Work-based experiences foster adult employment success for all youth, particularly for those with disabilities. Research shows that when youth with disabilities participate in work-based learning experiences, they are more likely to achieve positive school and post-school outcomes. Exposure to internships (paid and unpaid), site visits, job shadowing, and paid employment all contribute to the employability of youth with disabilities. Because providing such experiences is dependent on the availability of interested employers, workforce professionals must be able to convince employers that it is in their best interest to bring youth into their workplace. Workforce professionals must keep in mind that in the business world, time is money. In consequence, it is important to do whatever is necessary to make it convenient for the employer to hire youth with disabilities, including, if necessary, providing ongoing support once youth are on the job site. In addition, workforce professionals must ensure that youth are adequately prepared and that they fully appreciate the value of their workplace experiences.
The guide describes how to create successful work-based experiences for youth and their employers to foster adult employment success for all youth, particularly those with disabilities.