PAES is a great way to kick of your students transition to work and independent life.
If students experience PAES prior to going out to their first work experience in the community, they will be better prepared. They will have found out what work skills they are good at, and what work skills they like to do. But also, and importantly they will have learned and practiced the positive work behaviors that are expected on a job site. Because of all of this, their first work experience will be planned based on their proven work skills, abilities and work strengths. Therefore, they will be positioned for a positive first work experience, that will set them up for work success in the future.
We have 65 PAES labs in Minnesota, nine PAES labs in Wisconsin, and four PAES labs in South Dakota. PAES works really well for students with mild and moderate disabilities all the way through to students who function at high levels, but struggle with academics or behaviors that wouldn't be exceptable at work.
If you choose to NOT order the set up package because you want to source things on your own.
Consider these options:
Option for School Supplied Construction Work Bench:
Option is to order one construction work bench direct through ULINE and set it up on your own. Order 60" length particle board top packing table directly through ULINE.
Hint: You can order additional benches to use in your lab as stand up work tables.
Option for School Supplied Shelving Units:
Option is to order 8 shelving units direct from Home Depot and set them up on your own.
Hint: The set up package comes with 7 shelves, but preference is to order 8 shelves.
Optional Money Manager Program:
This is a Token Economy/School Store Set Up Program.
This is optional programming to run alongside your PAES Lab.
What about funding?
Districts have also written for transition readiness grants, local grants, used Carl Perkins funding, Comp Ed Funding, MA dollars, and of course IDEA general funds for purchasing PAES. In some state, funding through VR and WIOA have also been used through an agreement for schools to provide PRE-ets to students.
Here are some example grants that have been written and approved for funding.
District names have been deleted for privacy.
What about the in-service training? Who should attend?
PAES is a formal transition assessment of employment potential. All staff running the PAES assessments should be officially trained in as PAES evaluators. Typically you would send any staff that might work in the lab including teaching staff and paras and/or aides/job coaches. This is teaching staff from many areas of SpEd, including mild/mod ID, high/low ASD, BD, LD, etc. Many districts also invite their OT’s and/or DVR counselor to attend the training. Day one of training is 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. Day two of training is 8 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
What about staffing and scheduling for students?
There is a published document that gives the PAES staffing recommendations for administrators
There is also a published document that is a self-assessment for your lab after it is up and running, but this also shows the criteria for a lab that is run with integrity. This makes for a great planning document as well.
PAES Lab Self Check Inventory
Some labs assign staff to be in the lab working all day, and rotate students through. Some labs rotate staff through. Most labs however run several "work shifts" (class periods) per day, which are at least one hour long, and sometime 1 1/2 hours long. Some labs run 2 work shifts, some three, and even some very busy labs run four work shifts per day. It is recommended that students work in the PAES lab at least four days a week, but it is set up for five days a week, so five days a week is most typical. Students should be in the lab at a minimum of a semester. Some students are in for a year, some for two years. This is dependent on varying student abilities and scheduling. Either way, the goal always is to get them into the community for work or work experiences as soon as they are ready. If you have the staff and the space, you can run up to 10 students per work shift. See above staffing recommendations for pupil/teacher ratios. Smaller sized labs may only run 5-8 students per work shift. If your students function at lower levels, this will require more staff than with students who function at higher levels, so fewer students working at the same time in this case is common, sometimes even 3-5 students if the students function at low levels. It is recommended that you have one assigned person to keep track of your lab...the "work rules" and also keep track of the "inventory" on a day to day basis. There are many bits and pieces and equipment in a PAES lab, and you want to make sure you have someone detailed that can keep track of it all, and make sure the work shifts are run consistently. Most labs like to assign one person to be in the lab consistently over the course of the day. Some labs have an aide or job coach that are consistently in all day, and teachers rotate through. Others have assigned staff that are in all day, and the students rotate through. There are many scenarios. Most importantly to have trained staff in your lab, including trained aides, para professionals or coaches. This is because PAES is run completely different than a typical special education classroom. In PAES, we back off and give the least amount of assistance and see what the students can do independently on their own. There are many techniques and tips to help the students gain the independence for competitive employment that are covered and practiced in during the in-service training.
Transition Assessments & Curriculum at