New PAES® Lab Facilitates Career Exploration for Students in Special Education Classes

May 3, 2023 By IU13 Communications

MANHEIM, PA—To help students explore different careers, IU13 has installed a Practical Assessment Exploration System (PAES®) Lab – a uniquely designed work development lab filled with materials related to over 260 simulated jobs in: Computer Technology, Construction/Industrial, Processing/Production, Customer Service, and Business/Marketing. The new lab is located at the IU13 Central Education Center (CEC) in Manheim, PA.

So far, over 30 students from four classrooms have utilized the lab. “Students who have difficulty with positive social interactions within the community can now receive job training and assessment opportunities on campus,” said Krista Buckwalter, supervisor of Special Education Services at the CEC. “Through this process, students learn meaningful skills necessary for success after graduation.”

The student takes on the role of employee, and the teacher becomes the employer. The teacher uses the associated curriculum to guide the student through simulated jobs, assessing the student’s competitive work potential and interest level, with the goal of leading the student toward a fulfilling, lucrative career.

“Job trainers from various programs have also brought students to the lab to complete assessments,” Ms. Buckwalter said. “As the lab grows in popularity, we hope to increase its outreach to support students in the 22 local school districts.”

The lab was made possible by grants from the Steinman Foundation, CCRES, and Phillips Office Products. Learn more about the school-age programs and services offered by IU13 at: