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ODEP - Office of Disability Employment Policy

Disability Employment Policy Resources by Topic


From School to Adulthood and the World of Work

ODEP works to influence national policy and promote effective workplace practices to ensure that today's — and tomorrow's — workforce is inclusive of all people, including people with disabilities. As a result, one important policy focus area is youth transitioning from school to adulthood and the world of work.

The Guideposts for Success — What All Youth Need to Successfully Transition into Adulthood

ODEP's work in the youth arena is based on the Guideposts for Success. The Guideposts represent what research and practice has identified as key educational and career development interventions that make a positive difference in the lives of all youth, including youth with disabilities. They were developed by ODEP in collaboration with one of its research and technical assistance centers, the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), following an extensive review of research and best practices in education and workforce development.

The five Guideposts are as follows:

The complete Guideposts for Success document as well as an explanation of their underlying key principles and who should use them and how, is available on the NCWD/Youth website.

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 development 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.

Individualized Learning Plans

Inclusive Service

Volunteerism and work-based learning (both paid and voluntary) can provide critical preparation for all youth as they transition from school into the world of work. 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.

Federal Partners in Transition

The Federal Partners in Transition National Online Dialogue was held on May 13 to May 27, 2013. Hosted by the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration, the National Online Dialogue invited people to share their ideas and comments about federal legislative and regulatory barriers and other opportunities to improve transition outcomes for youth with disabilities. Based on this input, a report entitled Federal Partners in Transition National Online Dialogue: Participation Metrics was developed to summarize the dialogue’s results. These responses will help to frame the efforts of the dialogue hosts to work together strategically to develop a plan to improve transition results for youth with disabilities by 2020.

Additional ODEP youth in transition resources and initiatives include: