Publications A to Z

Apprenticeship Workshop Training Modules

With the support of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment PolicyNCWD/Youth developed two sets of apprenticeship training modules and a strategic planning exercise that can be used after either module. The modules can be used by individuals to learn independently about apprenticeship, or a facilitator can use the modules to train groups. These materials will be useful for youth service professionals, workforce board administrators, state and local apprenticeship coordinators, representatives from community colleges and other training providers, and potential and current apprenticeship employers.

Assessment Jump Start

To make the transition successfully from school to adult life and the world of work, adolescents and young adults need guidance and encouragement from caring, supportive adults. Developing the ability to make informed choices and to understand the implications of those choices should be explicit goals early in the transition process. The best decisions and choices made by transitioning youth are based on sound information including appropriate assessments that focus on the talents, knowledge, skills, interests, values, and aptitudes of each individual.

Assessment Quick Reference Guide

The guide gives an overview of the process of collecting information that can be used in decision-making, career-planning, and service plan development for a young person.

Ayudando a los jóvenes a Desarrollar Habilidades Sociales para tener Éxito en el Trabajo: Consejos para los Padres y las Familias

Este breve informativo trata la importancia de las habilidades sociales y ofrece estrategias que los padres pueden usar para ayudar a sus hijos a desarrollar habilidades para el éxito en el trabajo.

Benefits Planning for Youths with Disabilities

The guide helps those assisting youth with disabilities navigate the range of state and federal government programs and benefits for people with disabilities in the United States.

Blazing the Trail: A New Direction for Youth Development and Leadership: Youth Call-to-Action

Based on findings from the NCWD/Youth-organized Blazing the Trail summit in August 2007, the eight-page, youth-friendly Youth Call-to-Action outlines ten actions that youth can take to enhance their development and become leaders in their community and the nation, including learning about their rights and responsibilities, becoming a self-advocate, learning about disability history, researching scholarships, participating in work experiences, training youth workers, and more.

Blazing the Trail: A New Direction for Youth Development and Youth Leadership

This report identifies challenges that surfaced during discussions at the Blazing the Trail Conference and the next steps to be taken by all stakeholders in the field of youth development and youth leadership.

Blending And Braiding Funds And Resources: The Intermediary As Facilitator

This InfoBrief focuses on how intermediary organizations can facilitate the blending and braiding of funds and resources to encourage cross-systems collaboration and, in turn, to improve the educational and employment outcomes for all youth, including those with disabilities. This brief identifies strategies that states can use to support local communities in the “blending” and “braiding” of resources, and outlines how cross-systems collaboration and alternative funding strategies can be facilitated by intermediary organizations.

Breaking Down Technological Barriers

This InfoBrief describes assistive technology and accessible information and gives policymakers information on federal and state accessibility legislation, laws and requirements.

Building an Infrastructure to Serve Youth

This short cut provides readers with information on how to provide cross-agency cooperation to maximize available expertise and leverage funding streams. This document includes best-practices and an action plan to assist organizations in getting started.

Building Lasting Connections to Employers: Developing Community-Wide Intermediaries

This research brief focuses a new type of organization which is changing how employers are engaged in workforce investment. These organizations operate as community-wide intermediaries, linking an array of service providers to businesses and to each other.

Bullying and Disability Harassment in the Workplace: What Youth Should Know

This InfoBrief is designed to help youth, including youth with disabilities, recognize signs of bullying in the workplace, and to recognize how bullying differs from disability harassment. The brief offers examples of bullying situations at work and offers strategies to help address the issue. Much is understood about the negative consequences of bullying at school, but youth should also be made aware that bullying does not end at school. It is often encountered at work as well.

Career Exploration in Action: An Innovative Strategies Practice Brief

This Innovative Strategies Practice Brief provides practical examples and resources used by promising and exemplary youth programs to engage youth in career exploration. The youth programs and school systems featured in this brief have been recognized by NCWD/Youth as Innovative Strategies.

Career Planning Begins with Assessment: A Guide for Professionals Serving Youth with Educational and Career Development Challenges

This guide serves as a resource for multiple audiences within the workforce development system. Youth service professionals will find information on selecting career-related assessments, determining when to refer youth for additional assessment, and additional issues such as accommodations, legal issues, and ethical considerations. Administrators and policymakers will find information on developing practical and effective policies, collaboration among programs, and interagency assessment systems.

