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School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP)
The School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP) is designed to provide employment-related assistance to youth and young adults with disabilities, who are experiencing mild to moderate barriers to employment. Disabilities can take the form of physical, emotional, or learning disabilities. SWAP provides assistance that not only produces a desirable employment outcome (such as a career-path job), but also teaches appropriate job seeking and job retention skills that can be utilized throughout a lifetime.
SWAP is a collaborative initiative between the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and local school districts, and is supported by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). The SWAP program provides case management and direct services to youth who:
- Have mild to moderate needs in employment;
- Are applicants of or are eligible to receive DVR services (meeting disability documentation requirements and able to benefit from the program); and
- Need short-term support to become competitively employed and to achieve successful community outcomes.
Typical SWAP Services
Clients being served through SWAP are eligible for services typically provided through DVR, such as evaluation and diagnostic services, vocational counseling and guidance, physical and mental restoration services, and training. Additionally, SWAP may provide services such as:
- Career exploration
- Career development
- Employment-related instruction
- Job development/placement
- Case management
- One year of follow-up
SWAP Target Population
SWAP services would be appropriate for:
- Youth between the ages of 16-25, and
- Applicants of or eligible for DVR services, and
- Have mild to moderate needs in employment, and
- Will be ready to work after short-term service provision, and
- Typically living within the boundaries of a school district or BOCES participating in the SWAP program. (Youth who do not live in a participating district or BOCES may access vocational rehabilitation services directly through the DVR program).
Youth could be:
- In-School served by:
- Section 504 programs
- IDEA [Special Education] programs
- Suspected or known disability not under any other category
- Graduated or aged out
- Drop-out or at risk of dropping out
- Under or unemployed
The appropriate time for referral is when an individual’s primary focus is employment and they are available for services. Referrals can be made from the schools through the IEP or 504 process, through a DVR counselor, or directly to a SWAP office.