Below is a list of key terms that relate to employment for youth and young adults with disabilities and that are used across CAPE-Youth’s work.

Term Definition
Accommodation Changes made in a classroom, work site, or other settings that assists people with disabilities to learn, work, or receive services. Accommodations are designed not to lower expectations for performance in school or work but to alleviate the effects of a disability.
Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Accounts ABLE Accounts are tax-free saving accounts that enable individuals with disabilities to set aside money to cover qualified disability expenses, including those related to education, employment training and support, transportation, and assistive technology. ABLE Accounts were authorized by the federal Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) on December 19, 2014 to ease financial strains faced by individuals with disabilities.
Apprenticeship Apprenticeship is a federally recognized training system for occupations requiring a wide and extensive range of skills and knowledge. It involves on-the-job training combined with related (i.e., classroom) instruction. In the United States alone, there are currently more than 800 different apprenticeable occupations. Apprentice wages are based on the level of their skills and increase incrementally to the journeyman level upon successful completion of the apprenticeship.
Assistive Technology (AT) Under several different laws, assistive technology (or adaptive technology) is defined as including both the assistive technology devices and the services (e.g., repair and maintenance) needed to make meaningful use of such devices. The Assistive Technology Act defines an assistive technology device as: any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. An assistive technology service is defined as: any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.
Benefits Planning The person-centered analysis of the effect that work and other life situation changes have on public and private programs, including income support programs. Benefits planning helps people with disabilities steer through the maze of public and private benefits programs while minimizing disincentives and barriers that exist for them to prepare for, obtain, advance in, retain, leave, and regain employment.
Blended Funding A term used to describe mechanisms that pool dollars from multiple sources and make them in some ways indistinguishable. Blending may require the changing or relaxing of regulations guiding relevant state and federal funding streams by policy makers at the federal, state, or local level to permit program flexibility, and change the way services are structured and delivered.
Braided Funding A funding and resource allocation strategy that taps into existing categorical funding streams and uses them to support unified initiatives in as flexible and integrated manner as possible. Braided funding streams remain visible and are used in common to produce greater strength, efficiency, and; or effectiveness. Braided funding allows resources to be tracked more closely for the purpose of accounting to state and federal administrators. Thus, implementing a braided funding approach requires significant attention be paid to administrative issues.
Career and Technical Education Career and technical education refers to organized educational activities that offer a sequence of courses that provide individuals with coherent and rigorous content aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant technical knowledge and skills needed to prepare for further education and careers in current or emerging professions; provides technical skill proficiency, an industry-recognized credential, a certificate, or an associate degree; and may include prerequisite courses (other than a remedial course). The term also includes competency-based applied learning that contributes to the academic knowledge, higher-order reasoning and problem-solving skills, work attitudes, general employability skills, technical skills, occupation-specific skills, and knowledge of all aspects of an industry, including entrepreneurship, of an individual (Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006, Public Law 109-270).
Career Exploration The process of finding a rewarding career path, as well as specific jobs within a particular career path.
Career Pathways Career pathways are a series of educational programs and services designed to prepare individuals for employment and advancement in targeted jobs.
Career Preparation Core activities that help youth become prepared for a successful future in careers or post secondary education institutions including career awareness activities that expose young people to information about the job market, job related skills, the wide variety of jobs that exist and the education and training they require, as well as the work environment where they are performed. Core activities also include: 1) Career assessments (formal and informal); 2) Opportunity awareness including guest speaker informational interviews, research-based activities such as wage comparisons and Web searches, community mapping, and exposures to post secondary education such as campus visits and college fairs; and 3) Work-readiness skills such as soft-skills development, computer competency, and job search skills.
Center for Independent Living (CIL) Community-based, not-for-profit, non-residential organizations that provide advocacy, peer counseling, independent living skills training, and information and referral to persons of any age with any disability.
