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October 6, 2017

Academic Counseling

As quoted in the Perkins legislation, academic counseling is also often referred to as academic advisement. This generally refers to trained professionals counseling students on their academic plans, for course-taking while in secondary school, as well as for postsecondary education.

Academic Performance or Achievement Tests

Assessments used by schools, school districts, and states that focus on educational performance or achievement in specific subject areas such as reading, spelling, or mathematics.


Refers to the ability to find, manipulate, and use information, an object, a place, a service or a program in an efficient and comprehensive manner. Access can be programmatic, physical, or communications. 1) Communications includes media and telecommunications equipment. 2) Physical implies the ability to find, manipulate, and use information, an object, a place, a service or a program in an efficient and comprehensive manner. Access can be programmatic or physical. 1) Program – Programs or activities provided by the recipient of public funds must be readily accessible to qualified individuals. 2) Technology – Hardware and software tools that includes computers, assistive and adaptive equipment, and the Internet. 3) Web – Websites built so that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web.


Refers to providing access to or capable of being reached or used. It may also be used to describe architecture that can be reached or utilized by everyone, including those who have functional limitations and, as a result, may use a wheelchair, a walker, or a cane.


Changes made in a classroom, work site, or other settings that assists people with disabilities to learn, work, or receive services. Accommodations are designed not to lower expectations for performance in school or work but to alleviate the effects of a disability.

Activities of Daily Living

Things you do every day such as dressing, grooming, bathing, eating, positioning, transferring, toileting, and maintaining continence.

Adaptive technology

Computer hardware and software tools developed to provide functional alternative to standard computer operations such as providing input, interpreting output, and reading supporting documentation.

Adult Education

Adult education means services or instruction below the postsecondary level for individuals: (A) who have attained 16 years of age; (B) who are not enrolled or required to be enrolled in secondary school under State law; and (C) who lack sufficient mastery of basic educational skills to enable the individuals to function effectively in society; do not have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent, and have not achieved an equivalent level of education; or are unable to speak, read, or write the English language.

Adult Services

Services needed for people when they reach adulthood; these services often include (but are not limited to) assistance in finding a job, assistance in the home, assistance at work, and provision of various therapies or medications.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

A catchall term that describes a number of methods used to resolve disputes out of court, including negotiation, conciliation, mediation and the many types of arbitration. The common denominator of all ADR methods is that they are faster, less formalistic, cheaper and often less adversarial than a court trial. In recent years the term Alternative Dispute Resolution has begun to lose favor in some circles and ADR has come to mean Appropriate Dispute Resolution. The point of this semantic change is to emphasize that ADR methods stand on their own as effective ways to resolve disputes and should not be seen simply as alternatives to a court action.

Alternative Schools

A school that is nontraditional in its educational ideals, methods of teaching, or curriculum; often geared to special populations of youth.

Anxiety Disorders

There are several anxiety disorders that interfere with school performance or attendance and with job training or work. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by six months or more of chronic, exaggerated worry and tension that is unfounded or much more severe than the normal anxiety most people experience. Youth with GAD also have one or more of the following symptoms in association with the worry: restlessness, fatigue, poor concentration, irritability, muscle tension, or sleep disturbance. People with GAD are often pessimistic and worry excessively even though there may be no specific signs of trouble. These anxieties may translate into physical symptoms such as insomnia, eating problems, and headaches. Young people with GAD may have social anxieties about speaking in public or working in public areas.


Apprenticeship is a federally recognized training system for occupations requiring a wide and extensive range of skills and knowledge. It involves on-the-job training combined with related (i.e., classroom) instruction. In the United States alone, there are currently more than 800 different apprenticeable occupations. Apprentice wages are based on the level of their skills and increase incrementally to the journeyman level upon successful completion of the apprenticeship.


The potential to learn.

Aptitude Test

A test that measures the vocational potential or capacities of an individual to succeed in future career endeavors.


A dispute resolution process in which the disputing parties present their case to a third party intermediary (or a panel of arbitrators) who examine all the evidence and then make a decision for the parties. This decision is usually binding. Like court-based adjudication, arbitration is adversarial. The presentations are made to prove one side right, the other wrong. Arbitration is generally not as formal as court adjudication however, the rules can be altered to some extent to meet the party’s needs.

Area of Development

One of a range of areas in which a young person needs to learn and grow in order to become a fully prepared and fully engaged adult (Ferber, Pittman, & Marshall, 2002).


The process of collecting data for the purpose of making decisions. Four domains of assessment include educational, vocational, psychological, and medical.

Asset Development

Assets are investments that appreciate over time. Examples are cash savings, investments, and retirement accounts, as well as material possessions such as a house, automobile, or small business. To be economically secure, families need both income and assets. Regular income helps families pay for daily living expenses. Assets help families weather financial hardships and prepare for the future by saving for retirement or investing in their children’s education. Asset-development policies promote financial opportunity for all members of society and allow people to earn good incomes, save money, buy a home, start a business, and live securely in retirement.

Assistive Technology (AT)

Under several different laws, assistive technology (or adaptive technology) is defined as including both the assistive technology devices and the services (e.g., repair and maintenance) needed to make meaningful use of such devices. The Assistive Technology Act defines an assistive technology device as: any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. An assistive technology service is defined as: any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.

Assistive Technology (AT) Assessments

Activities used to determine an individual’s need for technology and ability to use technology. These are accompanied with recommendations for training and specific adaptive equipment.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

A family of related chronic neurobiological disorders that interferes with an individual’s capacity to inhibit behavior (impulsivity) and to attend to tasks (inattention) in developmentally appropriate ways.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)

A family of related chronic neurobiological disorders that interferes with an individual’s capacity to regulate activity level (hyperactivity), to inhibit behavior (impulsivity), and to attend to tasks (inattention) in developmentally appropriate ways.

Auditory Processing Disorder

Interferes with an individual’s ability to analyze or make sense of information taken in through the ears. Difficulties with auditory processing do not affect what is heard by the ear, but do affect how this information is interpreted, or processed by the brain. An auditory processing deficit can interfere directly with speech and language, but can affect all areas of learning, especially reading and spelling.


The ability and opportunity to operate independently.


Behavioral, Social, and Emotional Assessments

Activities used by schools and workforce preparation programs to identify, diagnose, and suggest treatment of mental health and chemical health problems.

Belonging and Membership

An individual’s sense that he or she values, and is valued by others in the family and surrounding community (Center for Youth Development and Policy Research, 1996)


The process of identifying, sharing, and using knowledge and best practices. It focuses on how to improve any given business process by exploiting top-notch approaches rather than merely measuring the best performance. Finding, studying, and implementing best practices provides the greatest opportunity for gaining a strategic, operational, and financial advantage.

Benefits Planner

A person who interprets complex policy, rules, procedures, administrative code, and legislative language into practical and understandable information. Under the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act, Congress created a formal program, known as the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program, as a core employment support for people with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). All 50 states participate in the WIPA program.

Benefits Planning

The person-centered analysis of the effect that work and other life situation changes have on public and private programs, including income support programs. Benefits planning helps people with disabilities steer through the maze of public and private benefits programs while minimizing disincentives and barriers that exist for them to prepare for, obtain, advance in, retain, leave, and regain employment.

Blended Funding

A term used to describe mechanisms that pool dollars from multiple sources and make them in some ways indistinguishable. Blending may require the changing or relaxing of regulations guiding relevant state and federal funding streams by policy makers at the federal, state, or local level to permit program flexibility, and change the way services are structured and delivered.

Braided Funding

A funding and resource allocation strategy that taps into existing categorical funding streams and uses them to support unified initiatives in as flexible and integrated manner as possible. Braided funding streams remain visible and are used in common to produce greater strength, efficiency, and; or effectiveness. Braided funding allows resources to be tracked more closely for the purpose of accounting to state and federal administrators. Thus, implementing a braided funding approach requires significant attention be paid to administrative issues.

Business Leadership Networks (BLN)

Chaired by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the BLN is a national program led by employers in concert with state Governor’s Committees and/or community agencies that engage the leadership and participation of companies throughout the United States to hire qualified job candidates with disabilities.

Business Plan

Defines the business, identifies goals, and helps identify the enterprise to others. The business plan helps the business owner to allocate resources properly, handle unforeseen complications, and make good business decisions. It also informs sales personnel, suppliers, and others about operations and goals.


Career Assessment

Career assessment refers to a comprehensive process conducted over a period of time, involving a multi-disciplinary team with the purpose of identifying individual characteristics, education, training, and placement needs. Such assessments provide educators and others with the basis for planning an individual’s school and career development program. Career assessment may use both formal and informal methodologies and should provide the individual with insight into his or her vocational potential (Leconte & Neubert, 1997).

Career Counseling

Includes the following types of activities: A) assisting in the development of career choices over the life span; B) addressing individual needs; and C) assisting in clarifying career decision making.


Career Development

A life-long process with age and stage appropriate strategies that should be employed by the professionals engaged in each particular stage of development. All of the definitions recognize that the development process must include the following: A) the provision of basic knowledge; B) exposure to careers; C) the development of work values; and D) the discovery of specific vocational pathways that meet the person’s interests, aptitudes, and opportunities.

Career Education

Career education refers to an educational emphasis stressing the teaching of life career roles (e.g., family member, citizen, community participant, worker, etc.) early in life, to be followed up throughout the student’s education in preparing him or her for those roles (Sitlington, Clark, & Kolstoe, 2000).

Career Exploration

The process of finding a rewarding career path, as well as specific jobs within a particular career path.

Career Guidance

Refers to services and activities intended to assist individuals of any age and at any point throughout their lives to make educational, training, and occupational choices and to manage their careers. Such services may be found in schools, universities and colleges, training institutions, public employment services, the workplace, the voluntary or community sector, and in the private sector. The activities may take place on an individual or group basis, and be face-to-face or at a distance (including help lines and web-based services). They include career information provisions (in print, ICT-based and other forms), assessment and self-assessment tools, counseling interviews, career education programs (to help individuals develop their self-awareness, opportunity awareness, and career management skills), taster programs (to sample options before choosing them), work search programs, and transition services.

Career Preparation

Core activities that help youth become prepared for a successful future in careers or post secondary education institutions including career awareness activities that expose young people to information about the job market, job related skills, the wide variety of jobs that exist and the education and training they require, as well as the work environment where they are performed. Core activities also include: 1) Career assessments (formal and informal); 2) Opportunity awareness including guest speaker informational interviews, research-based activities such as wage comparisons and Web searches, community mapping, and exposures to post secondary education such as campus visits and college fairs; and 3) Work-readiness skills such as soft-skills development, computer competency, and job search skills.

Career and Technical Education

Career and technical education refers to organized educational activities that offer a sequence of courses that provide individuals with coherent and rigorous content aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant technical knowledge and skills needed to prepare for further education and careers in current or emerging professions; provides technical skill proficiency, an industry-recognized credential, a certificate, or an associate degree; and may include prerequisite courses (other than a remedial course). The term also includes competency-based applied learning that contributes to the academic knowledge, higher-order reasoning and problem-solving skills, work attitudes, general employability skills, technical skills, occupation-specific skills, and knowledge of all aspects of an industry, including entrepreneurship, of an individual (Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006, Public Law 109-270).

Case Management

The main purpose of case management is to coordinate the provision of services for individual children and their families who require services from multiple service providers. Case managers take on roles ranging from brokering services to linking with and advocating for services that families need. There is a considerable amount of variation in case management models. In the wraparound model, case managers involve families in a participatory process of developing an individualized plan focusing on individual and family strengths in multiple life domains.

Center for Independent Living (CIL)

Community-based, not-for-profit, non-residential organizations that provide advocacy, peer counseling, independent living skills training, and information and referral to persons of any age with any disability.

Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)

Found in individuals who have no trouble detecting the presence of sound, but do have difficulty processing and remembering language-related tasks (e.g., understanding conversations in noisy environments, following complex oral directions, learning new vocabulary words or foreign languages). These hearing difficulties can affect their ability to develop normal language skills, succeed academically, or communicate effectively (Schminky & Baran, 1999). CAPD often co-exists with other disabilities such as speech and language disorders or delays, dyslexia, attention deficit disorders with or without hyperactivity, social, and/or emotional problems (Chermak & Musiek, 1997).

Charter Schools

Charter schools are public schools providing choices for families and greater accountability for results.

Client Assistance Programs (CAP)

The purpose of the Client Assistance Program is to advise and inform clients, client applicants, and other individuals with disabilities of all the available services and benefits under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and of the services and benefits available to them under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In addition, grantees may assist and advocate for clients and client applicants in relation to projects, programs, and services provided under the Rehabilitation Act. In providing assistance and advocacy under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act, a CAP agency may provide assistance and advocacy with respect to services that are directly related to employment for the client or client applicant.


The term for when two or more conditions that are diagnostically distinguishable from one another tend to occur together.

Cognitive Abilities Tests

Assessments used by schools and workforce preparation programs to measure intellectual skills and to diagnose neuropsychological problems and learning disabilities.


A mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations to achieve common goals. The relationship includes a commitment to: a definition of mutual relationships and goals; a jointly developed structure and shared responsibility; mutual authority and accountability; and sharing of resources and rewards (Mattesich & Monsey, 1992). Collaboration involves formal, sustained commitment among partners to accomplish a shared, clearly defined mission (Kerka, 1997). Collaborative efforts can overcome service fragmentation and interrelated problems resulting in improved services to individuals with disabilities (Melaville & Blank, 1993).

Common Performance Measures

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has developed common performance measures for programs with similar goals. OMB has developed uniform evaluation metrics, called “common measures,” for job training and employment programs as well as four additional crosscutting, government-wide functions.


Refers to the accurate and efficient transmission and/or reception of information, either verbally (spoken or written) or non-verbally.

Communities of Practice (CoP)

A group of people that agree to interact regularly to solve a persistent problem or improve practice in an area that is important to them. CoPs exist in many forms, some are large in scale and dealing with complex problems, others are small in scale and focused on a problem at a very specific level. CoPs are a way of working that invite the groups that have a stake in an issue to be a part of the problem solving.

Community Rehabilitation Program

In the vocational rehabilitation system, a “community rehabilitation program” is a program that provides directly, or facilitates the provision of, vocational rehabilitation services to people with disabilities to enable them to maximize opportunities for employment. Some of the services provided by a community rehabilitation program may include, but are not limited to: 1) Medical, psychiatric, psychological, social, and vocational services that are provided under one management; 2) Recreational therapy, physical and occupational therapy, speech, language, and hearing therapy; 3) Psychiatric, psychological, and social services including positive behavior management; 4) Disability evaluations and orientation and mobility services; and 5) Job development, placement, and retention services. A community rehabilitation program often has in-depth knowledge about disability supports, services and providers in their communities.

Community Schools

A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families, and healthier communities. Schools become centers of the community and are open to everyone all day, every day, evenings, and weekends. Using public schools as hubs, community schools bring together many partners to offer a range of supports and opportunities to children, youth, families, and communities. Partners work to achieve these results: 1) Children are ready to learn when they enter school and every day thereafter. All students learn and achieve to high standards. 2) Young people are well prepared for adult roles in the workplace, as parents and as citizens. 3) Families and neighborhoods are safe, supportive and engaged. 4) Parents and community members are involved with the school and their own life-long learning.

Community and Faith-Based Initiatives

Centers for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives have been created in eleven Federal agencies to strengthen and expand the role of Faith-Based and Community organizations in providing social services.

Community-Based Interventions

Seek to provide a range (mild to intensive) of clinical and social supports to create a network of services for youth and families within their community. Community-based interventions may include services such as case management, home-based services, respite services, wraparound approaches, therapeutic foster care, therapeutic group homes, and crisis services.

Compensatory Learning Strategies

Strategies that focus on processes, techniques, and practices that lessen the effects of a learning disability and build skills for more complex reasoning. Compensatory learning strategies center on the specific processing problems that accompany learning disabilities.

Compensatory Strategies

Strategies that build skills in individuals by focusing on processes, techniques, and practices that lessen the effects of a disability.

Competitive Employment

In general, competitive employment is a job where an individual is working for pay in an individual, community-based job where the individual is paid directly by the employer.

Comprehensive Career Planning (CCP)

Refers to a guidance system that navigates an individual through education, knowledge, and skills acquisition on the path to obtaining a career. The goal of CCP is to establish an approach to one’s future that allows for a growth plan into a fulfilling and meaningful career as opposed to a job.


Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances Program

The program provides grants to states and communities for the improvement and expansion of community-based systems of care for children with serious emotional disturbances and their families. Individualized service plans dictate the range of services and can include can include non-mental health services including education, vocational counseling, rehabilitation, and protection and advocacy.

Conduct Disorders

A complicated group of behavioral and emotional problems in youth manifested by difficulty in following rules and behaving in a socially acceptable way. Youth with conduct disorders may exhibit some of the following behaviors: aggression to people and animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness, lying, stealing, or other serious violations of rules. They are often viewed by other youth, adults, and social agencies as bad or delinquent, rather than having a behavioral disorder.

Conflict Resolution

Refers to the process of becoming aware of a conflict, diagnosing its nature, and employing an appropriate problem-solving method in such a way that it simultaneously achieves the goals of all involved and enhances the relationships among them (Dettmer, Thurston, & Dyck, 1993).

Consumer Empowerment

Refers to programs that allow for–and even promote–self-determination, self-advocacy, and active participation in the decision-making process at the individual and systems levels.

Coordinated Work of Providers

Providers of services to employers need to coordinate and have: 1) Marketing to prospective employers; 2) Understanding of and adherence to typical company screening processes; 3) Thorough knowledge of youth skills, interests, and aptitudes; and 4) Matching youth to employer needs and circumstances.

Corporate Entrepreneurship

The idea that firms can behave in a proactive, innovative, and risk-taking manner.

Criterion-Referenced Tests

Instruments used to measure whether an individual has learned specific information or can perform certain activities.

Critical Incident Technique

Analysts identify critical incidents that illustrate behaviors that are effective or ineffective in accomplishing the aims of the job. Critical incidents are then classified into categories of behavior. CIT is typically used as a supplemental data collection technique to another method. It is time consuming, requires someone with special training, and produces data that is not necessarily representative of the range of tasks performed in the occupation.

Customized Employment

A process for individualizing the employment relationship between a job seeker or an employee and an employer in ways that meet the needs of both. It is based on a match between the unique strengths, needs, and interests of the job candidate with a disability, and the identified business needs of the employer or the self-employment business chosen by the candidate.


