generally a junior or senior in high school) and identified as having a disabling condition that would create a barrier toward employment. One and a half to three hours of each student’s school day may be spent at an established worksite. The worksite may be located at a business in the community or within the student's designated public school district.

Students receive work-related instruction in order to enhance their job training experience. Students participating in the STEP program may earn school credit(s) toward graduation requirements. Wages earned by STEP participants may be fully subsidized by STEP, partially subsidized by STEP, or paid in total by the employer.

An integral component of STEP is receiving transition services upon high school graduation through the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS). The services assist with becoming employed after high school graduation, which may include seeking additional training. The level of services available depends on the student's interests and abilities and is provided on an individual basis. Examples include vocational assessments, job placement and support services, short-term job coaching, independent living assessments and training, information and referral services, assistance with college or vocational training costs, academic support costs, career planning, and case management services. By being referred and identified as being eligible for STEP while in high school, these transition services are automatically initiated through a student's Youth Service Coordinator and DRS VR Counselor.

The STEP program offered through Tri-County Special Education serves public school districts in Jackson, Perry, and Union Counties. Please contact a Youth Services Coordinator with any questions:

  • Denise Jones: (618) 967-8591
  • Kim Fanning: (618) 201-3975
Transition Department Staff Members