Workforce Development

The term workforce development system encompasses organizations at the national, state, and local levels that have direct responsibility for planning, allocating resources (both public and private), providing administrative oversight and operating programs to assist individuals and employers in obtaining education, training, job placement, and job recruitment. Included in this broad network are several federal agencies charged with providing specific education and/or training support. At the state and local levels the network includes state and local workforce investment boards, state and local career and technical education and adult education agencies, vocational rehabilitation agencies, recognized apprenticeship programs, state employment and unemployment services agencies, state and local welfare agencies, and/or sub-units of these entities. The following information is available to provide you with the skills that are needed in order to navigate the workforce development system and understand the legislation that surrounds it.

Apprenticeship Workshop Training Modules

With the support of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment PolicyNCWD/Youth developed two sets of apprenticeship training modules and a strategic planning exercise that can be used after either module. The modules can be used by individuals to learn independently about apprenticeship, or a facilitator can use the modules to train groups. These materials will be useful for youth service professionals, workforce board administrators, state and local apprenticeship coordinators, representatives from community colleges and other training providers, and potential and current apprenticeship employers.

Ayudando a los jóvenes a Desarrollar Habilidades Sociales para tener Éxito en el Trabajo: Consejos para los Padres y las Familias

Este breve informativo trata la importancia de las habilidades sociales y ofrece estrategias que los padres pueden usar para ayudar a sus hijos a desarrollar habilidades para el éxito en el trabajo.

Building Lasting Connections to Employers: Developing Community-Wide Intermediaries

This research brief focuses a new type of organization which is changing how employers are engaged in workforce investment. These organizations operate as community-wide intermediaries, linking an array of service providers to businesses and to each other.

Bullying and Disability Harassment in the Workplace: What Youth Should Know

This InfoBrief is designed to help youth, including youth with disabilities, recognize signs of bullying in the workplace, and to recognize how bullying differs from disability harassment. The brief offers examples of bullying situations at work and offers strategies to help address the issue. Much is understood about the negative consequences of bullying at school, but youth should also be made aware that bullying does not end at school. It is often encountered at work as well.

Career Exploration in Action: An Innovative Strategies Practice Brief

This Innovative Strategies Practice Brief provides practical examples and resources used by promising and exemplary youth programs to engage youth in career exploration. The youth programs and school systems featured in this brief have been recognized by NCWD/Youth as Innovative Strategies.

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.

Comprehensive Career Planning and Its Role in the Competitive Global Economy

This white paper chronicles the gaps and inconsistencies in implementation of career guidance services in and out of schools, as well as the lack of measures for career development and guidance services in America. The paper posits that these challenges stem from the lack of a governmental policy framework that promotes the systematic value of career guidance services as a strategy for meeting economic and security needs of the nation. The paper offers a number of recommendations, including: 1) improving the quality of the K-12 school career development and guidance system; 2) increasing the capacity of postsecondary and workforce development programs serving out-of-school youth and at-risk populations; 3) convening policy makers and researchers to develop consensus on performance measures definitions; and 4) improving professional development opportunities for staff involved in career development and career guidance services.

Core Competencies for Youth Service Professionals: Guiding Youth Toward Employment

This InfoBrief identifies the benefits to the workforce development system, youth, and the community gained through the professional development of youth service professionals. The brief includes a five-step plan for organizations interested in supporting the professional development of youth service professionals.

Designing Professional Development for Youth Workforce Development

Efforts to improve program quality and outcomes in youth services require attention to building and sustaining a qualified workforce of youth service professionals. The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) has been working for over 10 years on developing and piloting strategies and resources to address the professional development needs of youth service professionals with a particular focus on those working at the intersection of youth development, workforce development, education, and disability services.

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.

Developing a Professional Development System for Youth Service Professionals

This Info Brief describes the current status of and opportunities for a comprehensive cross-disciplinary professional development system for youth service professionals. It also discusses next steps for systems, professionals, and policy makers.   

Engaging Youth in Work Experiences: An Innovative Strategies Practice Brief

This Innovative Strategies Practice Brief provides practical examples and resources used by promising and exemplary youth programs to engage youth in work experiences. Work experiences are both paid and unpaid opportunities to work and practice career readiness skills. The work experiences described in this brief include internships, summer jobs, youth-run businesses/entrepreneurship, service projects and volunteer work, and part-time jobs. The youth programs featured in this brief have been recognized by NCWD/Youth as Innovative Strategies.

Everybody Learns, Everybody Works: Using Universal Design for Learning in Workforce Development Programs

This InfoBrief for professionals who work directly with youth in workforce development programs explains the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), an educational model that makes any general curriculum accessible to all learners, regardless of learning style. The brief describes how UDL principles can be used in work experiences and training settings to moe effectively and efficiently engage all youth, including youth with disabilities.

Facilitating Employer Engagement Among Wib Partners: A Role For Intermediaries

This InfoBrief focuses on how Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) can ensure strong business leadership roles in their state and local workforce systems by creating and fostering intermediaries that effectively link employers with One-Stops and their partners. Strategies and examples are shared that illustrate how intermediaries can facilitate, coordinate, and streamline employer engagement responsibilities among WIB partners.

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.

Helping Youth Build Work Skills for Job Success: Tips for Parents and Families

This InfoBrief addresses the need for youth to acquire work skills and offers strategies parents and families can use to work with their youth to develop skills that lead to success on the job. This InfoBrief also includes information on how to incorporate work skill development into school documents, such as the Individualized Education Program and the Summary of Performance.