Career-Focused Services for Students with Disabilities at Community Colleges

This case study report examines the efforts of community colleges to function as intermediaries in meeting the local workforce development needs of employers and promoting career opportunities and job attainment for students, including those with disabilities.

Charting the Course: Supporting the Career Development of Youth with Learning Disabilities

This Guide is intended to help practitioners, administrators, and policymakers in secondary and postsecondary education programs, transition programs, One-Stop Career Centers, youth employment programs, and community rehabilitation programs to improve services and outcomes for youth, ages 14 to 25, with diagnosed and undiagnosed learning disabilities. This Guide includes numerous quick reference charts, tables, and tools for counselors, career advisors, and other professionals who work directly with youth. In-depth information is provided on a variety of topics, including the types and impact of learning disabilities, needed supports, and research-based interventions. This Guide is intended to increase awareness of the fact that the workforce development system serves many youth who have learning disabilities that may never have been identified and many others who may know they have a learning disability but choose not to disclose. Although focusing primarily on youth with learning disabilities, many of the strategies and approaches advocated in this Guide, which are premised on universal design, may be of practical use for other youth.

Comprehensive Career Planning and Its Role in the Competitive Global Economy

This white paper chronicles the gaps and inconsistencies in implementation of career guidance services in and out of schools, as well as the lack of measures for career development and guidance services in America. The paper posits that these challenges stem from the lack of a governmental policy framework that promotes the systematic value of career guidance services as a strategy for meeting economic and security needs of the nation. The paper offers a number of recommendations, including: 1) improving the quality of the K-12 school career development and guidance system; 2) increasing the capacity of postsecondary and workforce development programs serving out-of-school youth and at-risk populations; 3) convening policy makers and researchers to develop consensus on performance measures definitions; and 4) improving professional development opportunities for staff involved in career development and career guidance services.

Core Competencies for Youth Service Professionals: Guiding Youth Toward Employment

This InfoBrief identifies the benefits to the workforce development system, youth, and the community gained through the professional development of youth service professionals. The brief includes a five-step plan for organizations interested in supporting the professional development of youth service professionals.

Cyber Disclosure for Youth with Disabilities

This document is a supplement to The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities which helps youth learn about disability disclosure and what it means for them. Search sites like Google, social networking sites like Facebook, and micro-blogging sites like Twitter have added a new element to disclosure. Now it is possible to disclose disability status on the internet without even being aware of it. This can be as simple as a picture of a person using a wheelchair, a comment on a friend’s blog about disability, or a profile posted on a disability organization’s website. The goal of this document is to provide youth suggestions on how to make informed decisions about their own disability disclosure and to manage their disclosures online.

Developing a Professional Development System for Youth Service Professionals

This Info Brief describes the current status of and opportunities for a comprehensive cross-disciplinary professional development system for youth service professionals. It also discusses next steps for systems, professionals, and policy makers.   

Disability Inquiries In The Workforce Development System

This InfoBrief is for those working in One-Stop centers as well as youth and adult service providers who interact with individuals with disabilities. It is designed to help clarify what you can and cannot ask about someone's disability.

Districts Nationwide Embrace Individualized Learning Plans To Help All Students Become College and Career Ready

This article focuses on the promising early results of individualized learning plans and successful implementation practices and strategies to break down barriers within schools and between schools and the community.

Engaging Youth in Work Experiences: An Innovative Strategies Practice Brief

This Innovative Strategies Practice Brief provides practical examples and resources used by promising and exemplary youth programs to engage youth in work experiences. Work experiences are both paid and unpaid opportunities to work and practice career readiness skills. The work experiences described in this brief include internships, summer jobs, youth-run businesses/entrepreneurship, service projects and volunteer work, and part-time jobs. The youth programs featured in this brief have been recognized by NCWD/Youth as Innovative Strategies.

Everybody Learns, Everybody Works: Using Universal Design for Learning in Workforce Development Programs

This InfoBrief for professionals who work directly with youth in workforce development programs explains the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), an educational model that makes any general curriculum accessible to all learners, regardless of learning style. The brief describes how UDL principles can be used in work experiences and training settings to moe effectively and efficiently engage all youth, including youth with disabilities.

