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Disability Employment Awareness

Disability Employment Awareness

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month
2022 Theme is “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation”


SMUHSD Partners with USGS to Offer Students Work Experience Through Step Up Program


SMUHSD Vocation Specialist Julia Payne will be participating in a nationwide panel discussion with teachers and scientists for the US Geological Society (USGS) about their Step Up Program in recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The panel discussion will be held October  27 at 10 a.m. 


Across the nation, USGS collaborates with school districts and other educational institutions that have work transition programs for students (mostly ages 18–22) with cognitive and other disabilities. It’s known as STEP-UP (Secondary Transition to Employment Program - USGS Partnership).


Burlingame High Teacher Jared Abbott serves as job coach for three students participating in the Step-Up program.  SMUHSD has had some really great partnerships with various USGS scientists since 2017. Students in our programs have worked on a wide variety of projects both on the Menlo Park campus, and remotely. Students have done tasks like data entry, digitizing and organizing documents, data analysis, cataloging rock samples, and analyzing soil samples. 


SMUHSD's Transition Team Recognizes Businesses Who Support Our Students Through Work Experience

We recognize National Disability Employment Awareness Month each October to commemorate the many contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy. The theme for NDEAM 2022 is “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation.” 

Did you know that the San Mateo Union High School District has a transition staff devoted to helping students with individualized education programs achieve their short and long term employment goals? 

The District transition team consists of three Vocational Specialists, one Transition Specialist, a Transition Assistant, and two Job Coaches.  The focus of the team is to help students in special education aged 16+ with the tools they need to be able to find and maintain a job.  Areas of focus include interest assessments, job application practice, resumes, interview techniques, soft skills training and work-based learning in the community with business partnerships.

A major goal of the transition team is to connect students to work-based-learning opportunities with community business partners.  The community business partners range from large corporations to small mom-and-pop stores.  Students are paid subsidized wages for their work-based-learning from the California Department of Rehabilitation and the WorkAbility grant while they learn entry-level skills that they can use to build their confidence, their resume, and their opportunity to have a positive reference for the future.   

Do you know a business who may want to support our transition team's effort to connect students to exploratory work experience?  If so, please have them contact Eli Poblitz at   

New partnerships in 2022: 

Burlingame Community Center, Fluffy Doggy Day Care, B Street Boxing, & Sunshine Daycare.   

The below employers have been outstanding partners and continually help to give our students a foundation to build upon.  Please support these local businesses who have supported our SMUHSD students!  

Our continuing partnerships include: 

In the News

SMUHSD's work-based learning program for developmentally disabled restarts after pandemic pause
San Mateo Daily Journal, January 3, 2022

With the return of in-person instruction across San Mateo County school districts, hands-on work-based learning programs for those with developmental disabilities have also returned, reigniting a mutually beneficial partnership for students and participating businesses.