Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

News Release

U.S. Labor Departments Office of Disability Employment Policy to lead summit aimed at enhancing leadership development of youth with disabilities

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy will convene Blazing the Trail: a National Youth Development and Leadership Summit on August 16 and 17 in Washington, D.C., to develop strategies that will increase the quality and availability of the nation's youth leadership programs and ensure the participation of youth with disabilities. The importance of youth participation in the development of policies that impact this population will be another area of exploration.

This invitation-only policy conference will be attended by more than 200 people representing federal, state and local government agencies; other policymakers; academicians; service practitioners; youth and leadership organizations; foundations; and youth and their family members.

"We must do everything we can to ensure that youth entering the labor market have access to the type of skills training and education needed to thrive in a knowledge-based economy," said Karen Czarnecki, acting assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. "Knowing how to communicate, to solve problems and to work effectively in a team is fundamental to employment success today."

The summit is a collaborative effort to improve policy and practice in the youth development and leadership field so that youth can gain the leadership skills needed in an evolving 21st century workplace. A recent employer survey conducted jointly by The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and the Society for Human Resource Management noted that new job seekers often lack leadership skills related to communication, critical thinking and teamwork.

A white paper summarizing the summit's outcomes will be made available to the public.

The Labor Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) is leading a 21st century federal response to the historic underemployment of people with disabilities. In collaboration with other government agencies, public and private employers, and additional stakeholders, ODEP facilitates the development and implementation of innovative policies and practices necessary to achieve a fully inclusive workplace. ODEP's work primarily falls into three categories: employers and the workplace; workforce systems; and employment-related supports, which include education and training, health care, reliable transportation, affordable housing and assistive technology.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Office of Disability Employment Policy
August 15, 2007
Release Number