Depressive Disorders

Young people with clinical depression (defined as a major depressive episode lasting for a period of two weeks or more) often have multiple symptoms, including a depressed mood, irritability, overeating or lack of appetite, difficulty sleeping at night or wanting to sleep during the daytime, low energy, physical slowness or agitation, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. Like many mental health problems, untreated depression can make education or career planning difficult. Fortunately, depression is one of the most treatable of all mental illnesses.

Developing a Curriculum

DACUM is a newer technique, originated in Canada and popularized by vocational education in the United States. The DACUM process involves role incumbents and supervisors for up to several days with a trained facilitat9r to generate the information. The result is a listing of tasks and activities for any particular job. According to Dr. Robert Norton of Ohio State University DACUM operates on three assumptions: (a) expert workers can define their job more accurately than anyone else; (b) an effective way to describe a job is to define the tasks expert workers perform; and (c) all tasks demand certain knowledge, skills, tools, and attitudes in order to be performed correctly.

Developmental Areas

Ferber, Pittman and Marshall (2002) have identified five basic developmental areas in which all young people need to learn and grow. They are: *Connecting – Connecting refers to the development of positive social behaviors, skills, and attitudes. Positive outcomes that fall under this area include quality relationships, the ability to build trust, and effective communication. Activities such as adult mentoring, positive peer interactions, and team-building exercises help youth achieve these outcomes. *Leading – Leading refers to the development of positive skills, attitudes, and behaviors around civic involvement and personal goal-setting. Beneficial outcomes that fall under this area include a sense of responsibility to oneself and others and the ability to articulate one’s personal values Activities such as the opportunity to take a leadership role and participation in community service projects help youth achieve these outcomes. *Learning – Learning refers to the development of positive basic and applied academic attitudes, skills, and behaviors. Beneficial outcomes that fall under this area include rational problem solving and critical thinking. Activities such as group problem-solving games and contextualized learning using academic skills to complete a project help youth achieve these outcomes. *Thriving – Thriving refers to the development of attitudes, skills, and behaviors that are demonstrated by maintaining optimal physical and emotional wellbeing. Beneficial outcomes that fall under this area include knowledge and practice of good nutrition and hygiene and the capacity to identify risky conditions. Activities such as workshops on nutrition and hygiene and role-playing adverse situations help youth achieve these outcomes. *Working – Working refers to the development of positive attitudes, skills, and behaviors around occupational and career direction. Positive outcomes that fall under this area include demonstrated work-readiness skills and involvement in meaningful work that offers advancement, satisfaction, and self-sufficiency. Activities such as career interest assessments and summer internships help youth achieve these outcomes.

Developmental Disability (DD)

A term used to describe life-long disabilities resulting from a mental and/or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments, with an onset prior to the age of 22. Such disabilities affect daily functioning in three or more functional areas, including capacity for independent living, economic expressive language, self-care, and self-direction. Examples of developmental disabilities include cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and epilepsy. Developmental disabilities are also referred to as intellectual disabilities.

Direct Care Worker/Caregiver

An individual, such as a physician, nurse, parent, foster parent, head of a household, or social worker, who assists in the identification, prevention, treatment of an illness or disability.


The broadest definition of disability can be found in Americans with Disabilities Act: 1) A person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; 2) A person who has a history or record of such an impairment; or 3) A person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. This broad definition forms the basis of civil rights of people with disabilities and is used as the core definition of disability for all the federal government legal and regulatory compliance responsibilities as it relates to both physical and programmatic access.

Disability History, Culture, and Policy

Disability history is made up of people, places, things, and events that had an impact on people with disabilities. As a result of the disability rights movement and disability history bringing people with disabilities together; it also led to the development of a culture. The feeling of sharing a common experience is the initial sign of something more than just coincidences and experiences, but a deeper level of kinship. Disability culture emerged as a result of the oppression, people with disabilities face on political, social, economic, and cultural levels.

Disability Studies

An interdisciplinary field of study, which is focused on the contributions, experiences, history, and culture of people with disabilities.

Disability Support Services (DSS)

An office in a postsecondary institution that provides necessary information to students who need accommodations. In addition, these offices provide training to faculty and staff on disability issues.


The act of opening up, revealing, or telling. With regard to individuals with disabilities, it refers to the act of informing someone that an individual has a disability, including self-disclosure. It is often associated with a person’s need to request accommodations.

Disconnected Youth

A person between the age of 16-24 years old, who is either not working (in the private sector or in the military), nor in school.


A learning disability for mathematical or arithmetic concepts and calculations. For the most part, people experiencing dyscalculia often have visual processing difficulties.


Refers to a writing or fine motor skills deficit. In all cases of dysgraphia, writing requires inordinate amounts of energy, stamina, and time.


A specific language-based learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is not caused by any visual acuity problem. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension, written expression and speaking. People with dyslexia can may find it difficult to express themselves clearly, or to fully comprehend what others mean when they speak.

Dyspraxia (Sensory Integration Disorder)

An inability to coordinate movements even though there is no damage to the muscles needed for the movement. It is an immaturity in the way that the brain processes information, which results in messages not being properly or fully transmitted. Dyspraxia affects the planning of what to do and how to do it. It is associated with problems of perception, language, and thought. There may be an overlap with related conditions. (Dyspraxia Foundation, n.d.).


Education and Training

Education and Training is formal instruction and supervised practice in an academic subjects, skills, trade, or profession leading to a generally recognized credential or certificate.

Electronic and Information Technology

Electronic and Information Technology includes: any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment, that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information; any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment, that is used in the creation, conversion, or duplication of data or information.


Criteria or requirements which determine a right to participate in a particular activity, service, or program.

Emotional Disturbance (ED)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004 defines an emotional disturbance (formerly known as a serious emotional disturbance) as a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree, and which adversely affects educational performance: 1) an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors; 2) an inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; 3) inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances; 4) a general, pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or 5) a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. The term includes children who are schizophrenic and does not include children who are socially maladjusted unless it is determined that they are emotionally disturbed.


Regular engagement in skilled or unskilled labor or service activities for payment.

Employment Network

Any agency or instrumentality of a private or public entity that enters into a contract with the Social Security Administration to assume responsibility for the coordination and delivery of appropriate employment, employment activities, and other support services under the Ticket to Work Program.

Employment Outcome

As defined in Title I of the Rehabilitation Act and its governing regulations, an employment outcome means entering or retaining full-time or, if appropriate, part-time competitive employment in the integrated labor market; satisfying the vocational outcome of supported employment; or satisfying any other approved appropriate vocational outcome such as self-employment, telecommuting, or business ownership.

Employment Services Offices

Employment Service Offices has listings of available jobs and provides assistance to job seekers.

Empowerment/Enterprise Zones

The Empowerment Zones/Enterprise Communities (EZ/EC) program is a federal government-wide effort to enable the self-revitalization and growth of distressed urban and rural areas throughout the nation. In December 1994, 105 socio-economically distressed areas were designated to receive focused federal assistance based on strategic plans for economic and human development. The EZ/EC designees are receiving flexible grants through a special provision in the SSBG Program, tax incentives, and a commitment of additional types of Federal support to implement these plans over a ten-year period.


Refers to a business, organized business activities aimed specifically at growth and profit, or a new and risky venture.


A right to benefits specified especially by law or contract; a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; funds supporting or distributed by such a program.

Entrepreneurial Skills

Skills that support any business-sponsored opportunity provides youth with invaluable experiences in organizational skills, task orientation, persistence, and determination. Work-based learning programs focusing on entrepreneurship can help young people design and operate a small business.


The process of finding and evaluating opportunities and risks, and developing and executing plans for translating those opportunities into financial self-sufficiency.

Entrepreneurship Education

Entrepreneurship education is viewed as the process of providing individuals with the concepts and skills to recognize opportunities that others have overlooked and to have the insight, self-esteem, and knowledge to act where others have hesitated. It includes instruction in opportunity recognition, finding and uses resources in the face of risk, initiating a business venture. It also includes instruction in business management processes such as business planning, capital development, marketing, and cash flow analysis.

Essential Functions of the Job

These are tasks that are fundamental and necessary to perform a given position. They do not include marginal duties.


Fair Test

A test that is free from bias and conforms to recognized test administration standards and ethics.

Family Supports & Services

Refers to access to: information through neutral intermediary organizations to assist in understanding causes and implications for daily living of the disability of the child; information and training about effective practices and options for their child’s education and transition into post-school life such as individualized education transition plans, and navigating the adult service delivery system(s); information and training about the implications of disability-centered legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, medical services and insurance, income support, education and training; and support networks that promote asset-based strategies for both youth and family members.

Family involvement

The support for the social, emotional, physical, academic, and occupational growth of youth that is provided by parents and/or other family, either independently or in collaboration with professionals.


The ability or willingness to follow a leader.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

The services to which every person ages three to 21 who is receiving special education services is entitled during their years in school.

Functional Job Analysis

Trained analysts investigate the interactions among work, workers, and work organization through a multi-dimensional information collection process. FJA is used extensively throughout industry in managerial, professional and craft situations to classify jobs, generate work sample tests and to develop performance standards for work.

Functional-Behavioral Assessment

An approach that incorporates a variety of techniques and strategies to determine the causes of problem behaviors and identify interventions needed to address them.

