Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT)

Are you a youth, age 12-25, who wants to develop leadership and advocacy skills and become a leader in your community who improves opportunities and services for all youth?

Are you a professional or organization who wants to commit to increasing youth voice, leadership, and youth-adult partnerships within your organization and community?

If so, learn more about YouthACT below! 

Youth - Learn More Here

Professionals & Organizations - Learn More Here

Download the application for YouthACT teams here (Microsoft Word document)

Questions? See the Frequently Asked Questions Page


Each YouthACT team consists of two emerging youth leaders (ages 12-25, at least one of which has to have a disability), one adult partner, and a supporting organization.

The Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT) is a national initiative to get more youth with disabilities and their allies involved as leaders and partners with adults and youth-serving organizations to improve youth transition outcomes.

YouthACT is led by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) at the Institute for Educational Leadership with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). 

For additional Youth Development & Leadership resources visit http://www.ncwd-youth.info/youth-development.


Youth, are you ready to ACT?

    Do you want to:

  • Develop your leadership and advocacy skills?
  • Be a leader in your community who improves opportunities and services for youth?
  • Have your voice heard on both the local and national levels?
  • Build positive relationships with other youth across the country?
  • Learn how to work in partnership with adults to make change?
  • Be part of a national movement to make sure that ALL youth, including youth with disabilities, can become successful adults?

If you answered yes, consider applying to participate in the Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT)!

There’s no cost to participate, and each YouthACT team will receive a small stipend of $3,000 to use at your discretion for expenses such as meetings, supplies, and team activities. Each youth will also receive a small honorarium of $500 for the year.

To apply, you must:

  • Be a youth between the ages of 12 and 25 at the time that you apply.
  • Have a disability or be an ally of the disability community (At least one youth applicant on your team must have a disability or chronic health condition.)
  • Be part of a team that includes an adult partner connected to a supporting organization and another youth.
  • Have the approval of a parent or guardian if you are under age 18.

What is Youth ACT?

The Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT) is a national initiative to get more youth with disabilities and their allies involved as leaders who partner with adults and organizations to improve opportunities for youth to succeed in life. “Transition” is the process and period of change that youth go through to become adults. Transition typically occurs between ages 12 and 25. During transition, youth need a variety of opportunities and supports to learn and develop skills and experience, set and achieve goals, and make personal decisions about school, work, and life.

Many organizations and government agencies are responsible for helping youth transition to adulthood. This includes schools, employment and training programs, afterschool and recreation programs, health and mental health services, housing programs, disability services, courts and juvenile justice agencies, and child welfare and foster care programs.

Too often, youth don’t have a voice when agencies and organizations are deciding what youth services and opportunities to offer. It is important for agencies and organizations to hear from youth about what they need and want during the transition years so they can provide the right opportunities, services, and supports. For this reason, YouthACT aims to increase positive youth-adult partnerships where young people and adults work together, share power, and support and learn from each other to build stronger communities. All individuals in the partnership have the opportunity to engage in planning, decision-making, and action consistent with their own interests and skills.

YouthACT works with youth, ages 12 to 25, to develop skills and knowledge in leadership and advocacy so they can speak up about what all youth need to be successful during transition to adulthood. YouthACT also supports youth in learning how to partner with adults and work with peers as a team to advocate for improving youth opportunities and services in their local communities. NCWD/Youth will select four teams in 2015. The 2015 cohort will work collaboratively with the 2014 cohort.

YouthACT is led by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) at the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Learn more about NCWD/Youth at www.ncwd-youth.info

What will I do as a part of YouthACT?

