Workforce Intermediaries: Strategic Connections for Youth with Disabilities
Over the last two decades, landmark legislation, successful initiatives and technological advances have helped improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Although significant strides have been made, much work remains to be done. People with disabilities continue to experience low employment rates and often have limited opportunities for career growth. At the same time, employers across the country report a lack of skilled workers to meet their workforce needs.
Workforce intermediaries are in a unique position to address these challenges and may be particularly critical in supporting youth with disabilities and the employers who stand to benefit from their skills and talents. Workforce intermediaries are organizations that proactively address workforce needs using a dual customer approach—one which considers the needs of both employees and employers. Examples of organizations that can function as workforce intermediaries include faith-based and community organizations, employer organizations, community colleges, temporary staffing agencies, workforce investment boards and labor organizations.
Regardless of the type of organization, workforce intermediaries implement a range of strategies designed to bolster the local, regional and national workforce as well as economic development. In addition to helping job seekers find jobs and employers find workers, workforce intermediaries address communities' long-term workforce needs, such as training, education and employment support services. Workforce intermediaries may:
According to the American Assembly, a national public affairs forum, workforce intermediaries generally have three key goals:
Benefits of Intermediaries
Job seekers with disabilities benefit from workforce intermediaries through:
Employers benefit from workforce intermediaries through:
Research indicates that to succeed in life and work, all youth, including youth with disabilities, need to develop competence and confidence and obtain real-world experience. Therefore, some intermediary organizations focus, or have particular programs that focus, on the needs of youth. By connecting schools and youth organizations with employers, these intermediaries leverage resources to help ensure youth gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the workforce or higher education.
Youth with disabilities benefit from youth-oriented workforce intermediaries through:
Employers benefit from youth-oriented workforce intermediaries through:
The following list includes examples of resources that provide further information for individuals with disabilities and employers who wish to learn more about intermediaries. This list is not meant to be exhaustive.
The listing of the above resources in this fact sheet should not be construed as an endorsement of these entities, their services or products by the Office of Disability Employment Policy or the U.S. Department of Labor.