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Pre-ETS program is now in New York; program to officially kick off in February

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

The Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) program for young adults with disabilities has expanded into the Empire State following an award of a $1.5 million from the New York

State Education Department. VIABILITY also operates the nationally recognized program in

Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The New York program is expected to officially kick off in February.

From left Brianna Lyons, a member of our Pre-ETS team in Massachusetts, stands with a student at a worksite, and serves as an example of what’s to come for the New York program.

VIABILITY ’s New York Pre-ETS program is approved to work with 65 area schools within the Hauppauge district and will offer students five activity categories — job exploration counseling; work-based learning experiences; counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or post-secondary educational programs; and workplace readiness. Within the categories, students may attend guest speaker events, job shadowing, volunteering, workplace field trips, and participate in self-advocacy exercises. VIABILITY’s goal is to serve at least 250 students each year.

“Pre-ETS prepares the students for successful long-term employment consistent with their

strengths, abilities, interests, and informed choices,” said Brenda Catalano, director of

VIABILITY New York. “The VIABILITY name is not as recognizable as other organizations in

New York right now. By diversifying our business and adding new programs, we’ll continue to get our name out there.”

Students will complete a five-week training course either during school hours or after, depending on the school’s preference and the students’ availabilities. Class sizes will be no more than 10 students at a time, and VIABILITY plans to repeat program offerings multiple times throughout the year in order to serve as many students as possible.

“Being able to work with the youth in the community is much more than a job to me. It’s a

passion and a blessing,” said William Escobar, Employment and Training supervisor. “The devotion and attention that is put toward programs and outside agencies, such as VIABILITY, to bring quality services to students is remarkable. I look forward to this new contract and now having the ability to reach far more students.”