Client Assistance Programs (CAP) The purpose of the Client Assistance Program is to advise and inform clients, client applicants, and other individuals with disabilities of all the available services and benefits under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and of the services and benefits available to them under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In addition, grantees may assist and advocate for clients and client applicants in relation to projects, programs, and services provided under the Rehabilitation Act. In providing assistance and advocacy under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act, a CAP agency may provide assistance and advocacy with respect to services that are directly related to employment for the client or client applicant.
Communities of Practice (CoP) A group of people that agree to interact regularly to solve a persistent problem or improve practice in an area that is important to them. CoPs exist in many forms, some are large in scale and dealing with complex problems, others are small in scale and focused on a problem at a very specific level. CoPs are a way of working that invite the groups that have a stake in an issue to be a part of the problem solving.
Community-Based Vocational Education (CBVE) CBVE is a vocational program designed for students with disabilities that provides work experience and training to students in community work settings. The goal of CBVE is to help students identify career interests, assess employability skills, and develop the skills and attitudes necessary for paid employment.
Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) Competitive integrated employment ICIE) is work that is performed on a full-time or part-time basis for which an individual is: (a) compensated at or above minimum wage and comparable to the customary rate paid by the employer to employees without disabilities performing similar duties and with similar training and experience; (b) receiving the same level of benefits provided to other employees without disabilities in similar positions; (c) at a location where the employee interacts with other individuals without disabilities; and (d) presented opportunities for advancement similar to other employees without disabilities in similar positions.
Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Programs (CTPs) A CTP is a postsecondary degree, certificate, or non‐degree program sponsored by a college or career and technical education center that is designed to support students with intellectual disabilities as they continue to receive instruction related to academics, career, and independent living to prepare for gainful employment.
Culturally-Responsive Transition Practices Culturally-Responsive Transition Practices refer to approaches to providing transition services that meet the needs of youth and young adults with disabilities who come from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds. This starts with developing the cultural competence of youth service providers, in order to meet the unique needs of certain populations and subsequently improve transition outcomes.
Data Sharing Agreement A data sharing agreement is an agreement between two or more parties that outlines which data will be shared and how the data can be used. A data sharing agreement can prevent data misuse, data abuse, and unregulated data dissemination.
Disability The broadest definition of disability can be found in Americans with Disabilities Act: 1) A person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; 2) A person who has a history or record of such an impairment; or 3) A person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. This broad definition forms the basis of civil rights of people with disabilities and is used as the core definition of disability for all the federal government legal and regulatory compliance responsibilities as it relates to both physical and programmatic access.
Disability Support Services (DSS) An office in a postsecondary institution that provides necessary information to students who need accommodations. In addition, these offices provide training to faculty and staff on disability issues.
Disconnected Youth A person between the age of 16-24 years old, who is either not working (in the private sector or in the military), nor in school.
Education and Training Education and Training is formal instruction and supervised practice in an academic subjects, skills, trade, or profession leading to a generally recognized credential or certificate.
Employment First Employment First is a framework and nationwide movement that seeks to deliver meaningful employment, fair wages, and career advancement for people with disabilities. Many states have adopted Employment First policies through legislation and/or executive orders to facilitate competitive integrated employment for individuals with disabilities, including individuals with the most significant disabilities.
Employment Outcome As defined in Title I of the Rehabilitation Act and its governing regulations, an employment outcome means entering or retaining full-time or, if appropriate, part-time competitive employment in the integrated labor market; satisfying the vocational outcome of supported employment; or satisfying any other approved appropriate vocational outcome such as self-employment, telecommuting, or business ownership.
Family Engagement The support for the social, emotional, physical, academic, and occupational growth of youth that is provided by parents and/or other family, either independently or in collaboration with professionals.
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) The services to which every person ages three to 21 who is receiving special education services is entitled during their years in school.
Guideposts for Success A comprehensive framework that identified what all youth, including youth with disabilities need to succeed during the critical transition years.
