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Connecting Employers, Schools, and Youth Through Intermediaries

December 1, 2002

Partnerships between education and business have proven to be an effective means for preparing young people with disabilities for positive postschool outcomes. Employers, however, are often inundated by requests for participation, causing confusion and ultimately hampering relationships between the two parties. Intermediaries can coordinate the connection between schools and employers.

Tapping Employment Opportunities for Youth with Disabilities by Engaging Effectively with Employers

December 1, 2002

Early exposure to the workplace can improve the employment outcomes for persons with disabilities by enabling youth to develop employment skills and identify a career direction. Studies show that work-based learning experience, especially paid work integrated into curriculum, leads to improved postschool employment outcomes for all youth with disabilities, regardless of primary disability label or required level of support (Benz, Yovanoff, & Doren, 1997). Despite the demonstrated value of work-based learning experiences for youth with disabilities, participation in these experiences remains low (Colley & Jamison, 1998). It is clear that attention needs to be focused not only on workplace preparation of youth, but also on the workplaces themselves. Work-based learning experiences are based on available and willing employers. Examining employer perceptions of hiring and accommodating individuals with disabilities is an important consideration in making work-based learning opportunities available to youth with disabilities. This information can be used to improve the processes of establishing work-based experiences, identifying necessary workplaces supports, and eventually securing successful adult employment.

Addressing the Transition Needs of Youth with Disabilities through the WIA System

December 1, 2002

Interagency collaboration has been repeatedly cited as one of the most important strategies in helping youth with disabilities move successfully from school into employment and adult life. However, often the primary focus of the collaboration and planning between school personnel and community service providers has been on disability-specific services and not on other, more generically available programs and services.The passage of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 offers new options and opportunities for youth in transition. WIA has challenged communities to create opportunities for all youth that moved beyond traditional vocational rehabilitation and related services. WIA represents expanded opportunities to prepare youth with disabilities for the transition to employment by assuring both access to and participation in WIA-funded youth and adult services. These services may benefit youth with disabilities as they plan for and make the transition from school to work.