    When you apply for YouthACT, you commit to:

  • Attend the annual national training with your YouthACT team in Washington, D.C. October 29-31, 2015. You will be expected to attend this conference in 2015 and 2016. Travel expenses will be covered by the Institute for Educational Leadership;
  • Complete training in leadership, advocacy skills, youth transition policies, and issues affecting youth with disabilities;
  • Create a local plan with your YouthACT team for how you will work together year-round;
  • Communicate regularly, including meeting at least once per month, with your local YouthACT team members and other youth at your supporting organization;
  • Co-lead meetings with a group of youth to discuss what youth need to make a successful transition to adulthood (“youth transition needs”) and how to improve youth services and opportunities where you live;
  • Speak publicly and give presentations to youth, families, and the agencies and organizations that serve youth about how to improve services and opportunities for youth;
  • Participate in monthly national YouthACT activities including monthly national conference calls and quarterly webinars or video conferences with all the YouthACT teams and create youth-driven materials and tools on youth leadership and transition topics;
  • Work in collaboration with the existing cohort, or group, of YouthACT teams; and,
  • Be an active member of your YouthACT team for at least two years. The estimated time commitment for youth is 10 to 15 hours per month.

Apply by completing the youth application form and submitting it with the required attachments and other sections of the team application to NCWD/Youth:

  • By mail: NCWD/Youth c/o IEL, 4301 Connecticut Ave. NW Ste. 100, Washington, DC 20008;
  • By email to: thomasj@iel.org; or
  • By fax to: (202) 872-4050

Questions? See the Frequently Asked Questions Page. You may also contact NCWD/Youth at thomasj@iel.org or Ph. (202) 822-8405 Ext. 162.

Download the application (Microsoft Word document)

Team applications are due July 31, 2015.


Professionals - Learn More About Being an Adult Partner for YouthACT

Organizations - Learn More About Supporting a YouthACT Team


Information for Adult Partners

   Do you want to:

  • Be part of a national initiative that aims to increase youth voice and leadership in efforts to improve services and opportunities for youth transitioning to adulthood?
  • Serve as a mentor to youth as they develop their own voice and leadership and self-advocacy skills?
  • Develop your own skills at facilitating youth-adult partnerships and youth leadership development?
  • Work in partnership with youth on efforts to improve youth transition outcomes at the local, state, and national levels?

If you answered yes, consider applying to participate in the Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT)!

There’s no cost to participate, and each YouthACT team will receive a small stipend of $3,000 to use at your discretion for expenses such as meetings, supplies, and team activities. Each adult partner will also receive a small honorarium of $500 for the year.

To apply, you must:

  • Be part of a team that includes two youth (ages 12-25, at least one of which has a disability), a supporting organization, and yourself.
  • Have experience working with or supporting transition-age youth, including youth with disabilities.
  • Be knowledgeable about youth development principles and practices.
  • Commit to serving as your team’s adult partner for at least two years, ideally for the duration of the national project, and fulfill all adult partner responsibilities.
  • Have the support of a supporting organization (may be your employer or an organization you are affiliated with in a volunteer capacity).

What is YouthACT?

The Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT) is a national initiative to get more youth with disabilities and their allies involved as leaders and partners with adults and youth-serving organizations to improve youth transition outcomes. YouthACT is led by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) at the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Learn more about NCWD/Youth at www.ncwd-youth.info.

NCWD/Youth uses the term “youth transition” to describe the process and period of change youth go through, typically between the ages of 12 and 25, that involves developing the full range of competencies they need to succeed in adult life including employment, postsecondary education, and independent and community living. While many organizations and government agencies are responsible for helping youth transition to adulthood (e.g. schools, employment and training programs, afterschool and recreation programs, health and mental health services, housing programs, disability services, courts and juvenile justice agencies, and child welfare and foster care programs), youth rarely have a voice in the decisions these agencies and organizations make about the programs, services, and policies that affect them. Increasing youth voice in organization and agency decision making and policy making is important to ensure youth receive the opportunities, services, and support they need during the transition to adulthood.

For this reason, YouthACT aims to increase positive youth-adult partnerships where young people and adults work together, share power, and support and learn from each other to build stronger communities. All individuals in the partnership have the opportunity to engage in planning, decision-making, and action consistent with their own interests and skills. NCWD/Youth will select four teams in 2015. The 2015 cohort will work collaboratively with the 2014 cohort.