Facilitating Employer Engagement Among Wib Partners: A Role For Intermediaries

This InfoBrief focuses on how Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) can ensure strong business leadership roles in their state and local workforce systems by creating and fostering intermediaries that effectively link employers with One-Stops and their partners. Strategies and examples are shared that illustrate how intermediaries can facilitate, coordinate, and streamline employer engagement responsibilities among WIB partners.

Financial Literacy Information For Young People With Disabilities

This InfoBrief describes the federal and state initiatives that provide financial literacy information for young people with disabilities to learn how to save money and build assets.

Foster Youth Demonstration Project: Final Evaluation Report

This evaluation report shows the results of demonstration projects in five states around foster care and youth transition.

Graduation Requirements and Diploma Options for Students with Disabilities: What Families and Advocates Need to Know

This InfoBrief explores the importance of making informed decisions about diploma options, understanding the consequences of graduating with different types of diplomas as well as the need for youth, families, and Individual Education Program (IEP) teams to consider these issues early.

Graduation Requirements and Diploma Options: What Families Need to Know (Dec. 2010/Jan. 2011 article in National PTA Magazine)

This article published in the December 2010/January 2011 issue of Our Children, the National PTA Magazine, provides guidance for parents and families on helping students understand graduation requirements and diploma options. Families play a critical role in helping their children understand the options, define college and career goals, and choose a pathway to earning a diploma. For parents of students with disabilities, it is especially important to understand the differences between the standard diploma and any alternatives offered by the school.

Guideposts for Employers Success

The Guideposts for Employer Success are organized with the explicit purpose of helping workforce development policy makers and program providers reduce identified barriers. There are two categories within the framework. The first focuses on what system designers (state and local) need to do. The second looks at what individual programs which include a wide array of education and training institutions such as community rehabilitation centers, secondary and post secondary institutions, apprenticeship programs, and One-Stop Centers need to do.

Guideposts for Success

The transition from youth to adulthood is challenging for almost every young person. This is particularly true for young people with disabilities. Yet, it is in those crucial transition-age years that a young person's future can be determined. The Guideposts addresses what all youth, including youth with disabilities, need to successfully transition to adulthood. The Guideposts organizes developmental activivities into five areas: school preparation, youth development and leadership, career preparation, connecting activities, and family involvement.

Guideposts for Success for Youth with Learning Disabilities

The Guideposts for Success for Youth with Learning Disabilities provide guidance to caring adults and youth service professionals for improving services and outcomes for youth, ages 14 to 25, with diagnosed and undiagnosed learning disabilities.

Helping Youth Build Work Skills for Job Success: Tips for Parents and Families

This InfoBrief addresses the need for youth to acquire work skills and offers strategies parents and families can use to work with their youth to develop skills that lead to success on the job. This InfoBrief also includes information on how to incorporate work skill development into school documents, such as the Individualized Education Program and the Summary of Performance.

Helping Youth Develop Soft Skills for Job Success: Tips for Parents and Families

This InfoBrief discusses the importance of soft skills and offers strategies parents and families can use to help their child develop skills for employment success.

Helping Youth with Learning Disabilities Chart the Course: A Guide for Youth Service Professionals

This InfoBrief describes challenges faced by youth and young adults with learning disabilities as they reach adulthood, while highlighting strategies youth service professionals can implement to help youth to transition successfully into the workplace.

Helping Youth with Mental Health Needs Avoid Transition Cliffs: Lessons from Pioneering Transition Programs

This InfoBrief discusses challenges faced by youth and young adults with mental health needs during their transition to adulthood and describes strategies used by youth service professionals to avoid age-related transition cliffs and prevent service interruptions during this critical stage of development. This InfoBrief is based on a rich body of research about transition-age youth with mental health needs published in four separate reports in the last two years, including two produced by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth.

Hidden Disabilities Quick Reference Guide

The guide provides a basic understanding of how to identify and screen for hidden disabilities; connect to formal diagnosis; provide appropriate accommodations; and identify support services.

High School/High Tech Program Guide: A Comprehensive Transition Program Promoting Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math for Youth with Disabilities

High School/High Tech (HS/HT) is recognized as one of the most successful strategies for assisting youth with disabilities as they transition from high school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education and employment. This guide provides information and materials used by the HS/HT programs throughout the country including program materials, tips for partnership development, service strategies, activities, curriculum, success stories, and examples of systemic change. This guide can be used by existing HS/HT programs for program improvement and expansion, and by new and developing programs to guide their implementation efforts.

