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About the MTI

The Massachusetts Transition Initiative is a five-year, federally funded systems change grant that began in October 1992. The grant is a collaborative effort of the Massachusetts Department of Education, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, the Department of Employment and Training, the Department of Mental Retardation, and the Institute for Community Inclusion (UAP) at Children's Hospital. The collaborating agencies made a commitment to helping students with disabilities in their transition to the community through changes from "the top" as well as through assisting school districts to access resources to implement effective transition planning for students with disabilities from school to the adult world.

The Vision

The vision of the project is that all students with disabilities in Massachusetts will become the center of, and actively involved in, planning for their own transition from school to adult life. Ideally, all of those students and their families would become involved in planning early enough (between ages 14 and 16) to develop the options and supports needed to achieve the lifestyle and goals that they desire for themselves.

The Model

The MTI is building a cooperative system at the local, regional, and state levels. Because many people who are not a part of any state agency are involved in transition issues, students with disabilities, the families of those students, school personnel, and all interested community members including professionals from local and regional agency offices have been invited to participate in supporting students with disabilities in transition.

Each of the state's 300 high schools has the opportunity to apply for funding to create a local transition planning committee (TPC), which receives training on committee building, person centered planning, transition planning and the IEP process, resource sharing, and data collection. The TPCs generally consist of local school professionals, parents, and other interested community members (e.g., businesses, local human service agencies). They serve as a resource to the IEP TEAM in identifying resources and in problem solving.

To facilitate linkages with other agencies, post-secondary institutions, and employment sites, and to enhance the access to resources, the MTI established five Regional Training and Technical Assistance Teams (RTTATs), which consist of state agency staff (regionally based), school, family and student representatives, and community/business members. The RTTATs provide additional training and support to the TPCs based upon nationally recognized models of best practices. In addition, through a number of activities such as its Interagency Agreement with the Department of Mental Retardation, its joint Youth with Disabilities Grant Program with the Department of Employment and Training, and its coordinated development of an electronic bulletin board with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, the MTI is expanding youth with disabilities' access to educational and employment opportunities and to learning and utilizing adult living skills.

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