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  Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Rehabilitation Services
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  What Happens in a Vocational Rehabilitation Program?
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High School Students

What Happens in a Vocational Rehabilitation Program?

A man and a woman seated in a wheelchair confer at a desk.
 
DORS provides programs and services that will help you go to work in a job that matches your interest & abilities.

STEP 1 –How do I get to DORS? 

• Parents, teachers, transition counselors, nurses or guardians can refer you to DORS. They can use our online referral or contact the DORS office in your community

• If you have an IEP, the school staff should tell you and your family about DORS, and ask if you would like a referral.

If you say yes, they will provide DORS with some basic information about you. A DORS counselor will contact you for an appointment.

• If you do not have an IEP, a school counselor, nurse, or other staff member can refer you to DORS. You may refer yourself.

• The best time to do this is early in the last two years of high school.

STEP 2—What happens when I meet with my DORS counselor? 

• The DORS counselor will tell you how to apply and then see if you are eligible for services.
 
• DORS will send for reports from your school, doctors and others who know about your disability to help understand your strengths, interests and abilities.

• If he/she needs more, the counselor will arrange special assessments.   These assessments will also help you decide on a job goal and what services you may need to reach your goal.

STEP 3—What is Eligibility?  Why do I have to qualify? 

• The law says that students with disabilities are entitled to services to help them learn.

• However, when you apply for DORS services, the law says that DORS must find that you have a significant disability and that it keeps you from working in order to be eligible for services. 

• If you are eligible for services, the counselor will work with the school, you and your family to begin to plan for employment.

• Funding for rehabilitation services is limited. This means that DORS serves individuals with the most significant disabilities first.

Even if eligible, students with less significant disabilities may not receive services, or go on a waiting list for services.

STEP 4 –So, I’m eligible.  How do I know what services I will get?

• You, your DORS counselor, school personnel and parents will develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) that lists the steps needed to reach your employment goal.  They will consider your interests, needs, abilities and circumstances. 

• The IPE also states who pays for services and when you can expect to have enough skills to work.

• The team will write the IPE before you exit from the school system.

STEP 5 –I’m ready for my services.  How do I get started?

• While you are in school, you will probably take part in some services such as work-readiness training, summer employment, testing to learn more about your abilities, leadership programs and more.

• After graduation, your DORS counselor will continue to provide the services you need to find the job that you said you wanted in your IPE.

• During this time, the DORS counselor will stay in touch regularly. 

• You and your DORS counselor will review the plan at least once per year. You can make changes if needed. 

• Rehabilitation programs can last from several months to several years, depending on the services needed.

Step 6—I got a job! So I’m finished with DORS, right?

• Once you are working in a job that matches your plan and employment goal, the DORS counselor will follow-up for at least 90 days and then talk to you about closing the case record. 

• If you need services again in the future, you may reapply.

 Quick Links
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DORS Locations
Frequently Asked Questions
 Publications
Transitioning High School Students: What's Next?
 Related Links
Client Assistance Program
Parents Place of Maryland
MD County School Systems websites
Maryland Youth Leadership Forum
 Multimedia
Welcome to DORS - video
Welcome to WTC - video
DORS Works for Maryland - video
Division of Rehabilitation Services • 2301 Argonne Drive • Baltimore, MD 21218 • 410-554-9442 • 888-554-0334
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