REHACARE: How does KAoA-STAR work?
Eileen Witte: Entering the workforce for the first time is a unique challenge for young people with disabilities. That’s especially the case when the path is meant to lead to an apprenticeship and subsequent employment and not a sheltered workshop. KAoA-STAR supports and guides students based on their individual abilities and needs and helps to smooth their transition into the workforce.
The target group of KAoA-STAR are students at special schools or inclusive schools that accommodate severe disabilities (as defined by §2 Abs. 2 SGB IX) and / or students with a demonstrated need for special education support in one or multiple categories (in Germany this is determined by a so-called AOSF process) such as intellectual disability, hearing and language impairment, physical and motor development, and visual impairment. Students with a medical diagnosis of autism are also eligible and included in this target group.
The program is implemented by the local integration specialist service (Integrationsfachdienst, IFD). Throughout the individual career orientation process at schools, IFD staff works closely with the adolescents, their parents and teachers, building the link between students, parents or guardians, the school, businesses in the primary labor market and all other participating bodies.
Johanna Korte: The career orientation allows young people to address various standard components such as career aptitude, job and career exploration and internships – based on their interests, skills, and needs.
The KAoA-STAR program also offers additional disability-specific standard elements and assistive services:
- Functional vision assessment
- Site visits
- Job-related social skills training
- Career guidance seminar
- Communication training to promote effective communication for people with hearing impairments
- Transition support
- Use of sign language interpreters
- Job coaching services
- Assistive devices and technologies
The STARting point of the career orientation is the career aptitude test to determine skill levels, aptitudes and interests of the participating students. The applicable above-mentioned required standard components for each individual student are set up by the IFD specialists and in some cases by authorized agencies. The overall process is interspersed with so-called career conferences. These events include the important stakeholders invested in the student, including parents, IFD experts, rehabilitation counselors of the Federal Employment Agency and other parties to reflect on the results to date and to plan further steps. The individual results and experiences of the young people are recorded in a personal folder called the portfolio. The goal here is to facilitate a smooth transition from school to the workforce, vocational education and training or other career prospects.