Youth and Transition Services

Youth Transition Services

We work with high school students who are transitioning from high school to post-secondary education and employment. Our goal is to provide the most appropriate counseling and guidance for your successful transition from high school to adulthood, independence, and employment. Because every service we provide is individualized, we will customize each student’s transition plan to meet their own needs.

Our Youth Services and Transition Unit’s goal is to promote competitive, integrated employment for Colorado’s youth through thoughtful career pathway development as a result of coordinated services with our education, workforce center and other adults service agency partners. We do this through our partners at Aspire, Project SEARCH, and School to Work Alliance Program. Get started by contacting a School liaison.


Colorado is one of six states participating in a western consortium implementing the Department of Education’s PROMISE Initiative.  ASPIRE stands for Achieving Success by Promoting Readiness in Education and Employment. Colorado, Arizona, Montanan North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah collaborated to recruit 2051 youth ages 14 to 16 who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to this experimental design.  One-half of the youth will receive a variety of interventions to improve their educational and employment outcomes. Enrollment closed April 30, 2016.

Colorado recruited 447 youth and their families.  222 randomly assigned to Usual Services, those that are currently available to youth.  225 randomly assigned to ASPIRE services, receiving enhanced services such as

  • Parent Education and Training provided by Peak Parent Center
  • Benefits Planning provided by Ability Connections Colorado
  • Paid Employment during High School
  • Youth Self Determination training provided by Peak Parent Center
  • Family Financial Education provided by Budget Right LLC
  • Comprehensive Case Management Division of Vocational Rehabilitation staff

ASPIRE began October 1, 2013 and continues until September 30, 2018. For further information, see or contact Robin Bauknecht:​

Robin Bauknecht, ASPIRE Colorado Manager/Site Coordinator
(303) 866-3364

Project SEARCH  

Project SEARCH is a high school transition program that is a business-led partnership with education, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and community partners. This real-life work experience helps youth with significant disabilities transition successfully from school to adult life. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands on training through worksite rotation.  

  • Colorado currently has three Project SEARCH sites:  
  • Boulder Community Hospital (Boulder)
  • Children’s Hospital of Colorado (Aurora)
  • Columbine Health Systems (Fort Collins)

Learn more:

School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP)

The School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP) is designed to provide employment-related assistance to youth and young adults with disabilities, who are experiencing mild to moderate barriers to employment. Disabilities can take the form of physical, emotional, or learning disabilities. SWAP provides assistance that not only produces a desirable employment outcome (such as a career-path job), but also teaches appropriate job seeking and job retention skills that can be utilized throughout a lifetime.

The program operates in all of Colorado’s local education agencies through collaborative agreements among the Colorado Department of Education, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and local school districts. Programs are typically housed outside of the school setting and in centrally located facilities staffed and managed by community-based coordinators and specialists with experience in business, education, social work and public health.