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Transition School to Work (TSW)


Dolisa Pehl

Cindy Noble

April Durnez

Program Description

TSW – Transitioning Students from School to the World of Work

The “Transition School to Work” program at Chino Valley High School was started approximately ten years ago in order to move high functioning students with disabilities into post-secondary schools, a career path, or the workforce.

Our classes focus on career development, employment preparation, and, ultimately, independent living.  Students gain an understanding of their education and how it relates to the world of work.

The program is a joint partnership between Vocational Rehabilitation, a division of the Arizona State Department of Economic Security’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) and the district.

Students are administered vocational (AZCIS) and community college (Compass) assessments in order to match realistic goals (rather than “fantasy” goals) to better ensure future success. Financial management skills, living skills, and job seeking methods are learned.  Students prepare resumes and role-play interview techniques.  Job shadows with local employers help provide “hands-on” learning; informational interviews are arranged with guest speakers to provide an overview of specific jobs of interest to the students.

The students in the program are pro-active in learning to advocate for themselves.  They learn to understand the impact of their disability as well as what their rights are under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); they learn to conduct their own IEP meetings; they learn how to access services available to support and accommodate their needs.

Our classes focus on career development, employment preparation, interview skills and techniques, and integrating into the workplace and community.  Attendance at job fairs are part of our program.  These “Employment Encounters” enable the students to meet with prospective employers and gives them the opportunity to develop their social and job seeking skills.

We participate in community service work.  The students have volunteered at Habitat for Humanity and have learned what it takes to help others.  A new venture for us this year is the adoption of a one-mile stretch of Highway 89 for the purpose of keeping our local highways cleaned up.  Look for the ADOT sign “TSW Students – CVHS” between milepost 336 and 337.

There are eligibility requirements for the TSW Program.  Students must have a documented disability (emotional, mental, or physical); the disability must be a barrier to employment; they must have a desire to work; and lastly, they would require Vocational Rehabilitation services in order to be successful.  Students completing the program do so with a sense of pride and motivation.  Over 80% of those go on to college, enroll in a vocational training program or secure employment. 

If you are interested in learning more about our program, please contact Dolisa Pehl, the TSW Coordinator, or Cindy Noble or April Durnez, TSW Specialists, at Chino Valley High School.  The telephone number is 928-583-5520.  We welcome your inquiries.