How Young People Can Benefit from One-Stop Centers

This InfoBrief provides information about One-Stop Centers and how the services at One-Stop Centers can help youth enter the workforce.

IDEA Revised: Special Education Law Enacted

After three years of intense debate and compromise, America’s federal statute governing special education has been revised, enacted and, for the most part, will take effect July 2005. The revisions of IDEA contained in the new law, Public Law 108-446, build on and more closely align IDEA with the No Child Left Behind Act. They also modify important requirements around individualized student planning, transition, litigation, and due process protections, monitoring and enforcement, and federal funding. This InfoBrief is a summary of some of the major provisions in the new law.

Improving High School Outcomes for All Youth: Recommendations for Policy & Practice

This brief was informed by over a decade of work by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) including the white paper, "Preparing All Youth for Academic and Career Readiness: Implications for High School Policy and Practice." This brief calls attention to the need to implement policies and practices that will improve high school and post-school outcomes for all students, including those with diverse learning and support needs. Recommendations for federal, state, and local policy makers are outlined.

Improving Transition Outcomes for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System: Practical Considerations

This InfoBrief describes the characteristics of and issues faced by youth involved with the juvenile justice system, including those with disabilities. It provides a framework for youth service professionals to help these youth avoid or transition out of the juvenile justice system, promotes cross-systems collaboration, and highlights promising practices currently being implemented around the country. This InfoBrief is based on Making the Right Turn: A Guide about Improving Transition Outcomes for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System, available at: http://www.ncwd-youth.info/juvenile-justice-guide.

Individualized Learning Plans Fact Sheet

An individualized learning plan is both a document and a process that students use – with support from school counselors, teachers, and
parents – to define their career goals and post-secondary plans in order to inform the student’s decisions about their courses and activities throughout high school. Many states have adopted policies that require all middle and/or high school students to develop and maintain an individualized learning plan in order to make schools more personalized and improve student outcomes.

Individualized Learning Plans How-to Guide

This guide is designed for schools, educators, and other professionals who assist youth with college and career readiness and transition planning. This guide was developed in response to feedback from schools indicating a need for curriculum and implementation guidelines to support whole-school buy-in for implementing individualized learning plans (ILPs). A key goal of the guide is to help schools develop a bridge between college and career readiness efforts through the use of ILPs and help youth achieve prosperous and productive lives. The career development activities and resources in this guide are also useful for youth service professionals in the workforce development system.

Individualized Learning Plans: A Research and Demonstration Project - Summary

This document is a summary of initial findings of a study funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. The study, launched in the 2008-09 school year and targeted for completion in 2012-13, is the first longitudinal research and demonstration project designed to understand the effectiveness of Individualized Learning Plans.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities of Youth Service Professionals: The Centerpiece of a Successful Workforce Development System

This paper reviews the current state of practice within the workforce development system in reference to the competencies — the combined knowledge, skills, and abilities — of youth service professionals. The paper looks at how and by whom: 1) required content is established; 2) training and education based upon that content are provided; and 3) credentials are given. Additionally, the paper outlines some possible action steps to build stronger connections among organizations and workforce development institutions to ensure that skilled staff serves youth and employers.

KSAs of Youth Service Professionals: Youth Needs/Field & Program Benefits Jump Start

Providing training and resources for youth service professionals is a critical investment that will benefit youth, organizations, and communities. Research has shown that the professional development of staff leads to better practice with youth, improves program quality, and increases positive youth outcomes. To make the transition from school to adult life and the world of work, adolescents and young adults need guidance and encouragement from caring supportive adults. For most youth, youth service professionals (adults who work directly with youth) are the face of the workforce development system. Just as youth seek to build the competencies they need to be successful in adolescence and adulthood, the professionals working with these youth must build the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to assist them in this endeavor. Connecting youth to the workforce development system requires a mix of competencies from the youth development, education, and workforce development fields.

