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WIOA what?!?

No… that is NOT Iowa spelled incorrectly!  If you have heard the acronym “WIOA” it stands for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.   WIOA is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.


There are still lots of details to work out as this new process moves forward, so to help you have some basic information, here are several documents that may help you understand some of these changes:

  1.  Memorandum of Agreement notice between IVRS & the DE
  2.  WIOA Webinar Powerpoint  – Dec. 2015
  3.  WIOA Webinar – approximately 30 minutes
  4.  FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) 

All of the information above may be found on the Department of Education website under Special Education/Secondary Transition.

As more information comes out, we will keep you posted!


Job Interests Picture Inventory & Strengths, Interests, & Preference Visual

The Job Interests Picture Inventory is another great tool you can use with your students that may need a visual cue on possible employment options.Job interests picture inventory pic

This form was created by a fellow teacher, so a special thanks for both his creativity AND his willingness to share!  Helping and learning from others…. now that’s what we want to model for our kids, right?  🙂

So, since he showed us a great example, if there are other careers that you want your students to have to choose from, you now have a guide for creating one on your own.

You could do something similar by using pictures from a computer program like Board Maker, etc. to make a visual representation to help your students determine their strengths, interests & preferences.  Click Strengths, Interests, Preferences Picture Options for yet another great sample that was shared!

Keep all your great ideas coming!  Together, we can help make our kids/student’s transition as seamless as possible!





Look, Cook & Eat: Great Digital Cookbook option!

Check out this great website Look, Cook & Eat and then share it with your friends & families!  And it’s nice to know that this site was developed by a local Des Moines person.  It’s a great resource to utilize with our schools who teach more of a life skills program, so be sure to pass this site along to others, including your school’s Family and Consumer Science (FCS) teachers!

Look Cook & Eat

  • It costs $30 for a year subscription to a digital step by step cooking magazine for individuals with disabilities.
  • It shares easy to follow videos, and is a great resource!
  • It’s about being able to fix well-balanced but easy meals… something many of us  (well, at least myself!!) can always use!

So, check it out, and see if this is a perfect tool to help our students/children become even more independent!


Special Education Symposium – June 13-14, 2016

This is the save the date info we got on the upcoming Special Education Symposium in June in Des Moines.  It should be a great day of learning, so mark your calendars!  We will update this as we get more information!

save the date June16


Repeated Transition Training for Special Ed Teachers

Prairie Lakes AEA is offering a repeated session of our all day transition training for Middle School & High School Special Education teachers entitled Roadmap to Success:  Navigating the World of Transition on Wednesday, February 17th at the AEA Office in Pocahontas from 9:00 – 3:00.  This training must have a minimum fo 25 attendees and will be capped at 60 teachers.   (**This is the same training that was originally held on Dec. 9, 2015, and we are offering it again for those who were not able to attend the first time.)  This is a great opportunity for teachers to team together and find out all the changes that impact their students!  Lunch is on your own.   

Registration will close on Tuesday, February  2nd.  To attend, register by clicking: 

See the details pasted below.  We will be covering many transition topics, including basic information on Voc Rehab and County Waiver Services.  If you weren’t able to attend in December, we hope you can join us for a day of learning!

Transition Teacher Training flyer - Feb. 2016Please let us know if you have any questions!!












Please email us if you have any questions, and we look forward to a great day of learning together!



“My Next Move” website

My Next Move website is a great website by O*NET Online.  This site has three search tools:

1.)  “I want to be a…” section helps students explore whatever career they type in the search box.

2.)  “I’ll know it when I see it…” section helps students browse careers by various industries, which are in the drop-down menu.

3.) “I’m not really sure…” section helps students evaluate possible interests areas by completing the Interest Profiler.

my next move website

This site is a quick and easy way for students to explore various careers they are interested in, so when they have some extra time with “nothing to do,” have them log on and see what is involved in their possible interest areas.

For example, if you type in carpenter, you get a list of different careers in carpentry.  Just one of the career options gives you the information below:

my next move - careerAlso, there is a tab at the bottom left side of the home page if you have students/children who need to explore this website in Spanish.

So, bookmark this easy-to-use site for your child/student to explore!


Age of Majority – TRANSLATIONS are done!!

The Iowa Department of Education has just posted the Age of Majority documents in multiple languages on the DE Website!  This is multilingualgreat for our families who need to understand these important topics in different languages.  The links include not only the parent and student guides, but also copies of the Power of Attorney (directions and actual form) and a copy of the revocation of Power of Attorney (both directions & actual form).

