Strategic Partnerships/
Systems Coordination

With the passage of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in 2014, the need for key stakeholders to engage in activities to better coordinate the delivery of supports and services through meaningful partnerships is not only the expectation but is critically important. However, recent research conducted through the U.S. Department of Education’s Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE), as well as other national demonstration projects, has highlighted a more expansive list of stakeholders that are involved in the transition process for youth with disabilities than was outlined specifically under WIOA. Collaboration among these WIOA agencies, such as vocational rehabilitation, workforce and education are only part of the greater transition eco-system that is necessary to create positive impact on successful outcomes for youth. Bridging the gaps between services provides for an easy transition from school into adult life, but these gaps are often not independently navigated with consistent success by the youth. When preparing for adult life, students may need help with transportation services, assistive technologies or internship opportunities which are all often provided by distinct agencies with specific eligibility criteria. Through agency collaboration, students can access all of the needed resources.

Collaboration can happen at two distinct levels — state and local — related to the transition for youth and young adults with disabilities.,

Who engages at the state level?

  • Youth
  • Families
  • Economic Development Cabinets
  • Education Cabinets
  • Families
  • Policymakers
  • Transportation Cabinets
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Offices
  • Workforce Development Cabinets
  • Mental Health Agencies
  • Developmental Disability Agencies

Who engages at the local level?

  • Youth
  • Families
  • Counselors
  • Practitioners and Service Providers
  • Teachers
  • Service Coordinators
  • Advocates
  • Workforce Development Boards
  • Local Vocational Rehabilitation Offices

A strong model for building these teams on the local level are called Integrated Resource Teams. An Integrated Resource Team is an informal, customer-centered partnership between an individual jobseeker with a disability and diverse service systems. Its goal is to coordinate services and leverage funding to give the jobseeker comprehensive, wrap-around services tailored to their unique needs and employment goals. For more information, visit the Educate, Empower, Employ Program the Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Targeted Communities. 

See what states are doing below!

Policy/Program Examples

  • Colorado’s College and Career Navigation Initiative
    • This is collaborative effort between the Colorado Community College System, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and the Colorado Department of Education’s Adult Education Initiatives Office. The initiative targets 1) academically underprepared out-of-school youth and adults, 2) GED completers, 3) high-level ESL students, and 4) workforce center clients. The initiative’s focus is to 1) align workforce, adult basic education and career and technical education resources, and 2) expand the number of clients successfully entering into college and the completion of career-advancing certificates and degrees.
  • Connecticut’s College and Career Readiness Toolkit
    • The toolkit was prepared by the Educational Policy Improvement Center on behalf of the Connecticut P-20 Council for communities to help their youth become college and career ready. The toolkit includes a section on strategies to build partnerships between secondary, postsecondary and workforce development.
  • Minnesota’s Project C3
    • Project C3: Connecting Youth to Communities and Careers is a project of the Minnesota Governor’s Workforce Development Council (GWDC), which is Minnesota’s State Workforce Investment Board. Its 31 members represent business, labor, community-based organizations, education, local elected officials, local workforce councils, state agencies and Minnesota’s legislature. The GWDC’s charge is to provide vision and strategic direction to the state’s workforce development system to ensure Minnesota’s employers have enough workers with the right skills to meet their workforce attraction, development, and retention needs.