Work Education Program


Designed by Liz McClure Sullivan

Work Education Program

What is a Work Education Program (WEP)?

  • The WEP is for high school students with a IEP (Individualized Education Plan) goals requiring they learn vocational skills.
  • The skills learned are aimed to help students make decisions about what they want to do after high school through hands-on-activities.

To begin a work program you would need to do the following things:

  1. Speak with your principal and special education administrator
  2. You would go out into the community and speak with local businesses. Ask if they would allow you to work in their building. The students would typically be covered by insurance through the school.
  3. Ask what type of jobs they would be allowed to do. You would need to make sure that these are tasks that your students can handle or are not too simple.
  4. You would need to speak with the person in charge of transportation to set up buses.

The students gain a lot of benefits from being in a community based program. They are in the real world, handling real situations. They lessons they are learning is taught through guided practice. This hands on approach is important for students with developmental disabilities.

The Work Education Program does not only exist in the community, it begins in the classroom. The following modules are classroom lessons that would be taught to prepare your students for the work environment and being part of the community.

Objective: Teachers will gain the significance of a community based work education program (WEP) in a high school. Participants will compose and construct materials for students in a WEP (Blooms Taxonomy Synthesis) Differentiate the lessons and aids for the students in their class (Blooms's Taxonomy Analysis), set up lessons for students in a WEP (Bloom's Taxonomy Synthesis,)and evaluate their understanding (Bloom's Taxonomy Evaluations)

Course Design: This course will be done on an individual basis. The lessons are broken into two units: in-class and community based.


In-Class Lessons

(Communication, Hygiene, Time, Dress)

Community Lessons

(Shopping list, waiting on line, money, working)

Notes To End On

It's hard for people to understand the importance of being a teacher or job coach in a work education program. You are not teaching students academics. You are teaching them something just as important. You are teaching them how to be part of the community and to be more independent in the future. The things that you are teaching them, are things that most people take for granted because they are things that we just know or do.



"The purpose of education, whether if is for a student with ASD of a student without disabilities, is to prepare that child for their future as as adult" ( Cimera, Burgess & Wiley p. 93).

Robert Evert Cimera and Sloane Burgess did a study to investigate if it is cost effective for adults with ASD to be part of a work program. This study focuses on people outside of high school. The study showed that is was financially beneficial for adults with ASD to work then to receive government subsidies (p. 177)



  1. How were you able to relate this mini lesson to your teaching experience?
  2. What part of this lesson impacted you most?
  3. What questions do you have?

Thoughts & Opinions

  1. Elizabeth McClure Portfolio Page

References and Resources For Work Education Program

Cimera, R., Burgess, S., & Wiley, A. (n.d.). Does Providing Transition Services Early Enable Students With ASD to Achieve Better Vocational Outcomes as Adults? Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 88-93.
Cimera, R., & Burgess, S. (2011). Do Adults with autism benefit monetarily from working in their communities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 34, 173-180. doi 10.3233/jvr-2011-0545