Champions for Children with Disabilities
Building Program Capacity to Serve Youth with Disabilities
On August 7, 1998 the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) (Public Law 105-220) was signed into law. It signaled a wide ranging effort to bring various federally funded employment and training programs under one umbrella, while improving their ability to serve the needs of the nation's businesses and citizens in the workforce.
Cornerstones of WIA included the creation of "One-Stops" or Workforce Centers, which provided job seekers convenient access to employment, education, and information services at a single location in their area. WIA also mandated the creation of both adult and youth based employment and training programs, all locally designed and administered. One of the target populations for the WIA youth programs, as mandated by the U.S. Department of Labor, were youth with disabilities.
While most youth with disabilities are being served by such programs as Vocational Rehabilitation, many other organizations, community based or publicly funded, responsible for implementing WIA youth programming, have had little experience serving youth with disabilities.
This raises an important question: How does an organization build its own capacity to effectively serve youth with disabilities? The Building Program Capacity to Serve Youth with Disabilities from PACER Center's Project SWIFT is an easy to implement tool for increasing your organization's capacity to serve youth with disabilities and to work in partnership with their families.
This curriculum has been designed to give professionals working with youth with disabilities in employment and training programs practical information, and managers of such programs a valuable training resource. Each session focuses on a separate disability related topic, and highlights practical strategies using real world examples.
The seven sessions of the The Building Program Capacity to Serve Youth with Disabilities were created to be presented in order, but are flexible enough to offer standalone training opportunities. Each session takes approximately 3 hours to present, but can be easily modified to meet your timing needs. The complete curriculum on CD-ROM contains scripts to guide the trainer through each session, Power Point presentations, and resources such as handouts that can be used to provide additional information for attendees. The seven sessions address the following topics:
- Disability Awareness: "The Basics"
- Disability Legislation
- ADA- Title I, Employment and Reasonable Accommodations in the Workplace
- The Wonders and Relevance of Accessing Assistive Technology
- Working with Family, Culture, and Disability
- Juvenile Justice and Youth With Disabilities
- Interagency Collaboration and Person-Centered Planning
Don't forget to print the curriculum resource list to use for all the sessions
Project SWIFT believes the Building Program Capacity to Serve Youth with Disabilities can help all youth development professionals, not just those funded by WIA, increase their knowledge of disability and family related issues, resources, and strategies to create an inclusive and productive environment for youth with disabilities.
We think you will find the training sessions interesting, interactive, and fun to both present and attend. We encourage you to research and modify the training sessions to meet your needs, style, and location. We wish you luck in your efforts to make all youth employment and training programs accessible to all youth.