Transitioning from school to college or the workforce is often a challenging time in one’s life, and can be especially difficult for youth with disabilities. Developing a sense of community, applying for jobs and acquiring the training they need, and getting used to living independently can all be daunting steps to take on. Fortunately, they need not navigate this stage alone – below are just a few examples of organizations that help prepare youth with disabilities by providing training and mentorship.
Partners for Youth with Disabilities
Partners for Youth with Disabilities, or PYD, runs programs that provide mentoring and job readiness training for children and adolescents with disabilities, in addition to inclusivity and advocacy training for youth workers and organizations. On their website, one can access their programs, which include mentoring, career readiness, and leadership development; their training and consulting services, which are available both live and online; and their career readiness curriculum. PYD also has an advocacy initiative called the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC), which offers fellowship and scholarship programs, as well as a disability mentoring certification program.
Easterseals, founded in 1919, is a nonprofit organization committed to comprehensive health and wellness for people with disabilities. Among their many resources are transition services and job training. Easterseals’s transition services offers support for young adults with disabilities who are preparing to begin living independently, joining the workforce, and/or going into post-secondary education. The program is individualized and community-based, and focuses on daily living and social skills. Their job training seeks to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities with a personalized approach, connecting employers with job seekers while providing support for assistive technology and transportation. More information about each service can be found by connecting to your local Easterseals.
The Arc is an organization that focuses specifically on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families. Their website includes access to their resource dictionary, webinars, and virtual library, in addition to policy and advocacy resources. Among the latter is their page on employment, training, and wages, which includes information on connecting with one of their local chapters in order to receive support in school-to-work transition, training, and job-seeking, as well as a link to their employment resources. The Arc also has an employment position statement page, which features handy, concise lists of best practices and recommendations for transitions and training.
Youth.gov, formerly FindYouthInfo.gov, was created by the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP), a federal group that supports programs and services focusing on children and adolescents. Youth.gov offers interactive tools and resources to help organizations and community partnerships plan, implement, and participate in youth programs. Their Employment Considerations for Youth with Disabilities page includes information about planning for the transition from school to the workforce or postsecondary education, disclosing disabilities to employers, and requesting job accommodations. The page also includes valuable resources on employment, broken into categories like internships, technical assistance, programs, and more.