Pre-Vocational Training Program

STEP-Up’s Pre-Vocational Training Program is designed for adults who need 1:1 Supports for Activities of Daily Living, Behavioral Supports, or Self-Management Supports.  Families of individuals in this program are responsible for providing a home health aide to accompany the trainee to Paxton Campus.  STEP-Up requires aides to attend a seminar (either through Paxton Campus or from an approved list of providers) in order to learn research-based methods of teaching independence to adults with disabilities.  Once aides complete the seminar, they accompany their trainee to STEP-Up’s Pre-Vocational Training Program,.  The trainee will undergo extensive assessments upon entry to STEP-Up’s Pre-Vocational Training program and staff will create goals to work towards independence in job skills, community skills, and daily living skills.

STEP-Up Pre-Vocational Training Program

Application: Families or caregivers will complete an application with information about the trainee’s daily living skills, behavioral needs, community skills, and job skills.  In the application, families should specify who the aide will be that will accompany the trainee to the worksite. CLICK HERE FOR THE APPLICATION

Training Aides: All aides will be required to undergo at least 10 hours of training (either through Paxton Campus or another approved vendor.)  Aides will be given a copy of standards of professionalism which they are expected to uphold when working with STEP-Up trainees.  Should a breach in these professionalism policies occur, STEP-Up Program Director will report this to the family of the trainee.

Policies in the event of an aide absence: If an aide is unable to come with the trainee to work, the family of the trainee should provide the STEP-Up Program Director with at least 48 hours notice.  If the Pre-Vocational Training Program is able to cover the staff for the day, the Program Director will inform the parents that the trainee can attend.  If coverage is not available or an aide does not give 48 hours notice, the trainee will be unable to attend the program until the aide is able to return.

Assessment Period:  The first two months in the pre-vocational program will be spent conducting assessments with the trainee to evaluate basic living skills (dressing, meal preparation, grooming, etc.), community skills (shopping, safety, etc.), and job skills.  From these assessments, the STEP-Up Program director will create a series of 3-5 goals for each trainee to increase independence in each of the aforementioned areas.

Basic, Community, and Job Skills:  The STEP-Up Program Director will create a daily schedule for each trainee to focus on learning the goals.  Examples of goals may be to independently complete a job skill in an area of interest, independently purchase items at the store, independently cook meals and clean up afterwards, independently brush teeth, or to stop at crosswalks.  The aide will then work on teaching the trainee the goals and will be expected to take data on the goals .  Once a goal is mastered, the STEP-Up Program Director will create more goals to continue improving independence in the aforementioned areas.

Day-to-Day Programming:  Each participant’s day will be broken up into one hour segments to address all goals and areas of programming.  Some programs may focus more heavily on job skills as the trainee begins to gain independence.  Some example schedules may be:


9:00-10:00 Individual Job Skills (Office Work) Individual Job Skills (Cleaning)
10:00-11:00 Group Job Skills (Assembly line production) Group Job Skills (Work requests)
11:00-12:00 Home skills (Cooking, cleaning up after meal) Home skills (cooking, doing laundry)
12:00-1:00 Hygiene Skills (Brushing teeth, flossing, shaving) Individual Job Skills (Cleaning)
1:00-2:00 Leisure Skills (Art Therapy, Music Therapy, etc.) Community Skills (Cleaning in community)
2:00-3:00 Community Skills (Shopping, purchasing, etc.) Individual Job Skills (Cleaning)


When to transition: To transition to STEP-Up’s On-Campus Vocational Training Program, a trainee should demonstrate the following skills:

  1. The ability to follow a series of 3-4 step directions (vocal, written, or picture schedule)
  2. The ability to work independently (without instructor proximity) for at least one hour
  3. No serious behavioral issues (aggression, self-injury, property destruction, elopement, etc.) for at least 3 months
  4. Ability to transition from a break to a work session independently (use of timer is OK)
  5. Ability to independently complete at least 10 different vocational tasks


When a trainee has met the above criteria, a transition plan will be created to systematically transition from a STEP-Up trainee to an intern through STEP-Up’s On-Campus Vocational Training Program