Home and Community Based Services The major goal of home-based services is to maintain the youth at home and prevent an out-of-home placement (i.e., in foster care or in residential or inpatient treatment). Home-based services are usually provided through the child welfare, juvenile justice, or mental health systems. Home-based services are also referred to as in-home services, family preservation services, family-centered services, family-based services, or intensive family services. The services are tailored to the individual needs of families.
Individual Transition Plan (ITP) A written plan that outlines what a student will need to live and work as an adult. This plan works as a bridge between the IEP and other transition plans.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) A written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This statement must include: A) the child’s academic achievement and functional performance; B) measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals; C) a description of how the child’s progress toward the goals will be measured; D) what special education and related services will be provided; E) an explanation of the extent, if any, to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in regular classes; and F) a description of any appropriate accommodations that are necessary. The first IEP, under the IDEA, must be in effect no later than when the child turns 16. These services may start earlier if determined appropriate by the IEP Team. IEP’s must also be updated annually (IDEA 2004).
Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) An ILP is both a document and a process for helping middle and/or high school students (with and without disabilities) identify and pursue their college, job, and career goals, including by choosing classes and activities that will help them reach those goals. At least 43 states have adopted policies that require or encourage ILPs in order to make schools more personalized and improve student outcomes.
Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) Under the Social Security Administrations Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act (TWWIIA), an IPE is a plan developed by a State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency and the client for the services that the client needs to assist them in reaching their work goal.
Individualized Service Plan (ISP) The Developmental Disabilities Assistance Rights Act crated the ISP which is a document which becomes the basis for service coordination for the consumer. It is developed with input and approval of the consumer and focuses on the service areas needed. This plan is also referred to as an Individualized Plan (IP).
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that makes a free appropriate public education (FAPE) available to eligible children with disabilities and ensures special education and related services to those children. Under IDEA, the primary vehicle for providing FAPE is through an appropriately developed individualized education program (IEP) that is based on the individual needs of the child.
Integrated Setting Integrated setting refers to a setting in which individuals interact with non-disabled individuals other than those who may be providing services to that person. With respect to an integrated employment setting, it refers to a setting typically found in the community in which individuals interact with non-disabled individuals, other than those who are providing services to that person, to the same extent that non-disabled individuals in comparable positions interact with other persons.
Intersectional Identities “Intersectionality” refers to the various identities each person has and how they intersect or overlap in ways that can be empowering or oppressive. These identities include belonging to racial minority groups, being from low-income households, and being involved in the foster care or justice systems. Youth and young adults with disabilities who have other intersecting identities can face barriers as well as possess protective factors that can affect their potential for successful employment.
Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) LEAs are public boards of education or other public authorities that exercise administrative control over public elementary schools or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a state.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) / Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) A written document detailing the work and fiscal responsibilities of participating parties. Such documents may also be referred to as Service, Resource Sharing, or Governance Agreements. These agreements include details regarding who is providing what services, how much they will cost, who is paying for them, where they will be delivered, and additional information as needed.
Mentoring A trusting relationship, formalized into a program of structured activities, which brings young people together with caring individuals who offer guidance, support, and encouragement aimed at developing the competence and character of the mentee. Types of mentoring include: A) E-mentoring – A contemporary model commonly used in schools in which one (or more) youth is matched with a mentor. The youth and mentor regularly exchange e-mail messages for a designated prolonged period of time. In ideal circumstances, e-mentoring includes occasional face-to-face meetings to provide a more personal connection. In many instances, a program coordinator (often a teacher) will monitor all correspondence and meetings. B) Formal Mentoring – A common practice that involves assigning mentors to pair with protégés where individuals must strive to get to know each other over time. C) Group Mentoring – This form of mentoring matches one or more adults with a group of youth in a structured setting. This could include an individual or group of adult volunteers working with several youth in a school or a faith-based program, or a group of employees from one company working with students from a local school in a work-based mentoring program. D) Informal Mentoring – involves relationships that develop between individuals at different levels of the organization’s seniority structure because of mutual identification and interpersonal comfort. E) Peer Mentoring – A mentoring model in which peers from a shared or similar developmental stage provide support and advice to mentees. Peers can be close in age or farther apart, depending on the circumstances. F) Reverse Mentoring – once referred exclusively to a relationship where a younger person acted as a mentor to an older individual. Today, the term has broadened to include peer-to-peer and cross-generational relationships which are developed to gain technical expertise and a different perspective. G) Traditional One-to-One Mentoring Program – A model of mentoring in which one adult is paired with one young person. Typically, there will be an extensive matching process to ensure a strong relationship, and it is expected that the commitment will be for one year or longer.
