The Transition After High School

Too many of our youth don't know what to do after high school. They aren't prepared for stable, career-oriented employment. They don't have the skills, knowledge or desire to pursue post-secondary education. They are lost, frustrated and scared, resulting in their staying at home, not working (or working in a dead-end job) and not achieving their full potential in life.

As parents or counselors, what can you do to help?  

Below are two government programs that may help your child/student as they transition from high school into further education or into the workforce and gain more independence.  

Department of Workforce Services

DWS has a program called the WIA Youth Program (also known as LYFE Program) that helps kids ages 14-21 graduate from high school, gain work experience, develop leadership skills and pursue post-secondary education and their career goals. This program pays cash incentives to youth to attend Innovative Harbor's Leadership Development Course.  

Eligibility factors include income and at-risk factors (ie - low test scores, foster care, substance abuse, etc.) Please note that if your child is/was on an IEP, they may qualify as their own household and qualify as low income.  

How to Apply?  Here is the information taken from their website on how to apply:  

  • Sign in to "my Job Search" or create a new job search account
  • After the registration process, click on "Apply for Training Services"
  • Complete the application for training
  • Once completed, a DWS representative will call within 3 days to schedule an appointment
  • Questions? Call or visit your local DWS Employment Center

After you have your initial meeting with your local DWS counselor, you will likely need to schedule to take a TABE test (which takes a couple hours) and then another follow-up meeting with the DWS counselor to develop your employment plan.   

Vocational Rehabilitation

If your child/student has a diagnosable disability, Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) may be a great resource for your child to gain skills, employment and independence. VR may provide restoration services for the disability, along with aid securing and maintaining employment and/or post-secondary educational goals.  VR is a tremendous resources to individuals with disabilities. Innovative Harbor contracts with VR to provide job placement and coaching services.   Please watch these videos to see some of the many youth we have helped secure and maintain employment through Voc Rehab.  

VR is currently on a waiting list, meaning you will not be eligible for services for a certain time period after you are found eligible depending on when you applied and the significance of the disability(ies).  

How to Apply? 

1.       Attend or Watch Orientation Video – Attend orientation meeting at your local Voc Rehab office.  You can also watch the orientation video here.

2.       Fill out Voc Rehab application – Fill out the application found here:  

3.       Schedule and Attend Initial Meeting – Once the application has been completed, you need to schedule an appointment with your local VR counselor.  Type in your zip code on this website to find your local VR office:

When you call, please tell them your name and age and that have watched the orientation video and completed the VR application and would like to schedule an appointment with a VR counselor.  


If you have any questions about either of these programs, or if you would like to discuss your child/student's situation in more detail, please contact us today.