Career Centers Overview

Presentation by Davis and Pulley Centers to the Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities on November 14, 2018

  • Career Centers Overview

    PDF of the Career Centers Overview presentation by Davis and Pulley Centers at the November 14th, 2018 meeting for the Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities.

Thank you to each of the ACSD members for your work in support of special education services in FCPS and dedication to supporting all students and staff members in our schools.  


  • Chad Clayton – 2nd year principal of the Davis Career Center, 17 years in FCPS, has held a variety of special education positions within FCPS including teacher, department chair, and program manager for Extended School Year Services.  
  • Lonnie Bickel—5th year as principal of the Pulley Career Center. 20 years in FCPS, Emotional Disabilities specialist at Elementary, Middle and High levels. Assistant Principal at Rose Hill Elementary and Quander Road School.

At the end of this presentation you will know:

  • The role of Career Centers in FCPS.
  • The Career Center program goals, utilization of Virginia Department of Education Workplace Readiness Skills, & IEP team placement considerations.
  • The role of the Davis Secondary Transition to Employment Program (STEP) in FCPS.

FCPS Career Centers

  • Provide career and employment skills instruction to students with disabilities. 
  • Designed to serve students aged 18-22 years who require instruction through a modified curriculum focused on life and career skills.

Program Goals

  • Providing career and independent living skills training to students with disabilities ages 18-22.
  • Empowering a diverse population of students for transition to a variety of postsecondary options.
  • Providing students with the requisite skills for self-determination, independent living, and education for employment.
  • Coordinating the transition of all students with postsecondary service.

Instructional Settings

Instruction is provided in multiple settings, including:

  • Community Worksites (group/enclave and independent)
  • Classroom settings
  • Secondary Transition to Employment Program (Davis STEP)
  • Other community environments, such as: stores, restaurants, recreational facilities, and public transportation


  • School and community-based worksites, both supported and independent
  • Students are assigned to the worksite for an entire school year
  • Students go to worksites Monday – Friday.
  • Students are at worksites for up to 4 hrs/day.

Essential Job Skills

  • Davis and Pulley are not trade schools.  
  • We do not prepare and train students for a specific vocation.
  • Our goal is to provide instruction focused on skills that will make students employable.
  • While students do learn job-specific skills, we also focus on the work-readiness skills and “soft skills” required for all jobs.

What are "Soft Skills?"

“Soft skills” refer to a cluster of personal qualities, habits, attitudes and social graces that make someone a good employee and compatible to work with.

The soft skills listed are applicable to any job and/or work place. These include strong work ethic, positive attitude, strong communication, time management abilities, problem-solving skills, acting as a team player, being flexible and adapting as needed, working well under pressure, accepting and learning from criticism, and being a creative thinker.
Strong Work Ethic Act as a “Team Player”
Positive Attitude Flexibility/Adaptability
Strong Communication Working Well Under Pressure
Time Management Abilities Ability to Accept and Learn from Criticism
Problem-Solving Skills Creative Thinking

Workplace Readiness Skills

  • In Virginia, extensive research was conducted on employer needs that led to all career and technical courses incorporating workplace readiness skills instruction. 
  • Workplace Readiness Skills may be found in the first 21 competencies of every state Career and Technical Education (CTE) course.
  • We use these competencies to guide our instruction. 

Classroom & Community Instruction

  • Banking and Budgeting
  • Community Access and Navigation
    • Travel Training 
    • Community-Based Instruction (CBI)
  • Practical application of functional academic skills
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Resume writing
  • Safety Awareness
  • Interpersonal Skills

Placement Considerations

IEP Placement Considerations

Prior to considering a change in placement to a Career Center, the school team should consider:

  • The student has a desire to attend a Career Center
  • Student has participated in community work experiences 
  • Student has more than one year left of eligibility for special education services
  • Student demonstrates a need for employment and independent living skills instruction as evidenced by his/her IEP
  • Instruction at the Career Centers focuses on functional academics.
  • Considerations for the IEP team should include whether or not the student has completed course and testing requirements for VAAP, SOLs, etc. as we do not provide the instruction or remediation geared toward these assessments. 
  • If the student is still working toward a diploma, part-time enrollment between the base school and the Career Center is an option.

Secondary Transition to Employment Program (STEP)

  • The goal of STEP is to expand opportunities for students whose postsecondary goal is employment.
  •  This allows them to be better prepared to transition out of school as well as expand their exposure to the communities in which they will live and work.


  •  STEP is part of the continuum of services available to students at the Davis Center.
  •  Students continue to receive classroom instruction focused on social skills and independent living skills, CBI, and travel training.
  • STEP program placement is based on the student’s base school which may necessitate revisiting placement when considering moving a student from Davis into STEP.
  • Students may initially receive time-limited job coach support.
  • Students interview for positions, which may include paid employment opportunities.

[Pictograph] This pictograph was created by Lonnie Bickel to reflect the role of the career centers in Portrait of a Graduate.  The Career Centers are FCPS schools and follow all the same rules and processes within FCPS.  Our focus is on the successful transition at the center of the wheel.

Career Center Tours for ACSD Members

  • Monday, December 10
  • Davis Career Center – 8:30 AM
  • Pulley Career Center – 8:30 AM