Making the Connections and Raising Expectations- Evaluating and Preparing for Innovative, STEM Employment

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to utilize methods to assess the interests, skills, and abilities of their clients.
  • Participants will be able to refer clients to an employer that matches their skills and interests for career exploration.
  • Participants will be able to identify their client’s barriers and challenges to workplace experiences.
  • Participants will be able to identify workplace accommodations for their clients.
  • Participants will be able to evaluate the goals and aspirations of their clients

Summary of Presentation

STEM careers – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – are the jobs of the future. As science and technology continue to expand into every facet of our lives, STEM fields represent a rapidly increasing percentage of US employment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be more than 9 million STEM-related jobs by 2022.

How can youth with disabilities access careers in this rapidly growing field? Real-world exposure to exciting tech-driven industries! STEMSkills Summer Camp helps youth build a future in innovative STEM-related fields by providing hands-on skills development, workplace culture training, and career exposure in partnership with high-performing tech companies.

People with disabilities can access high-demand, higher wage STEM industries when we implement the right approaches and supports – to both career seeker and employer. Through partnership with businesses, provider agencies, universities, and Vocational Rehabilitation, we can elevate expectations and help set youth on a path to STEM success!


STEMSkills founder Eric Duer is on a mission to create lasting career opportunities for youth with disabilities by building partnerships with technology-forward, innovative companies. For the past 6 years, Eric has been developing experiences for diverse youth with a variety of abilities, helping them secure jobs, while at the same time understanding the needs of business owners. Eric is captivated with finding employment opportunities for young people in STEM-driven fields, and has been highly effective in helping youth develop relevant skills for the jobs of the future.

In addition to STEMSkills, Eric has worked for a leader in transition, Fairfax County Public Schools, as an Employment and Transition Representative. He holds a M.Ed. in Special Education Transition from George Washington University, a B.A. in Education from Concordia University-Portland, and a B.A. in History from the University of Oregon. Eric also owned and operated a small business with 10 employees for many years.

Cross-Agency Coordinated Assessment Practices in the Delivery of Service for Transition Age Youth


  • Participants will learn about evidence-based collaborative and coordinated approaches to secondary transition assessment
  • Participants will be able to identify transition assessment definitions and requirements, as authorized by IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by WIOA
  • Participants will be able to discuss transition assessment planning practices that emphasize the interpretation and utilization of data.  


Michael Stoehr is a Knowledge Development and Technical Assistance Specialist with the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT). Michael assists states in collaborative inter-agency engagement to ensure the successful implementation of secondary transition legislation and effective practices. Michael holds a Masters in Secondary Special Education and Transition from The University of Kansas. Prior to working at NTACT, Michael worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education, through the PATTAN system as the statewide lead educational consultant for Secondary Transition. He has worked in the special education field for the past 33 years and has extensive experience in the areas of secondary transition, assessment, job analysis, and job coaching. Michael has presented extensively throughout Pennsylvania and nationally on a variety of topics including: transition communities of practice, effective transition planning, inter-agency collaboration, and youth engagement and self-advocacy