Youth development and leadership is an important process in which young people prepare for the challenges of growing up by building skills based on their strengths and interests. Youth development involves: 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 career goals, and leading oneself and others in the community in ways that matter to the young person. View the following Youth Development & Leadership resources from ODEP and its partner, the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth).

Individualized Learning Plans

An individualized learning plan (ILP) is a tool that students use - with support from school counselors, teachers, and parents - to choose and prepare for a career that meets their interests, skills, and values. All students can engage in ILPs to guide their decision-making around courses, extracurricular activities, and work opportunities that prepare them to successfully achieve their career goals.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are important traits that make you marketable in today's rapidly changing workplace. ODEP has created a set of lessons and videos for youth ages 14 to 21 to learn about the six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.

Inclusive Service

Volunteer and work experiences can help prepare all youth, including youth with disabilities, for the world of work.

Additional Resources

These resources are useful for youth with disabilities entering the world of work:

These tools enable job seekers to access information on career paths related to their interests, skills, and expectations for employment:

These resources emphasize the importance of learning about disability history and culture:

These miscellaneous resources can help all youth as they transition into the world of work: