Gov. Phil Murphy and Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education Kevin Dehmer recently announced $9.6 million in grant awards to fund programs that help students with disabilities, ages 18-21, successfully transition from school to adult life in the community.

The Maximizing Post-School Outcomes for Students with Disabilities grant is designed to foster positive post-school outcomes by supporting the development of vocational and independent-living skills for students with disabilities. The grants were awarded to the seven county special services school districts that provide educational services to students with significant special needs.

“Supporting New Jersey’s young learners means more than providing them with a best-in-the-nation public education, it means setting them up for lifelong success and ensuring they are able to thrive after graduation and well into their adult lives, regardless of their ability level,” Murphy said. “The grant awards announced today will directly support the long-term success of our students with disabilities, providing them with the skills and resources necessary to successfully transition out of school and into adult life.”

“The goal of this program is to increase the number of students with disabilities who transition out of the school setting ready to become engaged as active citizens in their local community,” Dehmer said. “We know there are already some excellent programs taking place, and we want to work with the county special services schools to establish new programs and improve on the efforts that are already taking place. We envision these school communities will have even greater programs in place to help their students with disabilities experience success after leaving the school setting.”

The one-time grants, funded from the State’s American Rescue Plan Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, will help county special services school districts establish new initiatives or improve existing programs for students ages 18-21. Each county special services school district will partner with local school districts and other entities to implement services that will assist students’ transition from school to the local community, based on each student’s Individualized Education Program. Each recipient county special services school district will identify a group of at least 10 students who can be provided with opportunities for work-based learning in community settings with an emphasis on social/communication skills, daily living skills, self-advocacy and self-determination skills, and integrated leisure activities. The grant encourages partnerships with state-approved entities to provide job coaching and supported employment.

“This grant not only assists with creating more opportunities that are customized for each student’s unique needs and abilities, but enables districts to set up young adults with a solid foundation for the next phase of adulthood,” said Jamie Moscony, chairperson of the Joint Council of County Special Services School Districts and superintendent of Cape May County Special Services School District. “The grant extends each district’s ability to solidify a program or employment placement for students through the use of job coaches and specialized supports before they age out of school. The enhancements of individualized job training based on student needs will increase positive outcomes for our graduates who are aging out of our special service transition programs.”

The term of the grant will run from June 1, 2024, to May 31, 2026. Award recipients and amounts are as follows:




Atlantic County Special Services School District


Bergen County Special Services School District


Burlington County Special Services School District


Cape May County Special Services School District


Gloucester County Special Services School District


Mercer County Special Services School District


Salem County Special Services School District