Labor Market Trends for Technology-Focused Occupations and Career Fields: Implications for High School/ High Tech Program Operators

This InfoBrief details information from a variety of sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Monthly Labor Review, which point to increasing expansion in technology career fields and explains what this means for HS/HT programs

Learning How to Learn: Successful Transition Models for Educators Working with Youth with Learning Disabilities

This InfoBrief identifies and explains selected classroom-based strategies that incorporate strategic learning. General and special educators can implement the following strategies to engage students with disabilities (particularly those with learning disabilities) in order to prepare students to transition from secondary to postsecondary and workplace settings. The aim of this brief is to provide teachers with background knowledge and skills so that they can integrate evidence-based practices into the classroom to aid student learning.

Learning to Work: States Using Individualized Learning Plans As Anchor Strategy to Promote College and Career Readiness

This article focuses on the growing use and positive effects of individualized learning plans on students as they plan for postsecondary pursuits and highlights exemplary state strategies for implementing the plans.

Making the Connections: Growing and Supporting New Organizations--Intermediaries

This paper describes how a new organizational strategy - intermediaries - can link the supply and demand sides of workforce development. By aligning and brokering multiple services across institutional and funding sources, intermediary organizations can play an important role in improving employment outcomes for youth with disabilities.

Making the Connections: Growing and Supporting New Organizations: Intermediaries (Brief)

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) of the US Department of Labor (DOL) is testing a new organizational strategy — intermediary organizations. By aligning and brokering multiple services across institutional and funding sources, intermediary organizations can play an important role in improving employment outcomes for youth with disabilities while at the same time assisting employers in meeting their need for qualified skilled workers. This InfoBrief is for policymakers and program managers at the state and community level that are involved in developing intermediaries.

Making the Move to Managing Your Own Personal Assistance Services (PAS): A Toolkit for Youth with Disabilities Transitioning to Adulthood

This new guide assists youth in strengthening some of the most fundamental skills essential for successfully managing their own Personal Assistance Services (PAS): effective communication, time-management, working with others, and establishing professional relationships.  Such skills are key to not only enhancing independence, but also thriving in the workplace and growing professionally. Whether moving from school or a home setting to work, college, or living on their own, transition-age youth and their families or friends would benefit from the information and guidance offered by the toolkit.  Sample worksheets, questions, and charts provide readers clear, helpful examples of things to consider along the path to greater independence.  And stories from real youth and their families give practical insight and guidance for youth with disabilities who want to manage their own PAS. 

Making the Right Turn: A Guide About Improving Transition Outcomes for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System

This Guide provides professionals with well-researched and documented facts, offers evidence-based research, highlights promising practices, and provides the Guideposts for Success for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System, in addition to pointing out areas requiring further attention by policymakers and identifying promising practices.

Math, Science, and Technology: Essential Skills for Career Success in the 21st Century

This InfoBrief focuses on targeted career planning efforts for youth. The brief provides basic information on math, science, and technology as a fundamental need in our day-to-day lives, and highlights suggested academic coursework to better prepare young adults for the top growing careers.

Navigating Tunnels and Cliffs: Empowering Families and Caregivers to Assist Youth with Mental Health Needs in Preparing for Work

For many families and caregivers of youth with mental health needs, career preparation and exploration are not top priorities. This short cut provides families, caregivers, and youth with mental health needs the information needed to prepare for a career including promising practices from the field and an action plan for success.

Negotiating the Curves Toward Employment: A Guide About Youth Involved in the Foster Care System

This guide applies the Guideposts for Success to meeting the needs of youth in foster care with and without disabilities. The Guide includes facts and statistics about youth involved in the foster care system; gives examples of states and communities that are changing policy and practices; identifies areas requiring further attention by policy makers and providers of services; and identifies resources and tools to assist cross-system collaborative efforts.

Paving the Way to Work: A Guide to Career-Focused Mentoring

This guide is intended for individuals designing mentoring programs for youth, including youth with disabilities, in the transition phase to adulthood.

Performance Data and Youth with Disabilities (Workforce Investment Act)

NCWD/Youth prepared an analysis of 2007 performance data reported by a select set of Workforce Investment Boards (WIB) under the Workforce Investment Act  (WIA) to understand how youth with disabilities are being served. U.S. Department of Labor data indicate that of all youth served under WIA in 2007, nearly 14 percent were youth with disabilities.  As an initial  analysis of the data, authors of this paper are unable to draw firm conclusions about the actual effect serving youth with disabilities has on performance outcomes of local workforce investment boards that oversee WIA Youth Activities monies. However, the limited data suggests that youth with disabilities have similar performance outcomes as youth without disabilities.  Additionally, the data suggests that WIBs that serve large proportions of youth with disabilities tend to have lower performance outcomes than WIBs that serve proportionally fewer youth with disabilities. To better understand the findings of this paper, NCWD-Youth is currently conducting a limited case-study analysis of the selected WIBs and reviewing similar 2008 data.

