In order to adequately respond to the pressing needs of a shifting economy and prepare a talented workforce, all students must have access to relevant education and training. With a total enrollment of approximately 11.6 million students – nearly half of all undergraduates in the country – the nation’s community colleges have a critical role to play in assisting students to make successful transitions from education to work.
At the same time, people with disabilities complete high school and attend postsecondary institutions at significantly lower rates than the overall population, and people with disabilities have a much higher unemployment rate than the general population. Although efforts by policymakers and disability advocates to address these disparities have made positive impacts, it is clear that more systematic efforts must be made on a regional, state, and national level to assist students with disabilities to succeed in postsecondary education and enter the workforce.
Through analysis of state-level policies affecting job attainment for students with disabilities in six states and in-depth analysis of practices at twelve colleges in five of those states, this 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.