One-Stop Center The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) requires that a number of employment-related services be provided through a system of One-Stop Centers, designed to make accessing employment and training services easier for job seekers. One-Stop Centers are also required to help employers identify and recruit skilled workers. The One-Stop system is required to be a customer-focused and comprehensive system that increases the employment, retention, and earnings of participants. WIA names 17 categories of federally-funded programs that are to be mandated partners within the One-Stop system (GAO, 2003).
Order of Selection Refers to the rules that State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies must develop to prioritize the provision of VR services when funding is limited. Federal law requires that individuals with the most significant disabilities be served first when resources are inadequate to serve everyone determined eligible for services. This means that individuals that with less significant disabilities are placed on waiting lists and will only receive services if or when all of the individuals with the most significant disabilities have been served.
Policymaker Policymakers are members of government departments, legislatures, or other public sector organizations who are responsible for developing and implementing public policy.
Postsecondary Goals Postsecondary goals refer to a student’s long-term objectives for living, working and learning as an adult. The projected postsecondary goals in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) establish a direction to work towards in recommending transition activities for the student.
Potentially Eligible Students Potentially eligible students are high school or post-secondary education students who have not yet been determined eligible or ineligible to receive services from their state’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency, but who meet the other criteria for receiving Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) (meaning that they have an IEP, 504 Plan, or a documented disability and are between 14 to 21 years old, unless that age range has been extended by an individual state). The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires that VR agencies set aside at least 15% of their federal funds to provide Pre-ETS to students with disabilities who are eligible or potentially eligible for VR services.
Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) are services designed to improve the transition of students with disabilities from school to postsecondary education or to an employment outcome. Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies are required to set aside at least 15% of their federal funds to provide Pre-ETS to students who are eligible or potentially eligible for VR services. There are five required Pre-ETS: job exploration counseling; work-based learning experiences; counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational programs; workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living; and instruction in self-advocacy.
Professional Development for Service Providers 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.
Program Navigators These positions exist in a growing number of One Stop Centers to build staff capacity and work with people with disabilities and service providers to access, facilitate, and navigate the complex statutory and regulatory provisions and application processes for public and private programs.
Protection and Advocacy Programs (P&A) The Protection and Advocacy (P&A) System and Client Assistance Program (CAP) comprise the nationwide network of Congressionally mandated, legally based disability rights agencies. P&A agencies have the authority to provide legal representation and other advocacy services, under all federal and state laws, to all people with disabilities (based on a system of priorities for services).
Reasonable Accommodation Are those adjustments that may need to be made within a work or school setting to allow an otherwise qualified employee or student with a disability to perform the tasks required. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Reasonable Accommodation means: A) modification to the job application process; B) modification to the work environment or the manner under which the position held is performed; and C) modification that enables an employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment. The term “reasonable” implies that the accommodation is one that does not cause an undue hardship for the employer. Examples of workplace accommodations include making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities; restructuring jobs/ establishing part-time or modified work schedules; reassigning to vacant positions; adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies; and providing qualified readers or interpreters. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the term “accommodation” is used primarily with regard to the development and provision of alternative assessments that are valid and reliable for assessing the performance of students with disabilities.
Section 504 Plan Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requires that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment. Section 504 Plans are developed for students with disabilities who do not require specialized instruction but who need the assurance that they will receive equal access to public education and services.
Self-Advocacy The act of understanding one’s disability, being aware of the strengths and weaknesses resulting from the limitations imposed by the disability, and being able to articulate reasonable need for accommodation (Hartman, 1993). The attitudes and abilities required to act as the primary causal agent in one’s life and make choices and decisions regarding one’s actions free from undue external influence or interference (Wehmeyer, 1992). The ability of an individual to set goals that are important to him or her and having the skills to achieve these goals (Field & Hoffman, 1996).
Sheltered Employment Designed to assist individuals who for whatever reason are viewed as not capable of working in a competitive employment setting in their local community. The term “sheltered employment” is often used to refer to a wide range of segregated vocational and non-vocational programs for individuals with disabilities, such as sheltered workshops, adult activity centers, work activity centers, and day treatment centers.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) A monthly insurance benefit to individuals with disabilities who meet certain medical criteria and who either: A) have previous work experience themselves, and have paid Social Security taxes (FICA) for enough years to be covered under Social Security; or B) have a retired or deceased parent who has paid into the system. Individuals on SSDI typically are also eligible for Medicare (after 24-month waiting period if the person is under 65 years old).
Stakeholder Collaboration A mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations to achieve common goals. The relationship includes a commitment to: a definition of mutual relationships and goals; a jointly developed structure and shared responsibility; mutual authority and accountability; and sharing of resources and rewards (Mattesich & Monsey, 1992). Collaboration involves formal, sustained commitment among partners to accomplish a shared, clearly defined mission (Kerka, 1997). Collaborative efforts can overcome service fragmentation and interrelated problems resulting in improved services to individuals with disabilities (Melaville & Blank, 1993).
Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) is a piece of federal legislation signed into law on July 31, 2018. It reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV) and provides continued funding for career and technical education programs for youth and adults. It also includes provisions for helping special populations, including youth with disabilities, to enroll and complete CTE programs, preparing them for high-skill and high-wage employment.
Students with a Disability A student with a disability is an individual in a secondary, postsecondary, or other recognized education program who is between the ages of 14 and 21 (unless that range is extended by an individual state) and is receiving special education or related services under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and/or who has a Section 504 Plan.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) A monthly cash benefit that is available from the Social Security Administration to people who have a disability, low income, and few resources. People who receive SSI also automatically become eligible to receive Medicaid medical insurance in most states.
Supported Employment Supported employment means competitive employment in an integrated setting, or employment in integrated work settings in which individuals with the most significant disabilities are provided ongoing support services through an external source such as a community rehabilitation program or a State Vocational Rehabilitation program or a State Vocational Rehabilitation agency. Supported employment provides assistance such as job coaches, transportation, assistive technology, specialized job training, and individually tailored support.
Technical Assistance Operational or management advice or training given to nonprofit organizations. It can include fundraising assistance, budgeting and financial planning, program planning, legal advice, marketing, and other aids to management, as well as best practices, materials, training, tools, and other resources for operation.
Transition The period of time when adolescents are moving into adulthood and is often concerned with planning for postsecondary education or careers. In the workforce environment it usually encompasses ages 14 to 25.
Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) TPSID are high-quality, inclusive comprehensive transition and postsecondary programs for students with intellectual disabilities at institutions of higher education. They provide individual supports and services to students focusing on academic enrichment, socialization, independent living skills (including self-advocacy skills), and integrated work experiences and career skills that lead to gainful employment. The U.S. Department of Education provides grants to institutions of higher education or consortia of institutions to enable them to create or expand these programs.
Transition Cliff In addition to service tunnels, youth encounter a “transition cliff” when they age out of youth systems and attempt to access adult services. Many youth systems end at age 18 and others when the youth reaches age 22, which means a youth could simultaneously be a youth in one system and an adult in another. The adult systems of education, mental health, Social Security, Vocational Rehabilitation, and workforce development often have different terminology, eligibility requirements, and service options than those of the corresponding youth systems. This disconnect can result in consequences such as termination of services and lost progress in career planning.