Functional-Life Skills

Basic skills in the context of real world situations; the variety of skills that are frequently demanded in domestic, vocational, and community environments.



An umbrella term encompassing many services aimed at student’s personal and career development.

Guideposts for Success

A comprehensive framework that identified what all youth, including youth with disabilities need to succeed during the critical transition years.

Guideposts for Success for Employers

The needs that employers have that must be addressed by the workforce development system in order for employers to successfully hire and retain persons in their enterprises.

Guideposts for Success for Youth Involved in Foster Care

The Guideposts highlight specific experiences, supports, and services that are relevant to improving transition outcomes for youth with and without disabilities involved in the foster care system.

Guideposts for Success for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System

The Guideposts highlight specific experiences, supports, and services that are relevant to improving transition outcomes for youth with and without disabilities involved or at risk of becoming involved in the juvenile justice system.

Guideposts for Youth with Mental Health Needs

The Guideposts are the needs that all youth including youth with mental health needs, regardless of whether they have been identified and/or are receiving mental health services, have to success during the critical transition years.


Health-Related Functions

Services that must be delegated or assigned by a licenses health care professional such as a nurse or doctor. Health-Related Functions are usually required to be provided under the directions of a Qualified Professional (QP) or a doctor. Examples of Health-Related Functions are special skin care, non-sterile catheter care, tube feedings, and respiratory assistance.


Health care or healthcare is the prevention, treatment, and management of illness and the preservation of mental and physical well-being through the services offered by the medical, nursing, and allied health professions. The organized provision of such services may constitute a healthcare system.

Hidden Disabilities

Disabilities that are not apparent upon casual observation. Hidden disabilities include, but are not limited to, Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD), Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), mental health or emotional problems (such as depression, anxiety disorders, or conduct disorders), Epilepsy, and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

Home Health Agency

These agencies usually have a license from the Department of Health or other disability-related department and are Medicare-certified. These agencies typically provide skilled nursing visits, home health aide visits, occupational and physical therapy (OT/PT) visits as well as personal assistance services.

Home and Community Based Services

The major goal of home-based services is to maintain the youth at home and prevent an out-of-home placement (i.e., in foster care or in residential or inpatient treatment). Home-based services are usually provided through the child welfare, juvenile justice, or mental health systems. Home-based services are also referred to as in-home services, family preservation services, family-centered services, family-based services, or intensive family services. The services are tailored to the individual needs of families.

Home-Based Services

The major goal is to maintain the youth at home and prevent an out-of-home placement (i.e., in foster care or in residential or inpatient treatment). Home-based services are usually provided through the child welfare, juvenile justice, or mental health systems. Home-based services are also referred to as in-home services, family preservation services, family-centered services, family-based services, or intensive family services. The services are tailored to the individual needs of families.


IQ Testing or Intelligence Testing

The measurement of an individual’s general cognitive ability to function within various community settings.

Impairment-Related Work Expense (IRWE)

A Social Security work incentive that can be used to help reduce the impact of earnings on Social Security disability benefits (SSI and SSDI). IRWEs include the reasonable cost of items and services (e.g., attendant care, medical devices, special transportation) that, because of an impairment, a person needs and uses in order to work. The cost of these items and services is deducted from the earnings that Social Security uses to determine whether a person is working at the Substantial Gainful Activity level.

Independent Living Program (ILP)

Purpose is to maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence, and productivity of individuals with disabilities and to integrate these individuals into the mainstream of society.

Independent Living Skills Assessments

Assessments that are often conducted by teachers, counselors, or others to determine how well an individual can engage in activities of daily living.

Individual Development Account (IDA)

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) create saving opportunities for low income individuals and families. They are interest bearing savings accounts that use matching deposits from community based and nonprofit organizations. IDAs are primarily created for the purchase of a first home, higher education, or small business development. Financial literacy for account holders is one of the core elements of an IDA program. Other elements of the program typically consist of an introduction to the importance of asset building, asset more people including youth with disabilities.

Individual Training Account (ITA)

The Workforce Investment Act established accounts for eligible individuals to finance job-related education and training. ITAs act like a voucher that can be exchanged for training at an approved learning institution.

Individual Transition Plan (ITP)

A written plan that outlines what a student will need to live and work as an adult. This plan works as a bridge between the IEP and other transition plans.

Individual Work Plan (IWP)

Under the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act (TWWIIA), an IWP is a formal agreement between a Ticket holder and an Employment Network that describes how services will achieve an employment goal. The detailed IWP includes specific steps may take several years to complete.

Individualized Education Plan (Program) (IEP)

A written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This statement must include: A) the child’s academic achievement and functional performance; B) measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals; C) a description of how the child’s progress toward the goals will be measured; D) what special education and related services will be provided; E) an explanation of the extent, if any, to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in regular classes; and F) a description of any appropriate accommodations that are necessary. The first IEP, under the IDEA, must be in effect no later than when the child turns 16. These services may start earlier if determined appropriate by the IEP Team. IEP’s must also be updated annually (IDEA 2004).

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)

Guides the early intervention process for children with disabilities and their families. The IFSP is implemented in accordance with Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It contains information about the services necessary to facilitate a child’s development and enhance the family’s capacity to facilitate the child’s development. Family members and service providers work as a team to plan, implement, and evaluate services tailored to the family’s needs.

Individualized Mentoring Plan (IMP)

An Individualized Mentoring Plan (IMP) is a tool for mentors and mentees to use together to help them talk about what they want to learn, what they want to gain, and how they want to grow because of their relationship.

Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)

Under the Social Security Administrations Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act (TWWIIA), an IPE is a plan developed by a State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency and the client for the services that the client needs to assist them in reaching their work goal.

Individualized Planning

Is the process of assessing a person’s strengths, skills, resources, interests and limitations as they apply to the achievement of a specific goal, and then using that information to develop a plan that lays out the steps that need to be taken for that person to accomplish that goal. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), special education students are required to have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that includes information on the student’s present level of functioning in each identified needs area, a statement of annual goals for the student, a statement of appropriate short-term objectives with the evaluation approach and criteria for determining progress toward achievement of annual goals, a statement of any required related services and who will provide them, a statement of transition service needs (beginning at least by age 16), and a statement that relates to the amount of time the student will spend in the least restrictive environment (i.e., general education classes). Under title I of the Rehabilitation Act, individuals determined eligible for services from a State Vocational Rehabilitation agency must have an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) which is developed in partnership with a qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and which outlines the person’s vocational goals, the services that the individual will receive, the providers of those services, and the methods that will be used to procure those services. Another example of an individualized plan is the Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) which allows recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to set aside income and resources to achieve a specific work goal. Other examples of individualized plans include individualized services strategies for participation in Title I WIA youth activities/ the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) required under Part C of IDEA the Individual Work Plan (IWP) required under the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program and the Individual Habilitation Plan (IHP) required for individuals receiving services from State Divisions of Developmental Disabilities.

Individualized Service Plan (ISP)

The Developmental Disabilities Assistance Rights Act crated the ISP which is a document which becomes the basis for service coordination for the consumer. It is developed with input and approval of the consumer and focuses on the service areas needed. This plan is also referred to as an Individualized Plan (IP).

Informed Choice

The process by which an individual arrives at a decision. It is a process that is based upon access to, and full understanding of, all necessary information from the individual’s perspective. The process should result in a free and informed decision by the individual about what he or she needs.

Inpatient Treatment

The most restrictive and expensive type of care in the continuum of mental health services for children and adolescents. Inpatient treatment typically refers to clinical care provided on a 24-hour basis in a hospital setting.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living

These activities capture more complex life activities and include personal hygiene, light housework, laundry, meal preparation, transportation, grocery shopping, using the telephone, medication management, and money management.


Insurance, in law and economics, is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of potential financial loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a potential loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for a premium and duty of care.

Integrated Setting

Integrated setting refers to a setting in which individuals interact with non-disabled individuals other than those who may be providing services to that person. With respect to an integrated employment setting, it refers to a setting typically found in the community in which individuals interact with non-disabled individuals, other than those who are providing services to that person, to the same extent that non-disabled individuals in comparable positions interact with other persons.

Intermediary Organization

An agent that convenes local leadership and broker relationships with multiple partners across multiple funding streams; brings together workforce development systems, vocational rehabilitation providers, businesses, labor unions, educational institutions, social service organizations, faith based organizations, transportation entities, health providers, and other Federal, State, and community resources which youth with disabilities need to transition to employment successfully. Possible intermediaries include, but are not limited to community- based non-profit organizations, faith-based and community organizations, employer organizations, community colleges, and community rehabilitation programs.


An opportunity to expand and connect classroom learning in a full-time/part-time supervised work-based setting, grounded in experiential learning with an emphasis on reflection, and intended to provide the intern with hands on professional experience in an occupational career field he or she is considering.


The degree to which assistive technology can operate compatibly with a website or other type of information technology.

Interpersonal Skills

The ability to communicate with another individual or group on a social or professional basis. Level of aptitude is based on ease and comfort of all parties involved.


Structured or unstructured conversations intended to gather information from an individual through a verbal question-and-answer format.


Intrapreneurship is used to define a situation when an employee of a corporation is allowed to exercise some independent entrepreneurial initiative.


Job Accommodations

Modification or adjustments specific to the work environment, or to the manner of circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of that job.

Job Analysis

Job analysis is the systematic gathering, documenting, and analyzing of information about employees acting to perform the tasks incumbent to their jobs within any kind of a work setting. Analysis deals with job content, job requirements as well as the context of the entire work organization. Among the purposes for which job analysis information is used are job descriptions, job evaluation and classification, performance appraisal, training design, work design and selection/promotion systems.

Job Carving

Creation of a job description based on tasks derived from a single traditional job in an employment setting. The carved job description contains one or more, but not all, of the tasks from the original job description.

Job Coach

A person hired by the placement agency or provided through the employer to furnish specialized on-site training to assist and employee with a disability in learning and performing a job and adjusting to the work environment.

Job Corps

Job Corps serves 16-21 year olds who are low-income and who have other barriers to employment, mainly in a residential setting.

Job Shadowing

Job shadowing is designed to give youth a closer, more in-depth look at the world of work. During a job shadow experience, a young person accompanies an employee as his/her work is performed in order to learn about a specific occupation or industry. Specific days for job shadowing have been created (i.e. Groundhog Job Shadowing Day and Disability Mentoring Month in October).

Job Task Inventory (CODAP and the Extended Search)

CODAP is a computer analyzed job task inventory approach. Its most frequent use is to plan and/or adjust training programs so they more accurately reflect the actual practice of work.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs)

The knowledge, skills, and abilities or competencies required to serve all youth, including youth with disabilities, effectively in the workforce development system. These include competencies from the youth development, workforce development, and disability fields.


Labor Market Information

Data on jobs and workers, including labor force, employment and unemployment, industrial growth, occupational trends, and wage rates for a specific locality, state, region, or country.

Language Disorders (Aphasia/Dysphasia)

Refer to a speech and language impairment that manifests itself in difficulty understanding spoken language or expressing language as a result of congenital or acquired brain damage. Aphasia/dysphasia often impacts reading comprehension.

Late Adolescence and Young Adulthood

A stage of human development, from approximately age 16 to age 24 when youth emerge from childhood and enter adulthood.

Learning Disabilities

Processing disorders related to any of several areas: language and reading, arithmetic and mathematics, writing, motor coordination, memory, non-verbal learning, visual perception, or spoken language.

Learning Styles

Different ways of or approaches to learning including: visual, auditory, or kinesthetic/tactile

Least Restrictive Environment

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature of severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

Lifelong Learning

The interest and skill to maintain education, formal or informal, beyond the basic requirements for academic achievement or vocational attainment.



A set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders (American Marketing Association, n.d.).


A process in which a neutral third-party assists in resolving a dispute between two or more other parties. It is a non-adversarial approach to conflict resolution. The role of the mediator is to facilitate communication between the parties, assist them in focusing on the real issues of the dispute, and generate options that meet the interests or needs of all in an effort to resolve the conflict.


The United States health program for individuals and families with low incomes and resources. It is an entitlement program that is jointly funded by the states and federal government, and is managed by the states. Among the groups of people served by Medicaid are eligible low-income parents, children, seniors, and people with disabilities.

Medical Home

This is not a building, house, or hospital, but a team approach to providing health care. The basic premise of the concept is that care managed and coordinated by a personal physician in collaboration with the patient or family members of children and youth with special health care needs will lead to better outcomes. The medical home maintains a centralized record of all health related services to promote continuity of care, and coordinates care amongst team members, including the patient, family members, primary health care practitioners, specialist, community programs, and insurance.


A social insurance program administered by the United States government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are aged 65 and over, or who meet other special criteria.

Medication Treatment

Refers to the use of drugs to treat a range of emotional, behavioral, and mental disorders in children. Mental health experts recommend the following: (1) A comprehensive evaluation by a qualified mental health professional with expertise in diagnosing and treating children and youth should be conducted prior to initiating treatment; and (2) This treatment should be part of an integrated and comprehensive treatment plan (which might include behavior management techniques or behavioral rehabilitation services) developed cooperatively with the youth and family.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

A written document detailing the work and fiscal responsibilities of participating parties. Such documents may also be referred to as Service, Resource Sharing, or Governance Agreements. These agreements include details regarding who is providing what services, how much they will cost, who is paying for them, where they will be delivered, and additional information as needed.

Mental Health

Describes an appropriate balance between the individual, their social group, and the larger environment. These three components combine to promote psychological and social harmony, a sense of well being, self-actualization, and environmental mastery.


A trusting relationship, formalized into a program of structured activities, which brings young people together with caring individuals who offer guidance, support, and encouragement aimed at developing the competence and character of the mentee. Types of mentoring include: A) E-mentoring – A contemporary model commonly used in schools in which one (or more) youth is matched with a mentor. The youth and mentor regularly exchange e-mail messages for a designated prolonged period of time. In ideal circumstances, e-mentoring includes occasional face-to-face meetings to provide a more personal connection. In many instances, a program coordinator (often a teacher) will monitor all correspondence and meetings. B) Formal Mentoring – A common practice that involves assigning mentors to pair with protégés where individuals must strive to get to know each other over time. C) Group Mentoring – This form of mentoring matches one or more adults with a group of youth in a structured setting. This could include an individual or group of adult volunteers working with several youth in a school or a faith-based program, or a group of employees from one company working with students from a local school in a work-based mentoring program. D) Informal Mentoring – involves relationships that develop between individuals at different levels of the organization’s seniority structure because of mutual identification and interpersonal comfort. E) Peer Mentoring – A mentoring model in which peers from a shared or similar developmental stage provide support and advice to mentees. Peers can be close in age or farther apart, depending on the circumstances. F) Reverse Mentoring – once referred exclusively to a relationship where a younger person acted as a mentor to an older individual. Today, the term has broadened to include peer-to-peer and cross-generational relationships which are developed to gain technical expertise and a different perspective. G) Traditional One-to-One Mentoring Program – A model of mentoring in which one adult is paired with one young person. Typically, there will be an extensive matching process to ensure a strong relationship, and it is expected that the commitment will be for one year or longer.


A microenterprise is a business with five or fewer employees, which requires $35,000 or less in start-up capital, and which does not have access to the traditional commercial banking sector.


Refers to the capability of moving efficiently from place to place.


An alteration in an object, environment, or activity that results in increased usability. The making of a limited change in something; the result of such a change.

Multiple Intelligences

Different ways of demonstrating intelligence include: Visual/Spatial Intelligence, Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence, Logical/Mathematical Intelligence, Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence, Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence, Interpersonal Intelligence, and Intrapersonal Intelligence.


Natural Supports

Personal associations and relationships typically developed in the community that enhance the quality and security of life for people, including, but not limited to, family relationships; friendships reflecting the diversity of the neighborhood and the community; association with fellow students or employees in regular classrooms and workplaces; and associations developed through participation in clubs, organizations, and other civic activities.

Neuropsychological Testing

Medical assessment used to examine brain function and identify cognitive disorders. The purpose of these tests is to diagnose localized organic dysfunction and to help determine rehabilitative treatment that may be needed by individuals with brain injuries and related cognitive disabilities.

Non-School Based Education and Training

Education and training provided outside of school setting in and through such means as community based organizations, electronically, and self study.

Non-Verbal Learning Disorder (NVLD)

A neurological condition affecting the functioning of the right hemisphere of the brain.

Norm-Referenced Tests

Tests in which a person’s score is compared to others in a specific reference group.



The process of watching or listening to an individual’s behavior and performance and recording relevant information.


Direct observation provides depth of analysis, validity and flexibility. However, it is time consuming, difficult to analyze, and susceptible to subjectivity.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

A medical brain disorder that causes problems in information processing. OCD usually involves having both obsessions and compulsions, though a person with OCD may sometimes have only one or the other. Obsessions are thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again and feel out of a person’s control. The person does not want to have these ideas, finds them disturbing and intrusive, and usually recognizes that they don’t really make sense. People with OCD typically try to make their obsessions go away by performing compulsions. Compulsions are acts the person performs over and over again, often according to certain “rules”. OCD compulsions do not give the person pleasure. Rather, the rituals are performed to obtain relief from the discomfort caused by the obsessions. OCD symptoms cause distress, take up a lot of time (more than an hour a day), or significantly interfere with the person’s work, social life, or relationships.

Occupation Specific Certification Tests

Assessments given by licensure boards, businesses, apprenticeship programs, and workforce preparation programs (such as community colleges, technical colleges, or workforce development training programs). They measure individual achievement and the ability to perform very specific work or jobs, are often compared to industry standards, and can be used to document the effectiveness of training programs themselves.

Occupation Specific Skills

Occupational or job specific standards address the skill expectations of a specific occupation. This is the level at which many existing career-preparation programs and certification systems are focusing.

One-Stop Center

The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) requires that a number of employment-related services be provided through a system of One-Stop Centers, designed to make accessing employment and training services easier for job seekers. One-Stop Centers are also required to help employers identify and recruit skilled workers. The One-Stop system is required to be a customer-focused and comprehensive system that increases the employment, retention, and earnings of participants. WIA names 17 categories of federally-funded programs that are to be mandated partners within the One-Stop system (GAO, 2003).


Chances for young people to learn how to act in the world around them, to explore, express, earn, belong, and influence. Opportunities give young people the chance to test ideas and behaviors and to experiment with different roles. It is important to stress that young people, just like adults, learn best through active participation and that learning occurs in all types of settings and situations (Center for Youth Development and Policy Research, 1996).

