ODEP - Office of Disability Employment Policy
Disability Employment Policy Resources by Topic
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:
- School-Based Preparatory Experiences
- Career Preparation and Work-Based Learning Experiences
- Youth Development and Leadership
- Connecting Activities
- Family Involvement and Supports
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:
- Employers Success
- Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System
- Youth in Foster Care
- Youth with Mental Health Needs
- Youth with Learning Disabilities
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:
- Career Planning Begins with Assessment: A Guide for Professionals Serving Youth with Educational and Career Development Challenges This document includes guidance on selecting career-related assessments, determining when to refer youth for additional assessment, and information on accommodations, legal issues, and ethical considerations.
- Career-Focused Services for Students with Disabilities at Community Colleges This case study report examines the efforts of community colleges to function as intermediaries in meeting the local workforce development needs of employers and promoting career opportunities and job attainment for students, including those with disabilities.
- Career-Focused Mentoring for Youth: The What, Why, and How This page explains the benefits of career-focused mentoring and how these activities can support career readiness for all youth.
- Paving the Way to Work: A Guide to Career-Focused Mentoring This guide explains how to create and manage career-focused mentoring programs for youth with and without disabilities in all stages of their transition from school to work.
- "Use of Individualized Learning Plans: Findings and Recommendations from a Multi-Method, Multi-Study Effort" This report documents a 2007-2013 study to determine whether ILPs should be considered a promising college and career readiness practice and whether and how youth with disabilities are participating. As a tool available to all youth, and in conjunction with IEPs for youth with disabilities, ILPs show promise as an effective practice for strengthening the career development process and the connection between school and work, though the absence of a randomized control design necessitates further research.
- "ILPs Across the U.S." This interactive map provides a snapshot of current ILP policies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
- Using Individualized Learning Plans to Produce College and Career Ready High School Graduates This policy brief explores how ILPs contribute to college and career readiness for all youth and includes recommendations for successful implementation.
- ILP Fact Sheet This fact sheet provides the definition of a quality ILP and an overview of research findings and best practices.
Federal Partners in Transition
The Federal Partners in Transition (FPT) is a workgroup with representatives of several federal agencies, including the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Social Security Administration, which are involved in promoting inclusive service delivery for transitioning youth with disabilities from school into postsecondary education, the workforce, and independent living.
- The 2020 Federal Youth Transition Plan: A Federal Interagency Strategy outlines how FPT will enhance interagency coordination through the identification of compatible outcome goals and policy priorities, ultimately leading to improved outcomes for youth with disabilities by 2020.
- The FPT National Online Dialogue, held May 13 to May 27, 2013, 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, the Federal Partners in Transition National Online Dialogue: Participation Metrics Final Reportwas developed to summarize the dialogue's results. These responses helped frame the efforts of the FPT to develop an interagency strategy.
- To support the development of an interagency strategy to improve transition results for youth with disabilities, ODEP funded the development of the Literature Review of Five Federal Systems Serving Transition Age Youth with Disabilities 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.
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.
- Policy Guidance Letter [ PDF | HTML ] This letter explains the benefits of work-based learning and volunteerism, the link between service learning and competitive employment, and income exemptions for Social Security beneficiaries participating in AmeriCorps.
- Use of Social Security Work Incentives to Promote Work-Based Learning in Youth Employment and Training Programs This white paper provides an overview on the importance of work-based learning experiences and the current state of policy on the income exclusion for Social Security beneficiaries participating in AmeriCorps.
- Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment This report discusses the link between service learning and achieving competitive employment.
- Inclusive Service as a Pathway to Employment 25 Years after the Americans with Disabilities Act On July 29, 2015, the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) issued a “Dear Colleague” letter to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its legacy of equal opportunity and inclusion. Two resources were highlighted. ODEP’s Youth Technical Assistance Center, the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, released Fostering Inclusive Volunteering and Service Learning, a guide for youth service professionals and others interested in facilitating youth engagement in volunteer activities. It describes how youth benefit from inclusive volunteering, different types of volunteer opportunities, and ways to assist youth to prepare for, access, and learn from their experiences. The second resource, the Toolkit for AmeriCorps Alumni with Disabilities Transitioning to Employment, developed by CNCS is a collection of resources regarding pre-employment and employment issues for people with disabilities, special programs, government services, and mentorship and networking opportunities.
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.
- Training and Employment Notice
- Apprenticeship Issue Paper
- Introduction to the Apprenticeship Toolkit: Youth with Disabilities Entering the Workplace through Apprenticeship
- Module 1: Understanding Apprenticeship Basics
- Module 2: Preparing Youth and Young Adults for Apprenticeship Programs
- Module 3: Increasing the Participation of Young Adults with Disabilities in Apprenticeship Programs
- Module 4: Establishing New Apprenticeship Programs
- Module 5: What Apprenticeship Employers Need To Know About Working with Young Adults with Disabilities
- Module 6: Looking To Future Opportunities In Apprenticeship
- Expanding Access to Health Care Services and Work-Based Experiences
- Training and Employment Notice for the Soft Skills Curriculum
- Developing a Professional Development System for Youth Service Professionals
- Universal Design for the Workforce Development System
- Healthy Transitions: A Pathway to Employment for Youth with Chronic Health Conditions and Other Disabilities
- Supporting Transition to Adulthood Among Youth with Mental Health Needs: Action Steps for Policymakers
- Transitioning Youth with Mental Health Needs to Meaningful Employment and Independent Living
- Encouraging Future Innovation: Youth Entrepreneurship Education
- Tunnels and Cliffs: A Guide for Workforce Development Professionals and Policymakers Serving Youth with Mental Health Needs
- High School/High Tech Program Guide: A Comprehensive Transition Program Promoting Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math for Youth with Disabilities
- Data on the Employment of Youth with and without Disabilities