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Competitive Employment Opportunities

Competitive Employment Opportunities (CEO) consists of preparatory experiences designed to help students with disabilities attain their career and postsecondary training goals. The model aims to expose students to career experiences, and equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in a postsecondary environment. A paid postsecondary training program for students, CEO is comprised of 3 academies:

  1. Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) Academy – 9th/10th grade students are exposed to work experiences in various fields in order to shape their field(s) of interest. Students will engage in instructional activities that provide a foundation of the skills needed to be successful in the workforce.

  2. CEO Mentoring Academy – 11th/12th grade students are paired with a mentor who works in the student’s career field of interest. Mentors and students work together to create a “Career-Focused Project” and students attend an 8-part professional development series from January to May. During the summertime, students apply skills learned by working an 80 hour internship at their mentor’s place of employment.

  3. Exercises in Transition (EXIT) Academy – Students who are in their final year of high school are engaged in professional development sessions and real life application designed to teach them how to navigate and manage the expectations of a postsecondary training or workplace setting.

Admissions Criteria

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Receiving special education services
  • Demonstrate consistent, timely school attendance
  • Be pursuing a Diploma, as reflected in the IEP Diploma Decision Status
  • Agree and adhere to the CEO student contract the and code of conduct
  • Willing to utilize public transportation to travel to and from program activities (free travel training is provided)
  • Express desire to engage in career training

Eligible, interested candidates may attain information about the CEO program from their school’s Workforce Development Coordinator, or by visiting CEO’s student application window opens in early Fall; eligible candidates are then extended an interview invitation and interviews are scheduled and conducted by school. Following the conclusion of all school site interviews, the CEO team sends out decision notifications to all applicants who interviewed. The CEO program kicks off in January of each year.

For more details, please visit our website at and the FAQ section.

Learn how to become a mentor.

For updates, news, and notes, follow us @DCPSCEOProgram.