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Refers to a pattern of negative, hostile, and defiant behavior (social aggression) lasting at least six months, during which four (or more) of the following behaviors are present: 1) often loses temper; 2) often argues with adults (oppostition to authority figures); 3) often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules; 4) often deliberately annoys people; 5) often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior; 6) is often touchy or easily annoyed by others; 7) is often angry and resentful; 8) is often spiteful or vindictive; and 9) frequent use of obscene language.

Order of Selection

Refers to the rules that State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies must develop to prioritize the provision of VR services when funding is limited. Federal law requires that individuals with the most significant disabilities be served first when resources are inadequate to serve everyone determined eligible for services. This means that individuals that with less significant disabilities are placed on waiting lists and will only receive services if or when all of the individuals with the most significant disabilities have been served.

Orientation & Mobility (O & M)

The training process that prepares individuals who are blind or visually impaired to travel safely and independently.

Outpatient Treatment

Is one of the most common types of mental health treatment and simply refers to the mode of service delivery in which the youth and family visit an office for treatment while living in a home environment. This intervention covers a large variety of therapeutic approaches, with most falling into the broad theoretical categories of cognitive, interpersonal, and behavioral psychotherapy.


Performance Indicator

Performance Indicators help an organization define and measure progress toward organizational goals.

Performance Measures

Parameters established to gauge whether or not a program is reaching the desired results.

Performance Reviews

Assessment activities that look at a whole spectrum of what an individual has learned and is more subjective, holistic, and qualitative in nature than testing.

Person-Centered Planning

Planning processes that focus on an individual’s needs and desires and promote self-determination. In transition, person-centered planning focuses on the interests, aptitudes, knowledge, and skills of an individual, not on his or her perceived deficits.

Personal Assistance Services (PAS)

Assistance, under maximum feasible user control, with tasks that maintain well-being, comfort safety, personal appearance, and interactions within the community and society as a whole (Holt, Chambless & Hammond, 2006). In general, PAS is a form of assistance used by persons with disabilities to perform tasks that the person would perform for himself or herself if he or she did not have a disability. PAS includes assistance in performing tasks that range from assistance in reading, communication, and performing manual tasks (e.g., turning pages) to assistance in bathing, eating, toileting, personal hygiene, and dressing (Silverstein, 2003).

Personal Care Provider Organization

These are community-based organizations or agencies that only provide personal assistance services. Sometimes called a Personal Care Agency (PCA).

Personal Leadership

The ability to surpass one self’s previous performance and accomplishments (Sanborn, M., 1997).

Physical and Functional Capacities Assessments

Assessments provided in schools, workforce preparation centers, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, and at work sites to determine how an individual can physically perform in specific situations.

Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS)

A Social Security work incentive that can be used to help reduce the impact of earned income on SSI benefits. A PASS allows a person with a disability to set aside income and/or resources towards a work goal for a specified period of time (i.e., a person could set aside money for education, vocational training, or business start-up expenses).


A principle, plan, or course of action established in statute, regulation, or proclamation by an elected chief executive or a federal, state, or local governing body.

Position Analysis Questionnaire

The PAQ questionnaire uses almost 200 elements of job activity organized into broad categories. It is a combination of job dimension scores for occupations. The PAQ has been used to create compensation programs and perform job evaluations.

Positive Behavioral Interventions

A problem-solving approach to managing problem behaviors in the school setting that changes stimulus and reinforcement in such a way that problem behaviors are prevented or negligible, and teaches students new skills, making problem behaviors unnecessary. Schools are required to conduct functional behavioral assessments and use positive behavior support with students who are identified as having a disability and are at risk for expulsion, alternative school placement, or more than 10 days of suspension. Some prevention strategies are used on a school-wide basis with all students; other strategies are geared to students who do not respond to these initial strategies and are at risk for academic failure or behavior problems; a third set of prevention programs, called intensive or individualized interventions, focus on students who display persistent patterns of disciplinary problems.


Term used to describe settings that follow high school (such as trade school, college, or employment).

Preparatory Experiences

Refer to educational programs grounded in standards, clear performance expectations and graduation exit options based upon meaningful, accurate, and relevant indicators of student learning and skills. Under NCWD/Youth’s Guideposts for Success, preparatory experiences include: career and technical education programs that are based on professional and industry standards; curricular and program options based on universal design of school, work and community-based learning experiences; learning environments that are small and safe; supports from and by highly qualified staff; access to an assessment system that includes multiple measures; and graduation standards that include options.

Professional Development

Maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge skills, and abilities, and the development of personal qualities necessary for the execution of professional duties throughout working life.

Program Navigators

These positions exist in a growing number of One Stop Centers to build staff capacity and work with people with disabilities and service providers to access, facilitate, and navigate the complex statutory and regulatory provisions and application processes for public and private programs.

Protection and Advocacy Programs (P&A)

The Protection and Advocacy (P&A) System and Client Assistance Program (CAP) comprise the nationwide network of Congressionally mandated, legally based disability rights agencies. P&A agencies have the authority to provide legal representation and other advocacy services, under all federal and state laws, to all people with disabilities (based on a system of priorities for services).


Quality Services

Services that offer relevant instruction and information.



Over the age of 18 in Supplemental Security Income (SSI), parental incomes and assets are no longer considered, and income and assets of the child only are used in determining eligibility for SSI.

Reasonable Accommodation

Are those adjustments that may need to be made within a work or school setting to allow an otherwise qualified employee or student with a disability to perform the tasks required. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Reasonable Accommodation means: A) modification to the job application process; B) modification to the work environment or the manner under which the position held is performed; and C) modification that enables an employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment. The term “reasonable” implies that the accommodation is one that does not cause an undue hardship for the employer. Examples of workplace accommodations include making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities; restructuring jobs/ establishing part-time or modified work schedules; reassigning to vacant positions; adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies; and providing qualified readers or interpreters. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the term “accommodation” is used primarily with regard to the development and provision of alternative assessments that are valid and reliable for assessing the performance of students with disabilities.


A quality that indicates a test provides consistent results over time.

Request for Proposal (RFP)

An invitation for providers of a product or service to bid on the right to supply that product or service to the individual or entity that issued the RFP.

Residential Treatment Center (RTC)

A licensed 24-hour facility (although not licensed as a hospital), which offers mental health treatment. The period of treatment at RTCs can range from brief placements of a few weeks to longer-term treatment of several months. The type of treatment provided at an RTC can vary greatly. The more common treatments include individual psychotherapy, psychoeducation (e.g., educating the youth and family about his or her MHN and about treatment options), behavioral management, group therapies, medication management, and peer-cultural therapies. Settings for RTCs can range from formal or structured environments that resemble psychiatric hospitals to those that are more like group homes or halfway houses.


The ability and wherewithal to recover from adverse situations through having learned how to avoid such situations in the future or how to maintain a positive mode of coping.

Resource Mapping

A type of environmental scanning that is a useful means of identifying, recording, and disseminating all related resources and services that comprise a service delivery system.

Risk Management

An ongoing process toward avoiding or coping with certain threats in one’s environment. This includes the ability to identify negative risk that will prove to be a detriment to one’s well-being and positive risk that could benefit an individual’s status.

School-Based Mental Health Services

School-based treatment and support interventions are designed to identify emotional disturbances and to assist parents, teachers, and counselors in developing comprehensive strategies for addressing these disturbances. School-based services may include wraparound services such as counseling or other school-based programs for emotionally disturbed children, adolescents, and their families within the school, home, and community environment.



A process used by lay people to determine whether further diagnostic assessment should be provided by professionals.


To provide accommodations for oneself rather than requesting accommodations from employers, professors, or other persons in the community.


The act of understanding one’s disability, being aware of the strengths and weaknesses resulting from the limitations imposed by the disability, and being able to articulate reasonable need for accommodation (Hartman, 1993). The attitudes and abilities required to act as the primary causal agent in one’s life and make choices and decisions regarding one’s actions free from undue external influence or interference (Wehmeyer, 1992). The ability of an individual to set goals that are important to him or her and having the skills to achieve these goals (Field & Hoffman, 1996).


Refers to the skills necessary to fulfill basic needs such as those related to health, safety, food preparation and nutrition, hygiene and grooming, and money management.


The right and ability of all persons to direct their own lives, as well as the responsibility to accept the consequences of their own choices. Some of the skills that make someone self-determined or a successful self-advocate are the following: knowledge of one’s strengths and limitations; belief in one’s ability to achieve goals; ability to start and complete tasks; ability to assertively assert one’s wants, needs, and concerns; and the ability to make decisions and see other options.


Refers to the capacity to organize, structure, and manage activities in a manner that best serves the objectives of the individual.


A belief in one’s ability to obtain a goal (Martin & Marshall, 1995).


The ability to recognize and gauge one’s own skills, tastes, capabilities, needs, etc. realistically.


In the strictest sense, self-sufficiency refers to the ability to meet all of one’s needs without any outside assistance. The term is commonly used in terms of financial economic self-sufficiency, which refers to being able to meet one’s financial obligations without outside assistance. Therefore, a person who is economically self-sufficient would not rely on cash assistance or cash benefits to meet his or her daily living needs.

