Professional Development

Professional development is a continuum of learning and support opportunities, which includes the maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge skills and abilities, and the development of personal qualities necessary for the execution of professional duties throughout working life. Professional development is one tool to ensure the workforce remains knowledgeable about emerging trends and best practices in serving youth to increase the overall impact of the supports and services.

In an effort to strengthen service integrity and align professional development efforts and resources across the myriad of systems serving youth, the Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth (CAPE-Youth) is conducting a national scan and needs sensing processes across education, postsecondary/higher education, workforce, Employment and Training Administration (ETA), Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and other critical partners and targeted populations. 

Our desired impact is to establish clear action steps for states to spark systemic changes to improve transition and employment outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities.

Policy/Program Examples

Indiana University: Vocational Rehabilitation Leadership Academy (VRLA)

    • The Vocational Rehabilitation Leadership Academy (VRLA) is a series of online professional development training modules for both new and seasoned Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRCs). The Center on Community Living and Careers created and oversees this comprehensive training program in partnership with Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation, a part of the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services within Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration.

Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services: Workforce Studio

    • The Virginia Rehabilitation agency website and podcast focuses on individuals with disabilities and stories of employment including training and education, vocational rehabilitation and celebrates the champions of employment who hire people with disabilities as well as vocational rehabilitation professionals and the work they do to create hope and a path forward to employment for people with disabilities so they can work and lead better lives.

Colorado: Educator Education Requirements Special Education

    • Concerning education requirements for educators to increase awareness of special education issues

“Therefore the general assembly declares that teachers, special services providers, principals, and administrators should be aware of special education laws and requirements and effective special education practices, including but not limited to inclusive learning environments, as part of the professional development requirements for renewal of educator licenses, and that the teaching of special education laws and effective special education practices should be required for all students in Colorado’s educator preparation programs.”