Presumed Employability IDEIA WIA (Rehabilitation Act Amendments) Ticket to Work
What We Know Paid work experiences while in secondary education is the most compelling predicator of post-school success (Luecking & Fabian, 2001; Test et al., 2009; Carter et al., 2010; Sima, et al. in press) This finding applies across disabilities, geography, and economic conditions (Gold, Fabian & Luecking, 2013)
How do we know this? Research from the Center on Transition to Employment for Youth with Disabilities and other recent research (Sima, et al., in press; Wehman, et al., in press; Gold, et al., 2013) National Youth Transition Demonstration project (Fraker, et al., in press) State System Change Projects
Important Implications Work is both a critical intervention AND expected outcome A well defined and delivered intervention leads to outcomes
Other Important Factors Youth empowerment Family support and expectations Collaboration and service linkages Address issues of poverty
METS provides important guidance on structuring an intervention that leads to employment
Model Employment Transition Site (METS) Project Intent: – Improve systems so that youth with developmental and intellectual disabilities transition from secondary education to fully integrated, competitive work regardless of where they live in the state 5 LEAs are designing and implementing interventions Project Implementation – Training and TA to select sites to define model and build system to support the intervention – Develop a curriculum and/core competency on work preparation to be implemented in secondary schools
Model Training & TA to Implementation Evaluation
Early Planning and Experiences to Focus Student Career Preferences A system of intentional activities that: – Assess and build career interests into career preferences beginning no later than age 14. – Activities at each grade level align with previous years’ activities, and – Promote a natural progression to the student being employed after high school.
Early and Ongoing Collaboration Formalized relationships and processes to: – Maximize use of the expertise and perspectives of students, parents, educators, IVRS counselors and others – Plan for and provide individualize services, supports and activities – Lead to a natural progression to the student being employed after high school.
Paid Work Experience Explicit expectations that a student will have a paid work experience while in high school whether through the school or other means. Systematic way of identifying if students have experienced paid work and ensuring that they do. If paid work is not available, the student has a work experience in student’s preferred career area.
Support and Follow-up Needed to Stabilize Employment The system has established processes to provide supports needed for student to have stable employment. Including connections to provide needed support to obtain and maintain employment after high school.
Project Outcomes Increased integrated employment for transition-age youth! Developed and implemented a summer work experience program Expanded employer networks Developed a work experience curricula Established and/or strengthened collaboration among various partners
It Starts with You! We need to reframe how we perceive our students.
Help Wanted Company looking for individual with developmental disabilities, autism and history of aggressive behaviors. Extensive history of hospitalization preferred. Drug problems, poor social skills and delusional behaviors OK. Supportive co-workers and movie day on Fridays. Call for an application.
A Skills NOT Deficits Approach Reframe our perceptions of students with disabilities Focus on preferences and what a person can do, not what they can’t Shifts emphasis to adding value, not what needs to be fixed Able to target employment settings where job seeker’s unique characteristics and skills will be assets- where they will fit in and make friends
Stacy’s File Lazy Non-verbal No work experiences Irresponsible Can’t read Bad attitude
What We Said… Organized Creative with a good sense of fashion Great with kids Responsible (runs a household!) Likes to improve her surroundings Likes clean, organized environments Values doing the right thing Good multi-tasker
28 Successful Employment A two way street Mutually beneficial relationship It is about adding value, NOT charity!
They Are Who They Are Reframe perceptions of students Start working with what they have to offer and their interests Focus on the skills not deficits Expose students to a wide variety of employment settings Prepare them with work
So What… “Work” as an intervention not just an outcome – Create opportunity for successful work experiences—early & often Establish an expectation for work for all youth – Influence youth and families expectations for themselves Deliver a well-defined intervention/Define the flow of services for youth – Important factors: Youth empowerment, family engagement, system linkages
So What… Systematize commitment to employment through collaboration among schools, VR and CPRs (and families) – Share good information – Develop a portfolio on skills and experiences to share with service provider/potential employers Use/prioritize funding to train staff – Ensure knowledge of marketing/employer outreach, job development, and placement – Provide job development staff with training, and the time and flexibility to commit to job development activities
Bottom Line REAL EMPLOYMENT as a consistent option on the table when planning
Top 10 Tips as you plan for the natural progression to integrated, competitive employment
#10… Don’t get lost in the confusion over competing priorities.