YouthACT aims to improve the capacity and engagement of youth with disabilities and their allies as leaders and partners in efforts to improve transition policies and practices within and across systems serving youth.

What will I do as an Adult Partner for a YouthACT Team?

When you apply to be an adult partner as a part of a YouthACT team, you commit to fulfill the following Adult Partner responsibilities:

  • Attend the annual national training with your YouthACT team in Washington, D.C. October 29-31, 2015. You will be expected to attend this conference in 2015 and 2016. Travel expenses will be covered by the Institute for Educational Leadership.
  • Complete training alongside the youth in leadership and advocacy skills; youth-adult partnership strategies; youth transition policies; and issues affecting youth with disabilities.
  • Create a local plan with your YouthACT team for how you will work together year-round.
  • Work with the youth leaders as they form and facilitate a local youth peer group (approximately 20 youth) that will meet at least once per month to discuss youth transition issues and engage in quarterly youth leadership and advocacy activities such as making presentations on youth transition challenges and needs to community stakeholders (organizations, families, schools, policy makers).
  • Collaborate with the youth leaders as they prepare and give presentations in the community on how to improve services and opportunities for youth.
  • Work in collaboration with the existing cohort of YouthACT teams.
  • Participate in monthly national YouthACT activities including monthly national conference calls and quarterly webinars or video conferences with all the YouthACT teams and create youth-driven materials and tools on youth leadership and transition topics.
  • Be an active member of your YouthACT team for at least two years. The estimated time commitment for adult partners is 20 to 25 hours per month.

Apply by completing the adult partner application form and submitting it with the required attachments and other sections of the team application to NCWD/Youth:

  • By mail: NCWD/Youth c/o IEL, 4301 Connecticut Ave. NW Ste. 100, Washington, DC 20008;
  • By email to: thomasj@iel.org; or 
  • By fax to: (202) 872-4050

Questions? See the Frequently Asked Questions Page. You may also contact NCWD/Youth at thomasj@iel.org or Ph. (202) 822-8405 Ext. 162.

Download the application (Microsoft Word document)

Team applications are due July 31, 2015.


Information for Supporting Organizations

    Does your organization want to:

  • Be part of a national initiative that aims to increase youth voice and leadership in efforts to improve services and opportunities for youth transitioning to adulthood?
  • Support emerging youth leaders in your community in developing their own voice and leadership and self-advocacy skills?
  • Support the development of youth-adult partnerships to improve youth transition outcomes at the local, state, and national levels?

If you answered yes, consider applying as a supporting organization for the Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT)!

There’s no cost to participate, and each YouthACT team will receive a small stipend of $3,000 to use at your discretion for expenses such as meetings, supplies, and team activities. Each youth and adult partner will also receive a small honorarium of $500 for the year.

To apply, your organization must:

  • Be part of a team that includes two youth (ages 12-25, at least one of which has a disability), an adult partner, and your organization.
  • Commit to supporting the YouthACT team’s activities throughout this four-year project.
  • Commit to strenthening youth voice, youth leadership, and youth-adult partnership throughout your organization.
  • Provide a supporting organization contact who is not applying as the adult partner.

What is YouthACT?

The Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT) is a national initiative to get more youth with disabilities and their allies involved as leaders and partners with adults and youth-serving organizations to improve youth transition outcomes. YouthACT is led by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) at the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Learn more about NCWD/Youth at www.ncwd-youth.info.

NCWD/Youth uses the term “youth transition” to describe the process and period of change youth go through, typically between the ages of 12 and 25, that involves developing the full range of competencies they need to succeed in adult life including employment, postsecondary education, and independent and community living. While many organizations and government agencies are responsible for helping youth transition to adulthood (e.g. schools, employment and training programs, afterschool and recreation programs, health and mental health services, housing programs, disability services, courts and juvenile justice agencies, and child welfare and foster care programs), youth rarely have a voice in the decisions these agencies and organizations make about the programs, services, and policies that affect youth. Increasing youth voice in organization and agency decision making and policy making is important to ensure youth receive the opportunities, services, and support they need during the transition to adulthood.

