Vocational Apprenticeship Program

Connecting People to Work

The Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) Vocational Apprenticeship Program serves people around the state who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) or mental health challenges by offering classroom education and an integrated work experience in the community. With the skills they learn, graduates will have increased opportunities to find competitive integrated employment, where they earn at least minimum wage, interact with people without disabilities, and also have similar advancement opportunities as employees without disabilities.

Program Description

The Vocational Apprenticeship Program is designed as a one-year program. Each apprentice completes one to two apprenticeships in real and practical work environments to learn skills that will help them gain and perform competitive integrated jobs.

These real work environments facilitate learning while earning a wage. Apprentices also learn life skills in a classroom that increase their employability.

Program staff, job coaches, supervisors and co-workers provide individualized feedback to apprentices to enhance and develop their skills, strengths and interests. This support prepares apprentices for success and independence in the community workplace. The program benefits the apprentice, the workplace and the community overall.

Contact Supported Employment with questions or to request a meeting with a project member.

Participant Benefits

  • Paid work experience.
  • Job skills that make them more likely to be hired in the future.
  • Increased independence, confidence and self-esteem.
  • On-site instruction, support and accommodations in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Small group learning.
  • Practice interviews, feedback, and assessment of skills with program and host employer staff.
  • Supported occupational work environment.
  • Critical job readiness skills (“soft skills” like teamwork, leadership, etc.) taught in a classroom environment.

Applying to the Program

The application collects information about the applicant’s skills, abilities and work history. Applications must be submitted at least 60 days before the program begins. A selection committee will hold interviews, select applicants to join the program and may contact the applicant’s family or program service team for additional information.