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QSAC Launches Expanded Program for Transition-Age Youth with Disabilities

Are you a young adult between the age of 14 and 26? Would you be interested in free life and career coaching support? We have a new program just for you.

QSAC is excited to announce the expansion of our GOALS Program for transition-age youth with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. The expanded program builds upon the success of a pilot that we launched last year.

GOALS stands for Generating Opportunities through Advocacy and Learning that promotes Success. The program is available free-of-charge for students between the age of 14 and 26. Specifically, the program seeks to bridge the gap in services between high school and adulthood. The program provides a series of core offerings including:

  • Each learner is assigned a GOALS Advisor who works one-on-one with the student and their family to provide individualized ongoing support to help facilitate a successful post-secondary plan. The GOALS Advisor provides life and career coaching in addition to supporting the development of executive function skills (e.g., organizational skills, time management, etc). GOALS Advisors meet with students as frequently as one to two times per week depending on the student and family's preferences. Students still in high school can include the GOALS Advisor as an advocate in IEP and transition planning meetings.

  • Skills-based workshops seek to support a successful transition from high school to adulthood. Workshops focus on job-seeking skills, work readiness, independent living, self-advocacy, self-determination, social and interpersonal skills, and civic engagement. Students attend workshops for an average of five hours per week while completing the “onboarding” component. For six months, students complete a predefined learning series covering various content areas.

  • For students who exited high school without a diploma, we offer a New York State-approved alternate pathway to earning a high school equivalency diploma through our partnership with CASAS and the National External Diploma Program (NEDP). QSAC also offers industry-recognized credentials that demonstrate proficiency in those skills most in-demand in today's job market commonly referred to as "soft" skills. QSAC offers the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) and the Work Skills Certification System (WSCS).

  • QSAC facilitates a series of work-based learning activities to help expose young adults to an array of occupations. At the same time, these experiences seek to provide learners with hands-on opportunities to experience different types of careers to help inform their own career planning and to learn about different pathways to work as well as training that may be available and appropriate. Career awareness is critical to career development and planning.

There are four types of workshops offered as a part of the program: (1) 21st Century Success Skills, (2) Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination Skills, (3) Independent Living Skills, and (4) Social and Interpersonal Skills. Below are outlines of the topics included under each of these workshop types.

Social and Interpersonal Skills

Developing Self-Awareness

Personality traits

Communicating emotions

Handling and resolving challenges

Developing Friendships

Conversational skills

Choosing friends

Using text messages and email appropriately

Handling arguments and disagreements

Navigating difficult social situations (e.g., gossip)

Cultural Literacy

Exploring Leisure Activities

Living Independently

Daily Living

Using to-do lists

Handling stress

Grooming and making a first impression

Planning and Managing Your Home

Understanding a lease

Using utilities

Managing your home

Handling accidents when they happen

Understanding safety at home

Cleaning your living space

Buying and caring for clothes

Food and Nurtition

Healthy eating

Simple, but healthy meal preparation

Food shopping

Using the tools you find in the kitchen

21st Century Success Skills

Career Exploration

Understanding and planning for the transition to life after high school

Introduction to work-based learning

Employer expectations for the workplace

Career Planning

Developing self-awareness

Making career decisions and setting goals

Researching and preparing for different careers

Job-seeking skills

21st Century Skills for Workplace Success

Skills for succeeding on the job

Effective communication skills for work, independent living, and community

Applied math for the workplace

Using technology on the job

Teamwork and Leadership

Teamwork and problem-solving skills

Leadership development

Diversity in the workplace

The World of Work

Succeeding in today’s job market

Working remotely


Managing Your Money (Financial Literacy)

Understanding your money

Managing spending and budgeting

Understanding credit and insurance

Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Personal health and wellness

Managing family and work

Being a civic leader

Rights, Responsibilities, and Resources

Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination

What is self-advocacy?

What is self-determination?

Communicating Effectively when Advocating

Identifying Strengths

Advocating in School and Life

Individual Education Program (“IEP”)

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”)

Life Plan (“LP”)

Section 504 Plan (“504 Plan”)

Understanding the History of Disability Rights in America

Americans with Disabilities Act

Advocating in the Workplace

What is disclosure?

Ways of disclosing a disability to an employer

Reasonable accommodations

Civic Engagement


Government works for you

To be eligible for this program, students and young adults must:

  • Between the age of 14 and 26

  • Have a diagnosis of autism or another intellectual or developmental disability

  • Be willing to commit to the regular coaching sessions and workshop attendance including work-based learning activities

  • Work with QSAC staff to facilitate the application for services from the State's vocational rehabilitation agency to help support post-secondary employment success

For more information or to apply for the program, please click here.

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