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ODEP - Office of Disability Employment Policy - Driving Change Creating Opportunity


The Guideposts for Success

What all youth need to successfully transition into adulthood

Based on an extensive literature review of research, demonstration projects and effective practices covering a wide range of programs and services, including youth development, quality education, and workforce development programs — the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), in collaboration with the National Collaborative on Workforce Disability for Youth, has identified Guideposts for Success. The Guideposts reflect what research has identified as key educational and career development interventions that can make a positive difference in the lives of all youth, including youth with disabilities.

The five Guideposts are the following:

These Guideposts are built on the following underlying assumptions:

  • Highest expectations for all youth, including youth with disabilities
  • Equality of opportunity for everyone, including nondiscrimination, individualization, and inclusion and integration
  • Full participation through self-determination, informed choice, and participation in decision making
  • Independent living, including skill development and long term supports and services
  • Competitive employment and economic self-sufficiency, even if with supports, as everyone's life goal.
  • Transition planning that is individualized, person-driven and culturally and linguistically appropriate.

The Guideposts framework is organized in the following manner. After providing a detailed list within each Guidepost of what all youth need, the framework then describes additional specific needs pertaining to youth with disabilities.

The Guideposts can be used by state policy makers in developing a more coordinated transition system focusing on successful outcomes for all youth. They can also help administrators and policy makers at the local level in making decisions regarding funding, in setting and establishing local priorities, and in evaluating local efforts.