The OPTIONS Vocational Program is designed to assist students in preparing for, obtaining, and maintaining employment. Our program offers a range of resources to help students identify their areas of vocational interest, including career exploration activities, internship opportunities, job counseling, and on-the-job coaching. By leveraging these resources, students can gain a better understanding of their skills and career aspirations, and be placed within an appropriate job setting that aligns with their vocational interests.

To support students throughout this process, our program has a dedicated Vocational Coordinator who works closely with each student. Our counselor assists with locating internship opportunities, providing classes on portfolio development and interview basics, and much more. With the help of our counselor, students can build a strong foundation for their future careers. By offering these services and resources, the OPTIONS Vocational Program aims to help students succeed in their chosen career paths and achieve their long-term employment goals.

Vocational Services Include:

Vocational Seminars

OPTIONS students participate in vocational seminars to acquire the professional skills that will benefit them in their careers. Led by our Vocational Coordinator, these allow students to explore their individual vocational interests while learning to build a portfolio and adopt essential workplace etiquette.


Seminar offerings:

  • Career Exploration
  • Portfolio Development
  • Critical Thinking
  • Workplace Ethics
  • Customer Service seminars
  • Employment Strategies
  • Interview Basics
  • Job Social Skills
  • Vocational Support
  • Vocational Transitions

The Internship Program

The OPTIONS Internship Program matches a student’s skills, abilities, and widely varied interests to one of the numerous internship sites within the Southern Illinois community. Our Vocational Coordinator ensures that community partners feel that these relationships are successful, and Internship Performance Reviews—as well as other communications—allow them, the OPTIONS team, and students to target and refine transferable skills.

Opportunities include:

  • Culinary
  • Veterinary
  • Customer Service
  • Community Infrastructure & Outreach
  • Radio and Telecommunication
  • Graphic Design
  • Data entry

Vocational Support

Students meet individually with an OPTIONS Vocational Coordinator for a weekly Vocational Support session. This meeting is tailored to the student’s existing vocational needs, generally offering time to review internship performance, apply for paid positions, develop interviewing skills, review internship or workplace expectations, discuss how to communicate with or advocate to an internship or work supervisor, and to converse about workplace social skills and customer service skills.

… how does this tie into our Individualized Instruction model?

Our Vocational Program is invested in identifying each student’s career ambitions and strengthening their skillsets accordingly. Students’ experiences in relevant internship placements are geared toward helping them understand, adapt to, and thrive in their professional lives. We want each student to find both independence and fulfillment in their futures.