For this reason, YouthACT aims to increase positive youth-adult partnerships where young people and adults work together, share power, and support and learn from each other to build stronger communities. All individuals in the partnership have the opportunity to engage in planning, decision-making, and action consistent with their own interests and skills. NCWD/Youth will select four teams in 2015. The 2015 cohort will work collaboratively with the 2014 cohort.

YouthACT aims to improve the capacity and engagement of youth with disabilities  and their allies as leaders and partners in efforts to improve transition policies and practices within and across systems serving youth. YouthACT will accomplish this goal by:

  • Supporting the creation of local YouthACT teams consisting of two emerging youth leaders and one adult partner, and a supporting organization.
  • Providing the emerging youth leaders the training and mentoring necessary to increase their knowledge about the transition process and policies in various systems and increase their leadership and advocacy skills.
  • Supporting the youth leaders, as a part of their YouthACT team, to participate in leadership opportunities related to informing their peers and the various systems about improved transition for all youth.
  • Engaging the youth leaders in developing materials and tools for youth, families, professionals, and policy makers.  
  • Engaging the youth leaders in identifying transition barriers youth are experiencing across systems.
  • Developing the capacity of organizations/agencies to effectively engage youth as leaders and partners in efforts to improve youth transition outcomes.

What does being a Supporting Organization involve?

When your organization applies to be a part of a YouthACT team, the organization commits to fulfill the following Supporting Organization responsibilities:

  • Support the adult partner by:
    • Providing time for the adult partner, as applicable (if he/she is an employee or volunteer with your organization) to fulfill all the adult partner responsibilities throughout this four year project.
    • Promptly filling a vacancy in the adult partner position with a qualified individual if it becomes vacant and providing a temporary fill-in for the position during a vacancy.
  • Provide release time, as applicable, for the adult partner and youth leaders to attend the national training conference in Washington, D.C. October 29-31, 2015. The team will be expected to attend this training in 2015 and 2016. Travel expenses will be covered by the Institute for Educational Leadership.
  • Support the team’s participation in monthly national conference calls and quarterly webinars or video conferences and collaboration with with all the YouthACT teams from existing cohorts.
  • Provide a venue, supplies, and logistical support for the YouthACT team’s monthly meetings and quarterly presentations.
  • Support the youth leaders and adult partner as they:
    • form and facilitate a local youth peer group (approximately 20 youth) that will meet at least once per month to discuss youth transition issues and engage in quarterly youth leadership and advocacy activities (see below).
    • prepare and give presentations on how to improve youth transition services and opportunities to various community stakeholders (organizations, families, schools, policy makers).
    • work with NCWD/Youth to create youth-driven materials and tools on youth leadership and transition topics. 
  •  Assist the team with its outreach and dissemination activities by sharing professional and organizational contacts.
  • Commit to strengthening youth voice, youth leadership, and youth-adult partnership throughout your organization.

Required Parental Permission & Release Form and Adult Partner Release Form: 
With this application, NCWD/Youth requires submission of a publicity release from all applicants, including a complete publicity and parental release form for each youth leader under age 18. The form templates are enclosed in the application package and include spaces for the supporting organization to identify itself. Please complete these fields in the forms before the youth’s parents/guardians and the adult partner complete and sign the forms.

Apply by completing the supporting organization application form (Section 4 of the team application) and submitting it with the required attachments and other sections of the team application to NCWD/Youth:

  • By mail: NCWD/Youth c/o IEL, 4301 Connecticut Ave. NW Ste. 100, Washington, DC 20008;
  • By email to: thomasj@iel.org; or 
  • By fax to: (202) 872-4050

Questions? See the Frequently Asked Questions Page. You may also contact NCWD/Youth at thomasj@iel.org or Ph. (202) 822-8405 Ext. 162.

Download the application (Microsoft Word document)

Team applications are due July 31, 2015.

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