Too often youth with and without disabilities do not receive the appropriate education promised to them. The following information is available to assist you in determining ways that you can have an effect on the educational system and can support young people with their educational goals.

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.

Designing Statewide Career Development Strategies & Programs

Statewide implementation of quality comprehensive career development programs and activities is a promising strategy that states can use to achieve the dual goals of college and career readiness for all high school students. This guide is designed to support states in their efforts to increase college and career readiness among all youth, including youth with disabilities, by providing functional and pragmatic guidance on implementing quality comprehensive systems of career development.

Families and College and Career Readiness: What Schools Can Do to Engage Families in the Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) Process

This Information Brief is designed to assist educators in working with parents and family members to facilitate students’ career development through the use of individualized college and career planning tools. This brief discusses families’ perceptions of whether and how they were engaged in schools’ implementation of Individualized Learning Plans and describes suggestions from families of youth with and without disabilities about actions schools can take to improve family engagement in the ILP process.

Fostering Inclusive Volunteering and Service Learning

This guide provides information useful to youth service professionals and others interested in facilitating youth engagement in volunteer activities. It describes how youth benefit from volunteering, different types of volunteer opportunities, and ways to assist youth to prepare for, access, and learn from their experiences. It also provides relevant resources and tools that can enhance and foster successful outcomes.

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.

Hidden Disabilities

This 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.

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.

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.

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.

Making My Way through College

Making My Way through College is a guide for any student pursuing a degree or other type of credential (e.g., certification, license) at a two-year or four-year community college, college, or university. You will find information on a variety of topics relevant to preparing for and succeeding in college and transitioning from college into the world of work. Much of the information provided is relevant to all students, but the primary focus of the guide is on navigating the college experience for students with disabilities or those who think they may have a disability.

Personal Competencies for College & Career Success: What Colleges Can Do

Many students, including students with disabilities, enter postsecondary education lacking the personal skills, knowledge, and attributes they need to achieve their education and career goals. To increase student retention, completion, and career readiness, postsecondary institutions need to include youth development and leadership opportunities that help students build personal competencies.

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. Based on two symposia and a year-long research effort, this paper identifies five broad policy and practice areas: (1) Instruction, Curriculum and Structure; (2) Assessment Practices; (3) Graduation Requirements; (4) Community and Family Connections; and (5) Data Quality Challenges. The paper suggests that by addressing these areas, a range of high school policy makers at the national, state, and local levels can improve their approaches for meeting the multiple and complex challenges of all their students.

State Perspectives on Using the Guideposts for Success - Maryland

The Maryland Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) has used the Guideposts for Success (the Guideposts) to develop and pilot a seamless transition services model called the Maryland Seamless Transition Collaborative (MSTC). The Guideposts, which were initially adopted by DORS in the context of implementing a High School/High Tech Grant awarded by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, have provided the agency and its partners with a research-based framework for aligning and coordinating services across various agencies and service providers to increase youth outcomes across the state. 

State Perspectives on Using the Guideposts for Success - South Carolina

The South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department (SCVRD) uses the Guideposts for Success (the Guideposts) as a framework for defining, developing, and tracking its youth transition services and programs throughout the state. SCVRD has chosen to use the Guideposts because it identifies proven strategies for meeting the holistic needs of youth transitioning from high school to employment, postsecondary education, and independent living. The Guideposts framework is comprised of five areas: school-based preparatory experiences, career preparation and work-based learning experiences, youth development and leadership, connecting activities, and family involvement and supports.

Supporting Student Success through Connecting Activities: An Info Brief Series for Community Colleges

Community college leaders are increasingly concerned with finding ways to better support and engage students in an effort to improve college completion rates. In order to increase their persistence and completion, many students need assistance connecting to services, activities, programs, and supports relevant to their individual needs and goals.

Transition Truths: An Overview of Transition Systems

This tool describes the systems that may affect youth with and without disabilities as they transition from youth to adulthood. Youth can use this tool with youth service professionals and other caring adults to learn about their rights within these systems, plan for their transition, and identify changes they can advocate for in their communities. Youth service professionals can use this tool in working with youth and in identifying ways to connect youth to additional supports

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.

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.

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