What is Pre-ETS?

Since its inception in 2018, Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) has been instrumental in equipping students with disabilities with essential skills for a seamless transition from high school to post-secondary education or the workforce. Our Pre-ETS program is a collaborative initiative between EDSI and Employment and Independence for Individuals with Disabilities (EIPD), united in our shared commitment to empowering students with disabilities to achieve their full potential in education, employment, and beyond.

Program Highlights

  • Remarkable Success: Serving over 1,500 eligible EIPD students and extending its impact to 42 high schools across seven counties
  • Community Based Vocational Training (CBVT): Providing over 2,000 CBVT hours to Occupational Course of Study (OCS) students
  • Work-Based Learning: Facilitated 53 paid internships along with college and employer tours for over 500 youth
  • Consistent Performance: Maintaining high performance in fiscal reviews, program evaluations, partner feedback, and student testimonials
  • Paid Internship Opportunities: Offering merit-based, paid internship opportunities in which students can apply and earn $14/hr.
  • Program Year 2024 Internships: More than 20 summer internship opportunities are in progress

Pre-ETS Participants: Our Inspirational Students

Pre-ETS addresses the unique needs of students with disabilities, providing them with a comprehensive toolkit for post-high school success. Students participating in our program overcome many challenges and barriers in order to achieve success. Their resilience, determination, and personal growth during their journey in the program is nothing short of inspirational.

The Pre-ETS team offers an inclusive, supportive environment where students feel valued, respected and empowered to pursue their goals. Belonging and community spirit are cultivated within the program and students appreciate the peer support, mentorship, and camaraderie.

Over 1,500 students across various counties and high schools have benefited from the Pre-ETS program.

Pre ETS workshop facilitator in library with students
Pre ETS classroom students image
Pre ETS college visit image
Pre ETS students working with instructor classroom

Program Partners

EDSI collaborates with several partners to deliver Pre-ETS. These partnerships ensure a holistic approach to support students' transition to employment.

1. Local Schools

2. Employment and Independence for Individuals with Disabilities (EIPD)

3. Community Partners

4. Workforce Development Funders

5. Potential Partners/Clients

Together, we strive to provide comprehensive support, guidance, and resources to ensure that every participant receives personalized assistance tailored to their unique needs and aspirations. Through our strong partnership, we create pathways to success, fostering independence, confidence, and lifelong skills that pave the way for a brighter future for all.

Program Approach

  • Holistic Approach: Integrating job exploration, workplace readiness training, work-based learning experiences, postsecondary training counseling, and self-advocacy instruction
  • Community Engagement: Garnering widespread support from teachers, school staff, community partners, and parents to enrich students' educational experiences
  • Empowerment and Inclusion: Providing self-advocacy skills to students across a range of disabilities, ethnicities, race, and socio-economic backgrounds
  • Continuous Improvement: Utilizing feedback from students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community partners to enhance current curriculum and student outcomes
Pre ETS students working in classroom image
Student interns and volunteers onsite at the YMCA

Student Success Story: Riley Peacock


The Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) program in North Carolina is committed to equipping students with disabilities with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the challenges of transitioning from high school to the workforce successfully.

Riley Peacock joined the Pre-ETS program during the 2022-23 school year as a Sophomore with goals that included going to college after graduating high school and finding a job that allows her to be more independent. Throughout the year, Riley has excelled in the classroom, learned new information and put in the effort needed to gain valuable career readiness skills.

Due to Riley's great efforts, she was given an opportunity to apply for the Pre-ETS summer internship and was selected to be an intern! Riley was hired as an Operations Assistant with job duties that included greeting members, folding towels, filing membership applications, and cleaning the welcome area. Riley consistently met her goals and completed 120 hours at her internship site.

She plans to continue volunteering at the YMCA until she graduates high school. She would like to work at the YMCA after graduation and is looking forward to working independently and gaining additional job skills in the future. Riley is a wonderful example of a student that our Pre-ETS Program was made to serve and provide valuable skills for the workplace and for life.

Teacher Testimonial

Working with students that have Autism or need Behavior Support, there tends to be lots of focus on their behavior, emotional, and social skill support. While I make sure that we have lessons focused on transition skills, having Pre-ETS come in weekly has benefited my classroom and students more than I could have imagined. Many students do not want to go to a university or college and simply want to get started in the workforce. Pre-ETS was able to give my students confidence with their resume building skills, interview skills, and budgeting skills. My students looked forward to every Friday, knowing Ms. Price was coming to teach them. She brought outside people to come support different lessons and work with my students. My students were able to expand their social skills with the opportunities presented by Ms. Price and Pre-ETS as a whole. I am confident in the skills and connections my students were able to build with this program.

I cannot say enough positive things about Pre-ETS and Ms. Price. This program has helped equip my students with life skills that they will use for years to come. From budgeting skills to interviewing skills, I feel confident that Pre-ETS is giving students the confidence they need to be successful in life.

Blair Wilkes
Willow Spring High School
Autism and Behavior Support Teacher

Student Testimonials

"You will feel love here and you will feel safe. There are lots of things and people that help you. They take time and give you options and opportunities."

Asia - Pre-ETS student and YMCA intern

"Miss Hannah makes learning so much fun. The staff take time and help you understand things. The team-building activity was awesome."

Liam - Pre-ETS student and YMCA intern

Our Team

At the heart of our Pre-ETS program lies a team of 14 incredibly dedicated individuals whose selflessness, patience, and unwavering commitment are the driving forces behind our students' success. With a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by our participants, our team partners closely with schools, teachers, employers, and families to provide a hands-on, caring, and impactful experience. Through their tireless efforts, they create personalized pathways to success, equipping students with the essential skills they need to thrive in both the workplace and the real world. Their passion for making a difference in the lives of others shines through in every interaction, as they work tirelessly to empower our students to reach their full potential and achieve gainful employment.

Pre ETS team photo
Some of the Pre-ETS staff at a conference.

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