From the Editor

Is your child in high school or a young adult who is ready for the next step in life? Maybe you and your child don’t even know what direction to move in. This is a time of transition, and it’s time to do something different after high school.

This issue will explore a variety of transition options. We will highlight just a few examples in each category. I’m happy to say that there are many choices available for your teen or young adult to explore! Ready to go? Read on to learn about the many possibilities available for your child.

Also, we’re featuring a new addition to each newsletter, Widening the Circle, which will highlight a lesser known agency or initiative that serves people with disabilities. 

Happy Spring and best to you and yours,

Maria Schaertel

What is Transition?

Transition to adulthood assists a student with a disability to move smoothly from school to post-school activities (in the areas of living, learning, work and play). The activities help the student develop skills for continued education (college), vocational training (trades), employment (supported/competitive), adult services (programs), independent living and participating in the community. The activities are based on the expressed future goals of the student including: interests, likes, dislikes and abilities and the development of the necessary skills that are needed for success in achieving those goals.

From Starbridge Tip Sheet, Making Transition Stick

Need Help Navigating Transition Options?

Center for Disability and Education

The Center for Disability and Education at the Warner School of Education and Human Development, University of Rochester, conducts work in the area of adolescents with disabilities and transition. Over the last several years they have worked with local agencies, school districts, and colleges. They have spent much of that time listening to families, people with disabilities, and those that work in the field who share how overwhelming it can be to navigate through all the information and opportunities available. They can provide linkage, resources, and connection with others that can assist in decision making.


Also, they believe students with intellectual disabilities can transition to college. These students and their families deserve to find a good college with a quality program where they can have a meaningful experience and focus on the education they want. Therefore in 2020, the Center began a partnership with the Think College National Coordinating Center to lead the Accreditation Workgroup and starting a program accreditation agency for inclusive higher education. In the last year, the Center has played a pivotal role in the development and implementation of a national accreditation process for inclusive postsecondary education programs.


For more information about the Center for Disability and Education, visit their website


Getting on Track with School or a Job with Starbridge

Project ESTEEM is a free service for youth ages 18-24 who want an education or career and need help with:

  • Exploring career options
  • Preparing for TASC (TASC is an exam that measures academic achievement equivalent to having graduated from high school) college, or occupational training
  • Preparing your resume, practicing interview skills, and searching for jobs
  • Paid work experience
  • Transportation assistance
  • Managing money

For more information, call Den’Nise Meeks at 585-224-7212 or email

College Programs

ACE @ MCC (Access to College Experiences @ Monroe Community College)

Monroe Community College, Downtown Campus, 321 State Street. Rochester, NY 14608

The ACE @ MCC Program offers students with intellectual and developmental disabilities an opportunity to participate in college experiences that focus on employment readiness, social inclusion, and skills for independence. Monroe Community College partners with Arc of Monroe and the Greece School District to provide a program comprised of four main parts: internships, both on and off campus; social experiences including interacting with peers on campus, joining clubs, and participating in events and activities; employment readiness and life strategies training; and the option for academic enhancement while auditing one MCC course per semester.

Contact: Jean McCrumb,, (585) 685-6216


Bridge to Earning, Learning and Living (BELL)

Roberts Wesleyan University, 2301 Westside Drive, Rochester, NY 14624

The Bridge to Earning Learning and Living (BELL) Program is an inclusive postsecondary certificate program offered by Roberts Wesleyan University on campus for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are transitioning to adulthood. The program is a partnership between CP Rochester, Monroe 2 Orleans BOCES, and Roberts Wesleyan University.

The BELL Program focuses on authentic inclusive experiences that provide academic enrichment, socialization, and the acquisition of life and vocational skills necessary for sustainable and gainful employment. A key component of this program is that all members of the campus community can benefit from inclusive experiences.

All courses, activities, and work experiences are catered to students’ individual career goals and interests. Personal enrichment, independence, and preparation for competitive employment after graduation are goals for all students.


Contact: Mikaela Potter,, 585-594-6610


Ontario ARC’s College Experience program, with locations at Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC), 3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua, NY 14424

and Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS), 311 Pulteney Street

Geneva, Ny 14456

is an innovative approach to post-secondary education for individuals with disabilities or other challenges. These college campus environments provide personal growth opportunities surrounding work, life, and social skills with the end result being employment, just like traditional college students. Options available to enhance the experience include auditing classes and access to campus extracurricular activities, athletic facilities, and other student life activities. For ages 18 and over.

