Specific Populations

While NCWD/Youth focuses on the supports and services that all youth, including youth with disabilities need in order to achieve self-sufficiency, we have also catered materials that are specific to various disabilities.

About Youth with Mental Health Needs

Youth with mental health needs (MHN) often face unemployment, underemployment, and discrimination when they enter the workforce. Employment data show that individuals with serious mental illness have the lowest level of employment of any group of people with disabilities. As a result, large numbers of youth with both diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health needs who are transitioning into young adulthood, to the world of work, and to postsecondary education are likely to experience significant difficulties. Learn more about Facts & Statistics, Common Challenges, Guideposts for Success, NCWD/Youth Resources and Related Resources pertaining to youth with mental health needs.

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.

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.

Youth Involved in the Foster Care System

The youth involved in the foster care system represent one of the most vulnerable populations in our society and will require the expertise of caring professionals in multiple systems working together to “move the needle” of success upward. Collaborative efforts across the country between workforce development, child welfare, mental health, schools, and other community institutions are needed to improve the chances that youth in foster care will make a successful transition into adulthood and be able to lead productive lives including having careers of their choice.

Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System

In America there is an expectation that youth will grow up, get an education, develop skills, get a job, become economically self-sufficient and contribute to society. However, for many youth today, there are enormous challenges to achieving this goal. There is a growing recognition that youth involved in the juvenile corrections system represent one of the most vulnerable populations in our country.

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