Where to turn for employment supports

Beginning with Pre-employment transition services

Pre-employment transition services, or Pre-ETS , offer students with disabilities an early start at career exploration and preparation for adult life. Beginning at age 14, students with disabilities can connect with the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services, or DARS, for Pre-ETS.


DARS works with students, their families, their schools and community partners to enrich transition planning and support students with gaining knowledge and experiences necessary so they may make informed decisions about their future.


Topics covered through Pre-ETS include:

  • Career exploration;

  • Work-based learning experiences;

  • Exploration of education and training programs for after high school;

  • Workplace readiness training to develop social and independent living skills; and

  • Self-advocacy.


Vocational rehabilitation services through DARS

The Consumer Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program helps people with disabilities get ready for, find, and keep a job. It helps to increase their ability to live independently in their communities. The Consumer VR program works with individuals with every type of disability. VR services include but are not limited to, vocational counseling, training, and job placement.

Who is eligible for vocational rehabilitation services?

Your loved one may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services if: 

  • He or she has a physical, mental or emotional disability; 

  • His or her disability keeps him or her from finding or keeping a job; 

  • Your loved one wants to work and will work with his or her counselor; and

  • Lives in the Commonwealth of Virginia

Applying for vocational rehabilitation services


Your first step is to download the referral for services to the right and submit it to your local DARS office. 

DARS counselors will review your loved one's application and determine if he or she is eligible for services. Remember, these services are not entitled, but based on meeting eligibility criteria.

If your loved one is found eligible for services, he or she will be assigned a vocational rehabilitation counselor. Your loved one will likely meet with their counselor within one or two weeks.

Meeting with the DARS counselor

When your loved one meets with his or her counselor, he or she will talk about his or her job plans & goals, disability, education, work history, and services that he or she will need to accomplish their goals. In addition, the counselor will discuss any financial contributions your family will need to make to receive the services. 

Individualized employment plan

The individualized employment plan details what DARS and your loved one will do, what services will be provided, how long the services will be provided and how progress will be measured.

Helpful links & resources

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© 2023 by The Arc of Northern Shenandoah Valley. 

Tel: 540-692-9650

Email: shenvalleyarc@gmail.com

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