Performance Measurement In The New Workforce Development Environment: A Background Paper

This Policy Brief offers a simple primer for the dialogue based on a review of the literature; that is, it is a descriptive background paper about WIA’s performance measurement requirements, including those of the mandated partners. The paper is organized to offer a common understanding of key terminology and then briefly describes the history of performance accountability in the workforce development system beginning with the Government Performance and Results Act through the current push toward common measures across programs.

Performance Measures - Adjustment And Incentives

This paper reviews what we know about performance measures and their effects and highlights key issues and approaches for addressing adjustments to them.

Personal Assistance Services On The Job

This InfoBrief is for anyone who interacts with youth with disabilities and would like to know about the programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The brief provides background on those parts of the Workforce Investment Act that cover service to youth so that youth, families, and service providers can better connect to the workforce development system.

Personalized Learning: Policy Insights from Four States

This Policy Brief describes findings from a case study of four states using individualized learning plans as a strategic education policy to personalize student’s educational experience in an effort to raise their academic achievement and better prepare them for post-secondary education and employment.

Preparing All Youth for Academic and Career Readiness: Implications for High School Policy and Practice

This paper identifies the challenges in practice and policy for successful post-school outcomes and it offers recommendations on how states, local school districts and individual high schools can prepare all youth, including youth with disabilities, with the academic and career readiness skills.

Road to Self-Sufficiency: A Guide to Entrepreneurship for Youth with Disabilities

This guide serves as a resource for organizations working with youth on career exploration and employment options, and policymakers who support youth programs through policy and practice. The Guide shows how entrepreneurship education can be implemented in programs and offers suggestions on how to introduce self-employment as an option for all youth, including youth with disabilities.

School-based Preparatory Experiences Jump Start

School-based preparatory experiences are those core activities that help youth become prepared for a successful future in careers or postsecondary education institutions. They include the core activities of career assessments (formal and informal), introduces the concept of opportunity awareness (guest speakers, informational interviews, research-based activities, community mapping, exposures to post secondary education) and work-readiness skills (soft-skills development, computer competency and job search skills).

Screening or Assessment?

Many youth have hidden disabilities that go undiagnosed. This short cut provides information on the appropriate screening processes that can be put into place, promising practices, and an action plan for implementation.

Serving Youth with Disabilities Under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998: The Basics

This InfoBrief is for anyone who interacts with youth with disabilities and would like to know about the programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The brief provides background on those parts of the Workforce Investment Act that cover service to youth so that youth, families, and service providers can better connect to the workforce development system.

Strategies for Youth Workforce Programs to Become Employer-Friendly Intermediaries

This InfoBrief focuses on how youth-serving organizations can become more effective as intermediary linkages between youth and employers by adopting certain practices. This brief offers basic employer-friendly strategies that will assist intermediaries and their representatives in making productive connections with employer customers that can result in successful work experiences for youth. Increasingly, state and local workforce boards and their youth-service-providing partners are realizing the need to assess their capacities and strategies to link with and provide supports to employers.

Successful Transition Models for Youth with Mental Health Needs: A Guide for Workforce Professionals

This InfoBrief describes the systems’ service barriers faced by youth with mental health needs as they reach adulthood, while highlighting new models and strategies designed to break down those barriers and help them to transition successfully into the workplace.

Supporting Transition to Adulthood Among Youth with Mental Health Needs: Action Steps for Policymakers

This Policy Brief calls attention to the challenges faced by youth and young adults with mental health needs during their transition to adulthood and provides information to help policymakers at the state and local level develop and improve service delivery systems for this population.

Tapping into the Power of Families: How Families of Youth with Disabilities Can Assist in Job Search and Retention

This InfoBrief explores the important role families and other caring adults play in the career planning, job search, and job retention of youth with disabilities.

