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Information & Resources for Policymakers

The Guideposts for Success — What All Youth Need to Successfully Transition into Adulthood

ODEP's work in the youth arena is based on the Guideposts for Success. The Guideposts represent what research and practice has identified as key educational and career development interventions that make a positive difference in the lives of all youth, including youth with disabilities. They were developed by ODEP in collaboration with one of its research and technical assistance centers, the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), following an extensive review of more than 30 years of research and best practices in youth development, education, and workforce development. ODEP and NCWD/Youth identified five elements as essential for all youth, including youth with disabilities, to effectively transition into postsecondary education and employment.

The five Guideposts are as follows:

The complete Guideposts for Success document, as well as an explanation of their underlying key principles and who should use them and how, is available on the NCWD/Youth website. Targeted Guideposts have also been identified for:

Career Development

Career development is a process in which all youth choose and prepare for careers that fit their interests, skills, and values through participating in the three phases of self-exploration, career exploration, and career planning and management. Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs) are an important tool many states use to facilitate career development activities. In fact, 37 states and the District of Columbia have implemented ILPs for some or all students and note positive results. ODEP has produced the following career development resources in partnership with the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), Social Dynamics, Boston University, the University of Minnesota, and the Institute for Community Inclusion.

View general career development information and resources:

Other ILP Information and Resources

Federal Partners in Transition

The Federal Partners in Transition (FPT) National Online Dialogue was held on May 13 to May 27, 2013. Hosted by the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration, the National Online Dialogue invited people to share their ideas and comments about federal legislative and regulatory barriers and other opportunities to improve transition outcomes for youth with disabilities. Based on this input, a report entitled "Federal Partners in Transition National Online Dialogue: Participation Metrics" was developed to summarize the dialogue's results. These responses are helping to frame the efforts of the dialogue hosts to work together strategically to develop a plan to improve transition results for youth with disabilities by 2020.

Other FPT Resources

  • Literature Review of Five Federal Systems Serving Transition Age Youth with Disabilities final report — To support the development of an interagency strategy to improve transition results for youth with disabilities, ODEP funded the development of a literature review that focuses on five Federal systems that play key and inter-related roles in preparing youth with disabilities as they transition into adulthood - vocational rehabilitation, social security, juvenile justice, behavioral health, and workforce investment. This study summarizes each system's role, the extent of its use by the population, and central programs and authorizing legislation. In addition, challenges and recommendations for each system are identified, as are common themes and trends across systems.

Inclusive Service

Volunteerism and work-based learning (both paid and voluntary) can provide critical preparation for all youth as they transition from school into the world of work. ODEP and the Corporation for National and Community Service have collaborated to create policy guidance and highlight resources to promote national service as an option for all youth, including youth with disabilities.


ODEP's apprenticeship initiative focused on increasing systems capacity to provide integrated inclusive apprenticeship training to youth and young adults with a full range of disabilities, including those with the most significant disabilities, and to utilize the increased flexibilities detailed in DOL's apprenticeship regulations, 29 CFR Part 29, issued in 2008.

Additional Resources