Helping Youth Develop Soft Skills for Job Success: Tips for Parents and Families

This InfoBrief discusses the importance of soft skills and offers strategies parents and families can use to help their child develop skills for employment success.

Helping Youth with Learning Disabilities Chart the Course: A Guide for Youth Service Professionals

This InfoBrief describes challenges faced by youth and young adults with learning disabilities as they reach adulthood, while highlighting strategies youth service professionals can implement to help youth to transition successfully into the workplace.

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.

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.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities of Youth Service Professionals: The Centerpiece of a Successful Workforce Development System

This paper reviews the current state of practice within the workforce development system in reference to the competencies — the combined knowledge, skills, and abilities — of youth service professionals. The paper looks at how and by whom: 1) required content is established; 2) training and education based upon that content are provided; and 3) credentials are given. Additionally, the paper outlines some possible action steps to build stronger connections among organizations and workforce development institutions to ensure that skilled staff serves youth and employers.

Making the Connections: Growing and Supporting New Organizations--Intermediaries

This paper describes how a new organizational strategy - intermediaries - can link the supply and demand sides of workforce development. By aligning and brokering multiple services across institutional and funding sources, intermediary organizations can play an important role in improving employment outcomes for youth with disabilities.

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.

Performance Measurement In The New Workforce Development Environment: A Background Paper

This Policy Brief offers a simple primer for the dialogue based on a review of the literature; that is, it is a descriptive background paper about WIA’s performance measurement requirements, including those of the mandated partners. The paper is organized to offer a common understanding of key terminology and then briefly describes the history of performance accountability in the workforce development system beginning with the Government Performance and Results Act through the current push toward common measures across programs.

Performance Measures - Adjustment And Incentives

This paper reviews what we know about performance measures and their effects and highlights key issues and approaches for addressing adjustments to them.

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.

School-based Preparatory Experiences Jump Start

School-based preparatory experiences are those core activities that help youth become prepared for a successful future in careers or postsecondary education institutions. They include the core activities of career assessments (formal and informal), introduces the concept of opportunity awareness (guest speakers, informational interviews, research-based activities, community mapping, exposures to post secondary education) and work-readiness skills (soft-skills development, computer competency and job search skills).

Strategies for Youth Workforce Programs to Become Employer-Friendly Intermediaries

This InfoBrief focuses on how youth-serving organizations can become more effective as intermediary linkages between youth and employers by adopting certain practices. This brief offers basic employer-friendly strategies that will assist intermediaries and their representatives in making productive connections with employer customers that can result in successful work experiences for youth. Increasingly, state and local workforce boards and their youth-service-providing partners are realizing the need to assess their capacities and strategies to link with and provide supports to employers.

The KSA Study Guide

The Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities (KSA) Study Guide is a professional development tool created to help individuals, organizations, and systems build the competencies of youth service professionals, those professionals who work directly with youth in the workforce development arena.

The Right Connections: Navigating the Workforce Development System

This InfoBrief is for administrators and youth service professionals who provide programming to young people and want to connect their programs to the workforce development system.

The Workforce Development System & the Professional Development of Youth Service Professionals: Why Professional Development?

This InfoBrief identifies the benefits to the workforce development system, youth, and the community gained through the professional development of youth service professionals, including a five-step plan for policymakers interested in supporting the professional development of youth service professionals in their local areas.

Toward Universal Access in the Workforce Development System

This paper explores the core concepts of “universal service,” which has a very distinct meaning inside the employment and training arena, and that of “universal design” in the context of disability public policy.

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.

Universal Design for the Workforce Development System

This resource has been developed to assist workforce development policymakers and program operators in assessing their ability to meet the needs of their customers.

Universal Design for the Workforce Development System

This resource has been developed to assist workforce development policymakers and program operators in assessing their ability to meet the needs of their customers.

Use of Social Security Work Incentives to Promote Work-Based Learning in Youth Employment and Training Programs

This report examines AmeriCorps as a model that includes an income exemption that allows youth with disabilities who are Social Security beneficiaries to participate in work-based learning experiences and receive a living allowance or stipend without it impacting their benefits.  An overview is initially provided about the importance of work-based learning experiences, including service learning, particularly for youth with disabilities and the current state of policy and practice regarding the use of the AmeriCorps income exclusion.  Recommendations are then provided for increasing the scope and utilization of the existing AmeriCorps exemption and for the expansion of similar incentives to other youth employment and training programs serving transition-age youth with disabilities such as those funded under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

Using Career Interest Inventories to Inform Career Planning

This Innovative Strategies Practice Brief provides practical examples and resources used by promising and exemplary youth programs to conduct career interest inventories with youth. The youth programs featured in this brief have been recognized by NCWD/Youth as Innovative Strategies. NCWD/Youth's Innovative Strategies features workforce development programs and practices that serve youth with disabilities, either as a target population or as part of other youth populations.

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.

Vocational Assessment and Its Role in Career Planning

This InfoBrief discusses career planning and vocational assessment for transition-age youth.

Work-Based Learning Jump Start

Work-based learning is a supervised program sponsored by an education or training organization that links knowledge gained at the worksite with a planned program of study. Experiences range in intensity, structure and scope and include activities as diverse as site visits, job shadowing, paid and unpaid internships, structured on-the-job training, and the more formal work status as apprentice or employee.

Working with Employers - Workplace Success Quick Reference Guide

The guide describes how to create successful work-based experiences for youth and their employers that foster adult employment success for all youth, particularly for those with disabilities.

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