The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Families, Educators, Youth Service Professionals, and Adult Allies Who Care About Youth with Disabilities

Adults in the lives of young people with both visible disabilities and those with disabilities that are not apparent to others can benefit from using this workbook. This workbook helps adults make informed decisions about teaching a young man or woman about his or her rights and responsibilities in disclosing his or her disability, a decision that will affect the young person’s educational, employment, and social life. This workbook will help adults learn how to support a young person with a disability as he or she takes steps in becoming more independent and self-sufficient. In fact, making the personal decision to disclose a disability can make the young person more confident in himself or herself and the choices he or she makes.

The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities

This guide is designed for youth and adults working with them to learn about disability disclosure. This workbook helps young people make informed decisions about whether or not to disclose their disability and understand how that decision may impact their education, employment, and social lives.

The California Workforce Inclusion Act: Supporting Workforce Participation of People with Disabilities

This InfoBrief is for anyone who interacts with youth with disabilities and would like to know about the programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The brief provides background on those parts of the Workforce Investment Act that cover service to youth so that youth, families, and service providers can better connect to the workforce development system.

The Guideposts for Success: A Framework for Families Preparing Youth for Adulthood

This InfoBrief examines how the Guideposts for Success can be used as a framework from which families of youth with disabilities can consider the support needs of their youth during the transition planning process. It is based on information presented in the Family Guideposts, a National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) publication that looks at the original Guideposts from the perspective of families, highlighting proactive roles families can play in the five Guidepost areas and offering examples of how families can become informed, supportive, and engaged in their youth’s transition. This information will also be helpful to professionals seeking strategies to effectively partner with families, and to advocates looking to empower families in the transition process.

The Right Connections: Navigating the Workforce Development System

This InfoBrief is for administrators and youth service professionals who provide programming to young people and want to connect their programs to the workforce development system.

The Workforce Development System & the Professional Development of Youth Service Professionals: Why Professional Development?

This InfoBrief identifies the benefits to the workforce development system, youth, and the community gained through the professional development of youth service professionals, including a five-step plan for policymakers interested in supporting the professional development of youth service professionals in their local areas.

Toward Universal Access in the Workforce Development System

This paper explores the core concepts of “universal service,” which has a very distinct meaning inside the employment and training arena, and that of “universal design” in the context of disability public policy.

Transitioning Youth with Mental Health Needs to Meaningful Employment and Independent Living

This study focuses on the role of skills development, work, and career exploration. It presents the findings from case studies of five promising program sites and identifies program design features and system-level policies that appear to help youth and young adults with mental health needs better transition into adulthood and life-long success.

Transition’s Missing Link: Health Care Transition

NCWD/Youth’s Guideposts for Success provide a framework for what all youth, including youth with chronic conditions and disabilities, need to make a successful transition to further education, careers and adulthood. One of the key elements of the Guideposts under Connecting Activities is health care. Drawing on a number of recent health care-related reports, this Policy Brief identifies strategies for improving health care transition for youth with chronic conditions and disabilities.

Tunnels and Cliffs: A Guide for Workforce Development Professionals and Policymakers serving Youth with Mental Health Needs

This guide is designed to help workforce development professionals, administrators, and policymakers increase their understanding of youth with mental health needs and the supports necessary to help them transition into the workforce successfully. it provides practical information and resources for youth service professionals on how to support these youth and information for policy makers on how to address system and policy obstacles in order to improve service delivery systems for youth with mental health needs.

Tunnels and Cliffs: A Guide for Workforce Development Professionals and Policymakers Serving Youth with Mental Health Needs (Short Cut)

This brief document summarizes the challenges faced by youth with mental health needs when they enter inappropriate service tunnels dictated by their point of entry and when they encounter transition cliffs as they age out of youth systems and attempt to access adult services. It offers examples of emerging promising practices related to career preparation and employment for youth and offers an action plan to make the coordination of services a cross-systems priority.

Understanding the New Vision for Career Development: The Role of Family

This Info Brief introduces families, including families of youth with disabilities, to a new way of looking at career development for youth. This brief discusses the three phases of career development, highlights Individualized Learning Plans as a tool for facilitating the career development process, and offers strategies on how families can be involved.

Understanding the Role of Individualized Learning Plans in Transition Planning for Youth with Disabilities

This InfoBrief explains how schools and families can supplement the required Individualized Education Program (IEP) by using an optional Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) as a tool to help youth successfully transition from high school to employment and postsecondary education.

