Legislature Passes a Bill to Improve Students with Disabilities’ Transition from High School to Career
UPDATE- Signed by Speaker on March 9, 2022!
At Entrust, we actively advocate for legislation to improve opportunities for individuals with disabilities. This legislative session, we are closely watching Senate Bill 5790, Strengthening critical community support services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. SB5790 provides funding for students with disabilities across the state to access School to Work programs while attending high school. Currently, only seven counties have School to Work programs for students with disabilities and the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) estimates 873 eligible students will graduate in 2022. This could leave many students struggling to find access to jobs, vocational training, college, or career opportunities.
SB5790 implements several tools to make the transition following graduation more seamless for students and families. The legislation promotes regional, interagency transition networks. These networks will establish common guidelines to ensure all students have equal access to programs, but it also allows each program to remain local, autonomous, and flexible to meet regional needs.
The bill also calls for data sharing among the agencies that serve students with disabilities. Currently, each agency acts independently, which can lead to gaps in services through the transition process. This bill requires the DDA, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to share lists of eligible students to minimize gaps in services.
Finally, the bill streamlines collaboration, information, and navigation support to help students find resources and services following graduation, to help them succeed in their chosen life or career path.
SB5790 unanimously passed the Senate on February 14, 2022, and is currently making its way through the House. You can follow this bill or find more information about the bills status here.