What’s Next? Are you ready for life after high school? DHS 4097 (pdf)

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

Are you ready for life after high school?

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why
  • How
  • Questions
  • Answers

Working Together For Your Future

Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)

Chicago Public Schools (CPS)  Partnership

What is DRS?

DRS is a division of the Illinois Department of Human Services devoted to assisting individuals with disabilities to achieve their goals for employment, education and independent living.

What is the DRS-CPS? Partnership Initiative?

DRS and CPS work in partnership to ensure youth with disabilities have the knowledge, skills and experiences needed to successfully transition into adulthood. These services may occur within or outside of the student's school. When students plan ahead for adult life, they are more likely to:

  • complete school
  • get a job
  • earn more money
  • live independently

"I remember months before I was graduating, it was hard finding a job. Thanks to DRS and CPS, who not only helped me but many more graduates to succeed, after 6 weeks of on-the-job evaluation I was hired at McDonald's. I really enjoyed the training and am thankful for DRS and CPS. They helped prepare my life for the real world and to become independent and responsible. Special thanks to my case manager."

- CPS Student, Class of 2014

"In the fall, I am attending the University of Tennessee on a partial scholarship. Even with my FAFSA, I still come up a little short. Thankfully, my case manager put me in contact with DRS who is now covering the rest of my costs-I am very thankful!"

- DRS Eligible CPS Student, Class of 2014

Who May Be Eligible?

DRS works with students with a wide range of disabilities. Many students who receive specialized services in high school qualify for DRS services. However, eligibility is considered on an individual, case-by-case basis. A student with a disability may be eligible if s/he needs assistance in the following areas:

  • transitioning from high school to employment and/or postsecondary education
  • preparing for and finding a job
  • skill development needed to enter the workforce
  • support services and/or assistive technology for college or for entering the workforce

How Can the DRS-CPS? Partnership Help You?

Once a student is eligible for services, a DRS counselor works with the student to develop a plan for employment. The services outlined in the plan are delivered by both CPS and DRS. Below are the steps of the process.

  • Decide on an employment goal

Students work with the DRS counselor and CPS teacher to determine their job interests and an employment goal.

  • Develop a plan

The plan is developed with the DRS counselor, and includes services needed and how they are provided.

  • Follow the plan

Student progress is monitored by the DRS counselor.

  • Reach the goal

The student and DRS counselor work together to reach the final employment goal.

What Services May Be Available?

During High School

During high school, CPS provides transition services for students who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Each service is tailored to the student's needs based on their goals for postsecondary education or training, and employment as identified in the student's IEP. When a student submits a referral for DRS services during high school, it creates a link to the agency that can ensure a smooth transition to supports in employment and postsecondary education after graduation. Below are examples of some services offered by CPS:

  • Job Placement
  • Job Shadowing
  • Job Coaching
  • On-the-Job Supports
  • Career Education Courses
  • Transportation
  • Assistive Technology
  • Transition Assessments
  • Independent Living Skills Training

After High School

After graduation, students who submitted a referral for DRS services during high school will change to a new DRS counselor for services and continue to work on employment goals. The link created ensures a smooth transition to supports in employment and postsecondary education after graduation. For qualified students, DRS may also provide financial assistance with college and vocational training.

How do I? Get Referred to DRS?

After a student is 14 1/2, a CPS staff member, family member or student can initiate a referral to DRS. A parent or guardian must complete the CPS/DRS referral paperwork and consent forms. If a student is 18 or older and their own guardian, s/he may complete the referral without parental consent.

The following documentation is needed for a referral to DRS:

  • Social Security Number
  • Individual Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan paperwork
  • Most recent medical, psychological and social history evaluations
  • High school transcript*
  • Current course schedule*

* Required for students planning to attend college

Your school will help you collect documentation and submit the completed referral packet. To request a referral on behalf of your son or daughter, please contact your special education teacher or case manager. If you would like to contact CPS transition personnel directly, please email drsreferrals@cps.edu.

Questions or Concerns?

Chicago Public Schools

Phone: 773-553-1851


Division of Rehabilitation Services

Phone: 800-843-6154


Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.

DHS 4097 (N-02-15)  DRS and Chicago Public Schools - Working Together for Your Future Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois. 3,500 copies P.O.#15-1278