Universal Access Quick Reference Guide

The guide assists those developing a program, service, or activity to make them accessible to youth and adults with disabilities.

Use of Social Security Work Incentives to Promote Work-Based Learning in Youth Employment and Training Programs

This report examines AmeriCorps as a model that includes an income exemption that allows youth with disabilities who are Social Security beneficiaries to participate in work-based learning experiences and receive a living allowance or stipend without it impacting their benefits.  An overview is initially provided about the importance of work-based learning experiences, including service learning, particularly for youth with disabilities and the current state of policy and practice regarding the use of the AmeriCorps income exclusion.  Recommendations are then provided for increasing the scope and utilization of the existing AmeriCorps exemption and for the expansion of similar incentives to other youth employment and training programs serving transition-age youth with disabilities such as those funded under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

Using Career Interest Inventories to Inform Career Planning

This Innovative Strategies Practice Brief provides practical examples and resources used by promising and exemplary youth programs to conduct career interest inventories with youth. The youth programs featured in this brief have been recognized by NCWD/Youth as Innovative Strategies. NCWD/Youth's Innovative Strategies features workforce development programs and practices that serve youth with disabilities, either as a target population or as part of other youth populations.

Using Individualized Learning Plans to Produce College and Career Ready High School Graduates

Individualized learning plans (ILPs) are becoming an important tool used by states to support youth in becoming college ready and career ready. This policy brief highlights key findings and policy recommendations generated as a result of ILP research studies by NCWD/Youth and its partners. The brief includes separate but complementary recommendations for state officials, district/school officials, educators, organizations interested in supporting family engagement in schools, special education administrators and support organizations, national organizations, disability organizations, and Federal officials.

Using Universal Design for Learning: Successful Transition Models for Educators Working with Youth with Learning Disabilities

This InfoBrief identifies and explains selected classroom-based strategies within the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) model. General and special educators can implement the following strategies to engage students with disabilities (particularly those with learning disabilities) in order to prepare students to transition from secondary to postsecondary and workplace settings. The aim of this brief is to provide teachers with background knowledge and skills so that they can integrate evidence-based practices into the classroom to aid student learning.

Vocational Assessment and Its Role in Career Planning

This InfoBrief discusses career planning and vocational assessment for transition-age youth.

Work-Based Learning Jump Start

Work-based learning is a supervised program sponsored by an education or training organization that links knowledge gained at the worksite with a planned program of study. Experiences range in intensity, structure and scope and include activities as diverse as site visits, job shadowing, paid and unpaid internships, structured on-the-job training, and the more formal work status as apprentice or employee.

Working with Employers - Workplace Success Quick Reference Guide

The guide describes how to create successful work-based experiences for youth and their employers that foster adult employment success for all youth, particularly for those with disabilities.

Youth and Disability Disclosure: The Role of Families and Advocates

This InfoBrief highlights NCWD-Youth’s The 411 on Disability Disclosure, and explores the role families and advocates play in helping youth understand the importance of appropriate disability disclosure.

Youth Development & Leadership White Paper

This paper assists youth service professionals, administrators, and policy makers in defining, differentiating, and providing youth development and leadership programs and activities, which are important components of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

Youth Development and Leadership in Programs

This InfoBrief describes how administrators and policymakers can use the concepts of youth development and leadership in developing and administering programs that serve all youth and activities specifically geared toward youth with disabilities. The brief is based on a longer paper, Youth Development and Leadership, A White Paper, published by The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth. Youth Development and Leadership in Programs

Youth Development and Leadership Jump Start

All effective youth programs have youth development at their core. Effective youth leadership programs build on solid youth development principles, with an emphasis on those areas of development and program components that support youth leadership.

Youth Development and Leadership Quick Reference Guide

The guide explains youth development and leadership components and how they lead to more effective workforce development programs.

Youth Development and Leadership: Opportunities to Develop Connecting Competencies

This Innovative Strategies Practice Brief provides practical examples from promising and exemplary youth programs for implementing youth development and leadership opportunities that help youth develop Connecting competencies. Some of the youth programs featured in this brief have been recognized by NCWD/Youth as Innovative Strategies. NCWD/Youth Innovative Strategiesfeature programs and organizations that serve youth with disabilities either as a target population or as part of other youth populations.

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