The Age of Majority materials are now in English, Arabic, Bosnian, Laotian, Serbo- CroatianSpanish, and Vietnamese.   (Hint:  One district gives both the English copy, as well as, the copy in the family’s language to help them learn the words – – via the parent’s request!) Below are the links, which are also found on the DE web site at the top of this page:

Age of Majority Materials in English

Arabic Age of Majority Materials

Bosnian Age of Majority Materials

Laotian Age of Majority Materials

Serbo-Croatian Age of Majority Materials

Spanish Age of Majority Materials

Vietnamese Age of Majority Materials

Thanks, Iowa DE, for translating these for our families!!


Updated Junior/Senior Postsecondary Checklist

The Junior-Senior Checklist – for Postsecondary has recently been updated toJr-Sr Checklist better reflect a “to do” list for students before they head off for additional training after graduating from high school.

If you have copies of the original sheet, please recycle those and use this revised version.   The major change is due to the shift in Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

Your high school counselor is also an excellent resource for other postsecondary considerations.


Transition Training for Special Ed Teachers

Prairie Lakes AEA is offering a full day of transition training for Middle School & High School Special Education teachers entitled Roadmap to Success:  Navigating the World of Transition on Wednesday, December 9th at the AEA Office in Pocahontas from 9:00 – 3:00.  Registration is limited to the first 60 teachers, and registration closes on Tuesday, December 1st.   Sign up for this training by clicking:













Please email us if you have any questions, and we look forward to a great day of learning together!



FREE Career Connection Resources to check out TODAY!!

Both Iowa Central Community College & Iowa Lakes Community College have a great resource for you to call and check out today!!   Their Career Connections programs can help you  and your students explore local careers and gain work experience by linking you to area businesses for a variety of activities including:

  • Worksite Tours
  • Job Shadows
  • Internships
  • Career Exploration Activities

Both colleges are assigned specific schools that they can serve, which are listed below.  Please CALL or EMAIL YOUR DISTRICT’S CONTACT TODAY to see if they can help you connect your students to any of the services/activities listed above.  Oh, and yes…. and did I mention that this basically FREE to the school?!?!

Iowa Central Community College

Iowa Central Career Connections is a work-based learning program designed to help prepare students be successful as they transition into the workforce by connecting them to local businesses to explore an assortment of fulfilling career options. Their goal is to create a lasting impression on our future workforce by helping them attain the appropriate skills and knowledge of careers in their interest so they can be better prepared for life after high school as well as make better post-secondary decisions. Some of the services that they provide to help students explore careers are job shadows, internships, career exploration days such as Career Days, Career on Wheels, etc. They also organize worksite tours for students and teachers. Besides offering activities or events, they can provide mock interviews and career planning and assistance such as career assessments and personality tests. This last year, they worked with 5,719 students through their activities, events, and services.

Some of the other services they can provide are beneficial and useful to teachers. One of the biggest ways they can be of service to teachers is to set up classroom tours or guest speakers. Last year, they arranged 11 tours for 104 students  and 42 guest speakers for 776 students. This year they are focusing on trying to offer work-based learning opportunities for educators as well. Their goal is to offer 3 tours for teachers by providing stipends for their substitute teacher.  They also are currently working on developing an externship program during the summer.

Schools the serve:   Alta-Aurelia, Clarion-Goldfield,   Eagle Grove, Fort Dodge Sr. High, Humboldt,     Greene County, Laurens-Marathon, Manson NW Webster, Newell-Fonda, Northeast Hamilton, Paton-Churdan, Pocahontas, Southeast Valley, Sioux Central, South Hamilton, St. Edmond’s, St. Mary’s, Storm Lake, East Sac & Webster City



Iowa Lakes Community College

At Iowa Lakes Community College, students will explore various career opportunities and learn about necessary skills within various professions. Experts throughout the region from various industries and area businesses will provide first-hand knowledge sharing discussions with students who will have a chance to inquire further into a particular career field.”

In addition, Iowa Lakes will provide professional development opportunities for secondary students and teachers. Professional development opportunities will include the chance to job shadow, tour regional businesses and industries, participate in internships at a worksite, and join in career-advising sessions.  Professional development opportunities will help to incorporate the soft skill strategies needed for success in today’s market, as well as first-hand career readiness knowledge.

Serving School districts in:   Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Kossuth, and Palo Alto counties