For high school special education students, the Work Experience program can be the first step toward successful job placement. This program offers students, who are nearing the completion of their high school education, an opportunity to gain exposure to a work situation in a supportive environment. Students are assigned jobs within the Goodwill organization, and their progress is monitored throughout the school year. By coming to Goodwill daily, students can take the first step in making the transition from an educational setting to the professional working world. Students are referred to Work Experience by their school districts and have the opportunity to work a variety of jobs within the Goodwill organization.


The R-word is the word ‘retard(ed)’. Why does it hurt? The R-word hurts because it is exclusive. It’s offensive. It’s derogatory.

Our campaign asks people to pledge to stop saying the R-word as a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people. Language affects attitudes and attitudes affect actions.  Pledge today to use respectful, people-first language.

Join us on the first Wednesday of March and every day of the year, as we take the pledge to end the word.

Learn more at


Who is appropriate for Work Experience?

Typically high school students in their senior year who are identified by the participating high schools are appropriate referrals for this program. The student, parents and their interdisciplinary team will then determine whether or not they choose to participate in Work Experience. Students must be medically stable and be able to self-administer all medications. They also must be independent in, or have arrangements made for, all activities of daily living; have transportation arrangements made prior to admission; and meet all other criteria for admission to Goodwill programs.

What do students do while enrolled in the programs?

Students are assigned to jobs within the Goodwill organization. Work areas can include clerical, commercial contracts, custodial, production, and retail. In these job assignments, students perform the duties that would be expected of a permanent employee under the guidance of an on-site supervisor and the direction of a trainer. Accommodations are made to adjust the job to the specific needs of each individual student and account for any special needs.

What is the duration of the programs?

Students typically participate in the Work Experience program throughout their senior year on a daily basis; however, times can vary. A schedule is determined permitting students to participate in academic classes required to meet their graduation requirements, while still allowing time for involvement in work activities. Upon completion of program, students are assisted with job placement.

Are the students paid for work completed in the programs?

Students are paid minimum wage while gaining valuable vocational training in the in the Work Experience program.

How is the student’s progress monitored?

Students will remain in one work area for approximately six to eight weeks. At the end of each Work Experience program rotation, a progress staffing is conducted. At that time a general report is given regarding the activities in which the student has participated, areas of growth and concern are discussed, decisions are made regarding the work assignment and suggested goals and objectives are proposed.

Work Experience General Admission Criteria

  • Must have an identifiable and documented vocational disadvantaging condition.
  • Must be 16-21 years of age.
  • Must be able to independently care for personal needs (with or without the support of a physical care attendant).
  • Must be motivated to comply with the program to which admission is being requested.
  • Any maladaptive social behavior must be under reasonable control to prevent interference with program/agency operations.
  • No evidence of violent activity within the last 90 days (P&P 210)
  • Must have living and transportation accommodations established prior to enrollment.
  • IQ in excess of 36.


Download our Participant's Handbook

Work Experience Contact Info


(402) 522-7236

Contact Us


Questions About a program?

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.