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An African American family with two children sit on the stairs in their home.

Audience: Youth & Family

October 20, 2005 Publication
Jump Starts

The principles and resources provided in this overview of assessment provide a solid foundation for youth guidance and planning in schools, community-based organizations, workforce development programs, and other youth-serving institutions.

Youth & Family Section


Youth: As you transition from adolescence to adulthood and the world of work, you will have many new choices, opportunities, and experiences. Sometimes, it can seem overwhelming. Don’t worry – throughout this transition process, youth service professionals can help by providing you with the information you need to make decisions, help you to think through available options, and connect you with necessary resources, opportunities and supports. They are adults who work directly with youth during the transition and workforce preparation process who have the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to support youth and help them to succeed.

If you are in school, this adult might be a college advisor, guidance counselor, vocational education instructor, or special education teacher. If you are out of school, you might work with a vocational specialist, case manager, youth program worker, or rehabilitation counselor at a Workforce Center (sometimes called One-Stops), community organization, or Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) office. The youth service professional can help you complete an assessment of your abilities and interests, develop an individual career development plan (with realistic goals and steps to reach them), choose career areas and opportunities that suit your abilities and interests, and provide you with work-based learning and on-the-job training experiences. The most important thing this adult will do is communicate with you, advocate for you, and involve you in developing a plan that you direct based on your abilities, and interests. This adult will also communicate with your family, guardian, and other significant adults in your life to make sure they have the resources and information they need to support you as you make this important transition. (Sometimes, letting go can be the hardest type of “support” they can provide!). In addition, this adult will work with employers, other agencies, educational institutions, and a myriad of community organizations to connect you to all the resources and support you need to successfully transition to adulthood and the world of work. There are a lot of choices and opportunities out there and with the help of a skilled youth service professional – you will find the ones that work best for you.


1. Youth Question: Where can I find one of these adults and what do the KSAs do for me?
2. Parent/Significant Adult Question: What should I expect from the professionals working with my child? (types of things adults should know/do)

Resources & References

  • KSA Chart Handout
    Identifies the 10 Competency Areas and their related requirements. Competencies include the basic competencies required to serve all youth as well as the additional competencies required to work with youth with disabilities.
  • The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities
    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. Based on the premise that disclosure is a very personal decision, the Workbook helps young people think about and practice disclosing their disability.
  • Disability Support Services
    This site provides information on transition from high school to college. Guides your transition planning. Understanding strengths, learning needs, and the support needed. Understanding legal rights.

© 2018 NCWD/Youth