Service Tunnels

Each of the many systems that serve youth has a fixed menu of services or solutions to offer. Because most agency staff members think primarily of the set of solutions within their system, they usually send youth down one of these “service tunnels.” The tunnel may be the most appropriate choice among the agency’s set of options, but may still be an ineffective course of action. Once a youth starts down a particular tunnel, it is often hard to reverse course and take a different path (Ross and Miller, 2005, p. 4).


A method under which students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service experiences that meet actual community needs and that are coordinated in collaboration with the school and community.

Sheltered Employment

Designed to assist individuals who for whatever reason are viewed as not capable of working in a competitive employment setting in their local community. The term “sheltered employment” is often used to refer to a wide range of segregated vocational and non-vocational programs for individuals with disabilities, such as sheltered workshops, adult activity centers, work activity centers, and day treatment centers.

Site Visits

Site visits and tours typically involve a group of young people (accompanied by an adult chaperon) visiting a business in order to learn about real-life work environments.

Situational Work Assessments

Occupational skills and work behaviors that are assessed in real or simulated settings and measure capacities and competencies to perform essential job duties of specific competitive employment positions.

Skill Development Programs

Skills development programs include a variety of work-based options to expose youth to workplace requirements and culture and specific training that prepares them for jobs in the community’s predominant industries.

Small Business

A term used to describe a microenterprise. Also defined as a business that is independently owned and operated and that is not dominant in its field of operation, and generally employs fewer than 100 people.

Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)

Centers in many U.S. communities that provide free assistance regarding business feasibility, business planning, marketing suggestions, financing, and management, SBDCs are part of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Social Competence

The set of skills necessary to interact successfully with other people, to be generous and thoughtful, and to use accepted social techniques. Social competence skills include: •The ability to interact with other people such as:

Resolving conflicts;


Working together on a team;

Understanding and being tolerant of other people and cultures; and

Working with diverse populations.

Choosing words precisely, being persuasive, and listening.

Crafting effective written communications such as emails, memos, and reports.

The ability to speak a second language.

Social Networks

Often are informal collections of employees or friends based on either demographic criteria (age, race/ethnicity, gender) or interest (employees who are carrying for aging parents).

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

A monthly insurance benefit to individuals with disabilities who meet certain medical criteria and who either: A) have previous work experience themselves, and have paid Social Security taxes (FICA) for enough years to be covered under Social Security; or B) have a retired or deceased parent who has paid into the system. Individuals on SSDI typically are also eligible for Medicare (after 24-month waiting period if the person is under 65 years old).

Soft Skills

The skills, traits, work habits, and attitudes that all workers across all occupations must have in order to obtain, maintain, and progress in employment. These include being dependable, responsible, punctual, adaptable, honest, honorable, well-mannered, positive toward work, and appropriately dressed/groomed. Soft skills also refer to such attributes as ability to get along with others, work in teams, attend to tasks, work independently, and provide excellent customer service, both within the company and externally.

Special Education (Sped)

Education services for children and youth with disabilities.

Specific Learning Disability (SLD): IDEA

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) defines SLDs as a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. This term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. This term does not include a learning problem that is primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

Specific Learning Disability (SLD): Rehabilitation Act

The Rehabilitation Act defines a person with a SDL as an individual who has a severe physical or mental impairment which seriously limits one or more functional capacities (such as mobility, communication, self-care, self-direction, interpersonal skills, work tolerance, or work skills) in terms of an employment outcome; whose vocational rehabilitation can be expected to require multiple vocational rehabilitation services over an extended period of time; and who has one or more physical or mental disabilities or combination of disabilities … to cause comparable substantial functional limitation.

State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

Title XIX of the Social Security Act gives each state the authorization to offer health insurance for children.

Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE)

This Social Security provision allows a person who is under age 22 and regularly attending school to exclude earnings from affecting their Social Security payment amount.

Substance Abuse

The overindulgence in and dependence of a drug or other chemical leading to effects that are detrimental to the individual’s physical and mental health, or the welfare of others.

Substance Use

The use of a chemical substance, legal or illegal, taken to induce intoxication or reduce withdrawal symptoms resulting in dependency, abuse, or addiction. Substances may include alcohol, illicit and prescription drugs, paint, household cleaners, plants, and others.

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

A level of earnings used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to indicate the performance of significant and productive physical or mental work for pay or profit that pertains to eligibility of many of SSA’s benefit and incentive programs. SSA calculates two SGA levels: one for individuals who are blind or visually impaired and one for individuals with other types of disabilities. SGA is adjusted on an annual basis for inflation.

Summary of Performance (SOP)

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), for each child whose eligibility under the special education terminate due to graduation with a regular diploma, or due to exceeding the age of eligibility, the local education agency, “shall provide the child with a summary of the child’s academic achievement and functional performance, which shall include recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting the child’s postsecondary goals.”

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

A monthly cash benefit that is available from the Social Security Administration to people who have a disability, low income, and few resources. People who receive SSI also automatically become eligible to receive Medicaid medical insurance in most states.

Supported Employment

Supported employment means competitive employment in an integrated setting, or employment in integrated work settings in which individuals with the most significant disabilities are provided ongoing support services through an external source such as a community rehabilitation program or a State Vocational Rehabilitation program or a State Vocational Rehabilitation agency. Supported employment provides assistance such as job coaches, transportation, assistive technology, specialized job training, and individually tailored support.

Supported Housing

Supportive housing is a combination of housing and services intended as a cost-effective way to help people live more stable, productive lives. Supportive housing can be coupled with such social services as job training, life skills training, and case management to populations in need of assistance, including the developmentally disabled. Supportive housing is intended to be a successful solution that helps people recover and succeed while reducing the overall cost of care.

Supported Living

Often involves partnerships between individuals with disabilities, their families, and professionals in making decisions about where or how the person wishes to live. People in supported living may need little or no services from professionals, or they may need 24-hour personal care. The kind and amount of supports are tailored to the individual’s needs.


Ongoing relationships through which young people become connected to others and to community resources. Supports can be motivational, emotional, and strategic. The supports can take many different forms, but they must be affirming, respectful, and ongoing. The supports are most powerful when they are offered by a variety of people, such as parents and close relatives, community social networks, teachers, youth workers, employers, health providers, and peers who are involved in the lives of young people (Center for Youth Development and Policy Research, 1996).

System of Care (SOC)

A philosophy of how care should be delivered. It is based on principles of interagency collaboration; individualized strength-based activities; culturally- and developmentally-appropriate services; community-based services; and full participation by families, including youth. There are various models in which to deliver an appropriate system of care: 1) Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) – A multi-disciplinary approach developed in the 1980s to provide treatment, rehabilitation, and support services to person with severe and persistent mental illness. ACT is a form of case management that is distinguished from more traditional case management. 2) Core Gifts – A philosophy that discerns between skills (what you have learned to do, although you may not feel joy in doing them); talents (what you have an innate capacity to do, but may not choose to engage or develop); and gifts (the talents that you feel the deepest connection to, most compelled to learn about, and eager to give). 3) Transition for Independence Program (TIP) – A system offering seven guiding principles that build on the premise of individualized, strength-based services: A) Engage young people through relationship development, person-centered planning, and a focus on their futures; B) Tailor services and supports to be accessible, coordinated, developmentally appropriate, and built on strengths to enable the young person to pursuer their goals in all transition domains; C) Acknowledge and develop personal choice and social responsibility with young people; D) Ensure that a safety-net of support is provided by a young person’s team, parents, and other natural supports; E) Enhance a young person’s competencies to assist them in achieving greater self-sufficiency and confidence; F) Maintain an outcome focus in the TIP system at the individual young person, program, and system levels; and G) Involve young people, parents, and other community partners in the TIP system at the practice, program, and community levels.


Tech Prep Program

Tech Prep education is defined as a planned sequence of study in a technical field beginning as early as the ninth year of school. The sequence extends through two years of postsecondary occupational education or an apprenticeship program of at least two years following secondary instruction, and culminates in an associate degree or certificate.

Technical Assistance

Operational or management advice or training given to nonprofit organizations. It can include fundraising assistance, budgeting and financial planning, program planning, legal advice, marketing, and other aids to management, as well as best practices, materials, training, tools, and other resources for operation.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program

This part of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) provides assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives; promoting job preparation, work, and marriage; prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.


An activity that consists of administering a particular set of questions to an individual to obtain a score.

Testing Accommodations

Provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which promote the use of testing accommodations for youth with disabilities for the purpose of increasing access and participation to public education and employment.

Trade Adjustment Assistance

Assistance may include re-employment services, job search allowances, relocation allowances, funding for training, or readjustment allowances for eligible workers who have exhausted unemployment insurance or who are in training.


Training refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitudes as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relates to specific useful skills.


The period of time when adolescents are moving into adulthood and is often concerned with planning for postsecondary education or careers. In the workforce environment it usually encompasses ages 14 to 25.

Transition Cliff

In addition to service tunnels, youth encounter a “transition cliff” when they age out of youth systems and attempt to access adult services. Many youth systems end at age 18 and others when the youth reaches age 22, which means a youth could simultaneously be a youth in one system and an adult in another. The adult systems of education, mental health, Social Security, Vocational Rehabilitation, and workforce development often have different terminology, eligibility requirements, and service options than those of the corresponding youth systems. This disconnect can result in consequences such as termination of services and lost progress in career planning.

