The STAR Program has been involved with a multi-agency workgroup which has been working on ensuring Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) are available to students who are eligible and "potentially eligible" for Vocational Rehabilitation Services. STAR collaborated with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) and the Department of Human Resources (DHS) to develop programming to serve youth with disabilities ages 18-21. Each participant brought forward expertise in their specific area and funding was provided by a federal grant which was awarded to DEED.
The measurable outcomes of this collaboration included the STAR Program joining the MDE staff for "office hours" which allows the community to reach out with on a bi-monthly basis with questions about disability services, including AT. Awareness of AT and the reach of AT increased as the collaboration has lead to a proposed pilot program which will have the State Academies for the Deaf and Blind list their AT devices on the STAR's digital library. This collaboration is on-going and is recognized for its collaborative, professional and respectful environment. It has grown from focusing on one project to examining agencies' roles in creating more streamlined and effective ways for State of Minnesota residents to access AT. The collaboration is successful because of the respect each participant has for others and a willingness to "think outside the box.” The workgroup is working with Management Analysis and Development for guidance regarding future growth and development. The workgroup does not require standalone funding.