Policymakers play a critical role in ensuring positive outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities. Whether through bringing critical issues to the public forefront, appropriating funding, mandating programming or ensuring broader policies are inclusive to individuals with disabilities, policymakers are critical stakeholders. The Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth (CAPE-Youth) is dedicated to assisting states in identifying new opportunities to increase capacity by improving system-wide coordination, developing strategic partnerships, expanding career pathways and work-based learning and enhancing professional development programming for practitioners and leaders serving youth and young adults with disabilities. Explore policy and evidence-based practices that support these systemic components below.

Career Pathways

Developing strong career pathways for all youth, including youth with disabilities, is a critical activity to ensure a successful transition into adulthood. Students can engage in a variety of activities that allow them to explore different career pathways such as internships, mentoring, and service learning among other activities. 

Professional Development

Professional development is one tool to ensure the workforce remains knowledgeable about emerging trends and best practices in serving youth in order to increase the overall impact of the supports and services.

Strategic Partnerships

It is important that all key stakeholders across the state collaborate and coordinate to better deliver employment supports and services for youth and young adults with disabilities. 

The Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth (CAPE-Youth) has developed the Guideposts for Success: Framework for the Future policy brief for legislators and policymakers highlighting key elements for consideration.

The Guideposts for Success: Framework for the Future provides policymakers and administrators a practical construct that ensures the comprehensive delivery of programs and services across five key domains:
      1. School-based preparatory experiences
      2. Career preparation and work-based learning
      3. Youth development and leadership
      4. Connecting activities
      5. Family engagement

This framework has broad implications across many youth-serving systems, including education (secondary and postsecondary), career technical education, vocational rehabilitation, mental health services, developmental disabilities services, health services and other social services