Transition Planning

The term “transition planning” means a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability that: A) Is designed within an outcome-oriented process, that promotes movement from school-to-post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation; B) Is based upon the individual student’s needs, taking into account the student’s preferences and interests; and C) Includes instruction, related services, special education, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and when appropriate, the acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.


Tutoring is an educational service that provides an individual with supplemental, additional, or remedial instruction.


Undue Hardship

This term applies when an accommodation would require “significant difficulty or expense” to the employer, based on the size of the business operation, financial resources of the employer, and cost of the accommodation.

Universal Access

The design of environments, products, and communication as well as the delivery of programs, services, and activities to be useable by all youth and adults, to the greatest extent possible, without adaptation or specialized design.

Universal Design

The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

UDL is a framework for designing educational environments that help all students gain knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning.  The concept of UDL was inspired by the universal design movement in product development and architecture, which calls for the design of structures that anticipate the needs of individuals with disabilities and accommodate these needs from the outset (Orkwis & McLane, 1998; Rose & Meyer, 2002).  Elements of universally designed buildings might include levered door handles, widened bathroom stalls that can accommodate wheelchairs or other assistive devices, and tables and countertops at a variety of heights.  The tenets of universal design also can be applied to teaching and assessing, and in these contexts, a universally designed curriculum includes goals, methods, materials, and assessments, and supports all learners by simultaneously reducing barriers to the curriculum and providing rich support for learning (Rose & Meyer, 2002). In a classroom using a universally designed curriculum one might find books on tape, interactive software, magnifiers, or highlighted materials.

Universal Design for Workforce Systems

The design of environments, products, and communication practices as well as the delivery of programs, services, and activities to meet the needs of all customers of the workforce development system.



The extent to which a test measures what its authors or users claim it measures; specifically, test validity concerns the appropriateness of the inferences that can be made on the basis of test results.

Visible Disabilities

Disabilities that are more apparent to someone else because of exterior appearance.


The ability to see beyond current conditions to future possibilities and to create actions to make those possibilities into realities.

Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficits

These manifest themselves in individuals who exhibit problems in the discrimination, analysis, and synthesis of visual form and spatial relations. Their vision is intact but comprehension of written words or symbols is impaired. An individual with deficits in visual-motor skills has difficulty with the integration of visual information and motor output necessary for gross motor skills such as handwriting and drawing. Their vision and the function of their muscles are fine, but the coordination of body movements during certain activities is impaired (Miller & Sammons, 1999).

Visual Processing Disorder

Refers to a hindered ability to make sense of information taken in through the eyes. This is different from problems involving sight or sharpness of vision. Difficulties with visual processing affect how visual information is interpreted or processed by the brain.

Vocational Aptitudes and Skills Assessments

Activities used in schools and workforce preparation programs to measure or determine an individual’s ability or potential to learn or perform in order to hold specific jobs or to train for specific careers.

Vocational Education and Training

See Career and Technical Education.

Vocational Interest Assessments

Activities used in schools and workforce preparation programs to match an individual’s interests, goals, and values to available employment, training, or post-secondary education programs.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)

The process of assisting individuals with disabilities to obtain, regain, maintain, and advance in employment through diverse services tailored to meet the needs of eligible individuals. Each state has a public VR agency.



Programs that allow people to receive Medicaid long-term care services in the community.

Welfare-to-Work Programs

Community or work experiences, job creation, on-the-job training, job retention or support services, vocational education or job training, or contracted services for job readiness, job placement or post employment services to welfare recipients to move them from welfare to work.

Work Accommodations Assessments

Activities used to determine the need for adjustments to work sites, schedules, training procedures, etc. to improve a person’s ability to do a job.

Work First

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 has replaced the entitlement to Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and many states have already taken steps to redesign their welfare-to-work programs. One of the most popular program strategies, called “work first,” aims to move participants into unsubsidized employment as quickly as possible through job search and short-term education, training, or work experience activities. Programs incorporating a work first approach have been shown to produce positive impacts under varying conditions.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)

A Federal income tax credit that encourages employers to hire eight targeted groups of job seekers, including people with disabilities and people who receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits.

Work Sampling

A process of using standardized instruments that are used to help assess the job potential of an individual.

Work Skills

Refers to the specific job skills required to carry out work functions as well as the capacity for an individual to benefit from training in these work functions.

Work Tolerance

Refers to the ability to carry out required physical and cognitive work tasks in an efficient and effective manner over a sustained period of time.

Work Tolerance Assessments

Physical activities that use a structured process for examining and measuring the physical endurance, strength, motor coordination skills, and emotional capacities of a worker when performing essential job tasks.

Work-Based Learning

A supervised program sponsored by an education or training organization that links knowledge gained at the work site 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.

Work-Readiness Skills

The ability to make the educational and vocational decisions and perform the kinds of educational and vocational tasks that are expected by schools and the workplace. Work-readiness skills include soft skills, computer literacy, and job seeking skills.

Workforce Development

Activities focused on preparing for, securing, retaining, or regaining an employment outcome that is consistent with the strengths, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual – or assisting individuals and employers in obtaining education, training, job placement, or job recruitment

Workforce Development System

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 and other labor market services such as labor market information. 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. A wide array of organizations provide direct education, training, or employment services (e.g. technical schools, colleges, and universities, vocational rehabilitation centers, apprenticeship programs community based organizations, one-stop centers, welfare to work training programs, literacy programs, Job Corp Centers, unions, and labor/management programs). The NCWD/Youth focus centers on the organizations within this broad system that are concerned with the initial preparation of an individual for the world of work and individuals in the general age range of 14 to 25.

Workforce Investment Board (WIB)

A WIB is an appointed body, certified by the Governor to set policy, guide implementation, and provide oversight to the local workforce development system, as authorized by Public Law 105-220, the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The WIB is also a forum for planning workforce development strategies. The Board attempts to anticipate economic and business trends, develop community linkages and partnerships, and provide a focus on system outcomes.

Workplace Personal Assistance Services

Workplace personal assistance services comprises task-related assistance and work, including readers, interpreters, help with lifting or reaching, re-assignment of non-essential duties to co-workers as well as other help related to performing work tasks that may include personal care-related assistance such as helping someone with eating, drinking, or using the restroom while at work (Krause, 2007).

Wraparound Services

Individualized, community-based mental health services for children and youth with severe emotional and behavioral disorders in their homes, schools, and communities. This wrap-around approach – sometimes described as serving participants “holistically” – requires that a program effectively collaborate and network with multiple agencies and institutions. In the wraparound model, case managers coordinate the provision of services from multiple service providers and involve families in the participatory process of developing an individualized plan focusing on youth and family strengths in multiple life domains.



The period in life between childhood and maturity, known as adolescence. Generally speaking, given the requirements of programs NCWD/Youth will address, the age range for youth is between 14 and 25, although it may extend as low as 12 and as high as 29. Youth can be both in and out of school.

Youth Cultural Competence

A growing movement in the workforce development system to more effectively retain, engage, and educate youth by recognizing the role of youth involvement, popular culture, and positive peer influence in successful education and employment programs. (Developed by Ed DeJesus of The Youth Development Research Fund).

Youth Development

A process that prepares young people to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood through a coordinated, progressive series of activities and experiences that help them to become socially, morally, emotionally, physically, and cognitively competent. Youth development spans five basic developmental areas in which all young people need to learn and grow: Thriving, Leading, Connecting, Learning, and Working. It includes mentoring activities designed to establish strong relationships with adults through formal and informal settings, peer-to-peer mentoring opportunities; and exposure to role models in a variety of contexts. Positive youth development addresses the broader developmental needs of youth, in contrast to deficit-based models that focus solely on youth problems.

Youth Leadership

Refers to an internal and external process leading to: (1) the ability to guide or direct others on a course of action, influence the opinion and behavior of other people, and show the way by going in advance (Wehmeyer, Agran & Hughes, 1998) and 2) the ability to analyze one’s own strengths and weaknesses, set personal and vocational goals, and have the self-esteem to carry them out. It includes the ability to identify community resources and use them, not only to live independently, but also to establish support networks to participate in community life and to effect positive social change. (Adolescent Employment Readiness Center, Children’s Hospital, n.d.) It emphasizes the developmental areas of Leading and Connecting and includes training in skills such as self-advocacy and conflict resolution; exposure to personal leadership and youth development activities, including community service; and opportunities that allow youth to exercise leadership.

Youth Service Professional

Staff who work directly with youth through the workforce development system, for the purpose of preparing them for work and the workplace, including intake workers, case managers, job developers, job coaches, teachers, trainers, transition coordinators, counselors (in schools, post-secondary institutions, or vocational rehabilitation offices, for example), youth development group leaders, and independent living specialists. (Also known as Youth Service Practitioner)


Programs that involve youth taking a more active decision-making role in treatment.


Programs that involve youth possessing an expert level of understanding, advocating for other young people, and initiating and implementing policies and services.


Programs that involved youths that have knowledge of services, beginning to research and ask questions, and learning how to self-advocate.

YouthBuild Programs

YouthBuild programs engage unemployed young men and women, most of whom have not completed high school and all of whom come from low-income families. YouthBuild enables them to serve their communities by building affordable housing and assists them in transforming their own lives and roles in society.

© 2023 NCWD/Youth