The Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth (CAPE-Youth) is excited to announce the release of our new research web page.
This page outlines opportunities to get involved with CAPE-Youth’s research initiatives on innovative policy and programmatic approaches to improving outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities. Input from policymakers, professionals and state agencies who serve youth and young adults is vital to these efforts.
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The Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth (CAPE-Youth) is excited to announce the release of our new apprenticeship web page. This page offers examples of inclusive apprenticeships in states and resources for expanding diversity and inclusion in apprenticeship, such as recently published briefs from the Apprenticeship Inclusion Model (AIM).
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By: Chip O’Connell
The seventh annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) takes place November 15-21, 2021. NAW is a nationwide celebration where industry, labor, workforce, education and government leaders host events to showcase the successes and value of Registered Apprenticeships for re-building our economy, advancing equity and supporting underserved communities.
Apprenticeships are employer-driven programs that provide hands-on technical training for individuals seeking new skills and employment. Training and instruction are tailored to help the apprentice master skills needed to succeed in a specific occupation. Apprenticeship is a high-quality career pathway, with 92% of apprentices retaining employment in their field and earning an average starting salary of $72,000. Employers utilize these programs to train new employees as well as reskill their existing employees to meet changing demands, resulting in a steady pool of qualified workers. These programs also benefit state governments by lowering unemployment rates and attracting new industries. The Job Corps website contains examples of apprenticeships from programs in industries ranging from automotive and machine repair to homeland security.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has taken several steps to increase inclusion and accessibility in apprenticeship programs. According to DOL, between 2017 and 2019 the number of apprentices who identify as having a disability increased 550%. Research shows that participation in apprenticeship programs produces a number of benefits for students with disabilities, including experience, employability skills and nationally recognized credentials. An apprenticeship can be a viable career pathway for more than 1.3 million young people with a disability between the ages of 16 and 24.
States are increasingly enacting policies engineered to increase the inclusion and engagement of youth with disabilities in apprenticeship programs. Below are a few examples:
- New Jersey’s Youth Transition to Work (YTTW) Program provides multiple financial incentives for employers hiring youth apprentices, with an emphasis on targeted industries such as health care, information technology or public service.
- Louisiana’s Postsecondary Apprenticeship Pilot for Youth (PAY Check) is a three-to-five semester program that allows transition age youth with disabilities to take classes at Delgado Community College related to specific apprenticeship areas, participate in career development activities, learn community and work skills, and gain employment experience through a paid apprenticeship at the University Medical Center.
- Oregon’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Plan specifically outlines identified issues and how agencies can strategize to make apprenticeships more inclusive and useful in the state.
Apprenticeship programs are a proven way for individuals to discover exciting career pathways and for states to secure employment for their workforces. Be sure to check out National Apprenticeship Week events happening near you
This is the final installment of the Inclusive Community College Career Pathways blog series. Read the previous blogs here.
Systems of Support that Work Together
Colleges can collaborate with disability services, career services and community rehabilitation professionals to create customized supports that help students with disabilities find employment after finishing school. These supports include self-advocacy instruction, mentorship opportunities and tailored training and assistance. Together, customized supports help students develop skills to direct their own careers.
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This is the fifth of six installments in the series, “Inclusive Community College Career Pathways.” It discusses how the U.S. Department of Labor Pathways to Careers demonstration grants developed and provided work-based learning (WBL) experiences to prepare students with disabilities to join the workforce.
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This is the fourth of six installments in the series, “Inclusive Community College Career Pathways.” The last blog discussed the use of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to make instructional content more accessible to students with disabilities.
In adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, educational institutions have had to think critically about how to meet the unique and complex needs of students with disabilities. This means providing existing services, including accommodations and academic supports, and addressing additional challenges caused by the pandemic, such as technology access and mental distress.
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This is the third of six installments in the series, “Inclusive Community College Career Pathways.” Our previous blog discusses strategies for increasing the accessibility of community colleges through college preparation programs and campus improvements.
Students learn in a variety of ways. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework that acknowledges and embraces this diversity and “guides the design of learning goals, materials, methods and assessments…with the diversity of learners in mind.” For example, a presentation that includes spoken, written, graphic and hands-on components aligns with UDL principles and allows students with a range of learning styles to engage with the material.
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This is the second of six installments in this series. Read the previous blog here. The next blog will discuss Universal Design for Learning.
How can students with disabilities better access a community college education? This is a question that Onondaga Community College and Pellissippi State Community College sought to address as part of their demonstration model grants from the U.S. Department of Labor. While accessibility can take many forms, the projects approached the issue from two key angles: (1) providing college “bridge” programs to prepare students with disabilities for success in community college, and (2) conducting audits and renovations to improve campus accessibility.
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Community college can be a path to employment
Preparing individuals with disabilities for the workforce helps states advance their disability employment goals. Community colleges play a critical role in connecting individuals with disabilities to in-demand careers. In 2017, 24.3% of people with disabilities who had completed some college (including earning an associate’s degree) were employed, compared to 16.7% of people with disabilities who had only a high school diploma.
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