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ODEP - Office of Disability Employment Policy

Disability Employment Policy Resources by Topic

Youth

Information & Resources for Youth Service Professionals

Professional Development

Youth service professionals require competencies in many fields (youth development, education, workforce development, disability, etc.) in order to effectively guide youth in transition and maximize their potential.

  • Developing a Professional Development System for Youth Service Professionals — This Info Brief describes the current status of and opportunities for a comprehensive cross-disciplinary professional development system for youth service professionals. It also discusses next steps for systems, professionals, and policy makers.
  • KSA JumpStart — This quick guide to the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) needed to work with all youth includes an overview, research, audience-specific questions, tools, and strategies for professional development.
  • KSA Training Modules — The KSA Training Modules were developed to strengthen youth professionals' competencies for working with and connecting all youth, including youth with disabilities, to workforce, educational, and independent living opportunities.

Career Development

Career development is a process in which all youth choose and prepare for careers that fit their interests, skills, and values by participating in the three key phases of self-exploration, career exploration, and career planning and management. 37 states and the District of Columbia have implemented individualized learning plans (ILPs) as a career development activity that youth service professionals can use in guiding youth through the career development process. 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

  • "ILPs Across the U.S." — This interactive map provides a snapshot of current ILP policies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
  • "Shelly Saves the Future: A Story of Career Development" Informational Comic — Follow high school senior Shelly as she uses an ILP to take charge of her future.
  • "Kickstart Your ILP" Toolkit — This toolkit provides students with tips on how to jumpstart their ILPs as well as a checklist of steps to complete during each year of high school.
  • ILP How-to Guide — This guide responds to feedback from schools indicating a need for curriculum and implementation guidelines to support whole-school buy-in for ILPs. It also seeks to coordinate college and career readiness efforts within schools.
  • ILP Fact Sheet — This fact sheet provides the definition of a quality ILP and an overview of research findings and best practices.

Youth Development and Leadership

Youth development is a process in which youth prepare for the challenges of adolescence and adulthood by building skills and competencies through coordinated, progressive activities and experiences. Youth service professionals can help guide youth through their understanding of the five phases of youth development: learning to apply knowledge from school to other areas of life, connecting with peers and mentors who positively influence behavior and attitudes, thriving in both physical and mental health, working towards a career goal, and leading others in the community in ways that matter to the young person.

Soft Skills

"Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success," is a curriculum developed by ODEP focused on teaching "soft" or workforce readiness skills to youth, including youth with disabilities. Created for youth service professionals as an introduction to workplace interpersonal and professional skills, the curriculum is targeted for youth ages 14 to 21 in both in-school and out-of-school environments. The basic structure of the program is comprised of modular, hands-on, engaging activities that focus on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.

Inclusive Service

Volunteerism and work-based learning (both paid and voluntary) can provide critical preparation for youth as they transition from school into the world of work, and youth service professionals play a key role by ensuring that these activities are inclusive. 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.

Apprenticeship

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