Contact: Wendy Nelson,, 585-919-2163


Syracuse University, 300 Huntington Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244

InclusiveU brings students of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities who want to experience college life in a fully inclusive setting to Syracuse University. We offer REAL opportunities for our students to participate in every aspect of campus life. SU coursework, sporting and social events, and our strong, inclusive community are what makes InclusiveU a success. Syracuse University is known all over the world as a leader in disability and higher education. At SU, we celebrate disability because it makes our campus stronger, more diverse, and much more interesting; until everyone is included, there is no real inclusion for anyone. InclusiveU is an initiative of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, committed to individualized and inclusive higher educational opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Contact: Beth Myers,, 315-443-4058, link to program Facebook page


Exploring Employment

Marilee Boylan, Director of Employment Programs, University of Rochester Medical center, Strong Center for Development, describes Project Search®

“The Project SEARCH® Transition-to-Work Program is a unique, business-led, one-year employment preparation program that takes place entirely at the workplace. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training through worksite rotations. The program culminates in individualized job development.

The goal for each program participant is competitive employment. To reach that goal, the program provides real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent-living skills to help young people with significant disabilities make successful transitions to productive adult life.

The Project SEARCH model involves an extensive period of skills training and career exploration, innovative adaptations, long-term job coaching, and continuous feedback from teachers, skills trainers, and employers. As a result, at the completion of the training program, students with significant intellectual disabilities are employed in nontraditional, complex and rewarding jobs. In addition, the presence of a Project SEARCH program can bring about long-term changes in business culture that have far-reaching positive effects on attitudes about hiring people with disabilities and the range of jobs in which they can be successful.”

Project SEARCH® Sites in Monroe County

Please click on the following work sites to learn what a typical day looks like and to see the many internship opportunities available through each organization.


Please see the website for additional sites throughout New York State!


Contact: Marilee Boylan, M.S., Director of Employment, (585) 276-6449


Starbridge Pre-Employment Programs

Starbridge’s Community Pre-Vocational Service is a 100% community-based, small-group program designed to support growth towards employment readiness.

Our counselors get to know every participant and provide an active and engaging experience. Groups have no more than four participants at a time, and individuals rotate groups and counselors during the program. Participants experience a variety of community settings each day, year-round.

We believe in Employment First. Our goal is to support you in developing the skills you want and need to get the job that is right for you. Contact us today!

Referral forms for Care Managers:

Starbridge Internship Program

Starbridge’s Internship Program is a great way for youth and adults to gain work experience! If you are a job seeker and have eligibility through NYS ACCES-VR, you gain 160 hours of paid work experience in a career that interests you. If you are a business owner or manager, you get the opportunity to try out a potential employee through a structured intern experience – at no cost to you!

To learn more about the Starbridge Internship Program, contact Jeff Diekvoss at

585-224-7261 or

Starbridge’s Employment Counselors can help to search for a job and provide job coaching as well. See our website to learn more.

Self-Direction Opportunities

Would your child like to custom-build a plan for life after high school? Self-directing your services allows your loved one to choose from a wide variety of learning, earning, and living options at home and in the community. Please see this website to get started on your personalized journey.

Widening the Circle: Exploring New or Lesser Known Initiatives Serving People with Disabilities

Tyana Velazquez-Smith, Founder/CEO of Sensational Inclusion, describes this unique organization:

“At Sensational Inclusion, our mission is to transform educational landscapes by championing equitable educational ecosystems. We specialize in professional learning for educators, offering comprehensive support to school districts, and optimizing curricula to ensure every student’s genius and potential are realized. Our approach is rooted in creating sensational learning experiences, where education is not just an experience but an honoring of the inherent genius that exists in all children.

Our commitment extends to providing sensory-rich, inclusive environments that cater to diverse learning needs. We empower educators and caregivers, enhancing curriculum standards, and celebrate each child’s unique abilities. Our goal is to nurture every student’s genius within a supportive community, fostering lifelong learning and discovery.”

Please visit the website to learn about their many offerings including: Tutoring, Family Services, Professional Learning, Curriculum auditing, Curriculum development, and Educational Consulting.

Contact information:

Sensational Inclusion LLC., Suite 106 25 Canterbury Road, Rochester, NY 14607

Phone: 585-­354-­5764


Additional Resources

New York State Adult Career & Continuing Ed Services ACCES-VR

Think College

Additional College Programs:

Keuka College DRIVE

Nazareth University LifePrep@Naz

SUNY at Geneseo LIVES Program

St. John Fisher University Postsecondary Transition Program

University of Rochester TOUR

Additional Self-Direction Resource

In the Driver’s Seat


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