Transition Planning The term “transition planning” means a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability that: A) Is designed within an outcome-oriented process, that promotes movement from school-to-post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation; B) Is based upon the individual student’s needs, taking into account the student’s preferences and interests; and C) Includes instruction, related services, special education, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and when appropriate, the acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.
Transition-Age Youth Transition-aged youth are young people between the ages of roughly 14 and 24 who have a documented disability and who are in the process of transitioning from adolescence to adult life, including post-secondary education and/or employment.
Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) is an approach to providing various human services in a way that considers the pervasive nature of trauma and promotes environments of healing and recovery rather than practices and services that may inadvertently re-traumatize. Youth-serving systems can develop their capacities to provide TIC through staff training on trauma and cultural sensitivity, trauma screening, interagency collaboration to holistically address the needs of youth, and referral to trauma-specific services.
Universal Design The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) UDL is a framework for designing educational environments that help all students gain knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning.  The concept of UDL was inspired by the universal design movement in product development and architecture, which calls for the design of structures that anticipate the needs of individuals with disabilities and accommodate these needs from the outset (Orkwis & McLane, 1998; Rose & Meyer, 2002).  Elements of universally designed buildings might include levered door handles, widened bathroom stalls that can accommodate wheelchairs or other assistive devices, and tables and countertops at a variety of heights.  The tenets of universal design also can be applied to teaching and assessing, and in these contexts, a universally designed curriculum includes goals, methods, materials, and assessments, and supports all learners by simultaneously reducing barriers to the curriculum and providing rich support for learning (Rose & Meyer, 2002). In a classroom using a universally designed curriculum one might find books on tape, interactive software, magnifiers, or highlighted materials.
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) The process of assisting individuals with disabilities to obtain, regain, maintain, and advance in employment through diverse services tailored to meet the needs of eligible individuals. Each state has a public VR agency.
Waivers Programs that allow people to receive Medicaid long-term care services in the community.
Work-Based Learning A supervised program sponsored by an education or training organization that links knowledge gained at the work site with a planned program of study. Experiences range in intensity, structure, and scope and include activities as diverse as site visits, job shadowing, paid and unpaid internships, structured on-the-job training, and the more formal work status as apprentice or employee.
Workforce Development Activities focused on preparing for, securing, retaining, or regaining an employment outcome that is consistent with the strengths, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual – or assisting individuals and employers in obtaining education, training, job placement, or job recruitment
Workforce Development System The term workforce development system encompasses organizations at the national, state, and local levels that have direct responsibility for planning, allocating resources (both public and private), providing administrative oversight and operating programs to assist individuals and employers in obtaining education, training, job placement, and job recruitment. Included in this broad network are several federal agencies charged with providing specific education and/or training support and other labor market services such as labor market information. At the state and local levels the network includes state and local workforce investment boards, state and local career and technical education and adult education agencies, vocational rehabilitation agencies, recognized apprenticeship programs, state employment and unemployment services agencies, state and local welfare agencies, and/or sub-units of these entities. A wide array of organizations provide direct education, training, or employment services (e.g. technical schools, colleges, and universities, vocational rehabilitation centers, apprenticeship programs community based organizations, one-stop centers, welfare to work training programs, literacy programs, Job Corp Centers, unions, and labor/management programs). The NCWD/Youth focus centers on the organizations within this broad system that are concerned with the initial preparation of an individual for the world of work and individuals in the general age range of 14 to 25.
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is a piece of federal legislation signed into law on July 22, 2014 that is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market. The ultimate goal of WIOA is competitive employment for those most vulnerable and “at risk,” including individuals with disabilities.
Work-Readiness Skills The ability to make the educational and vocational decisions and perform the kinds of educational and vocational tasks that are expected by schools and the workplace. Work-readiness skills include soft skills, computer literacy, and job seeking skills.
Wraparound Services Individualized, community-based mental health services for children and youth with severe emotional and behavioral disorders in their homes, schools, and communities. This wrap-around approach – sometimes described as serving participants “holistically” – requires that a program effectively collaborate and network with multiple agencies and institutions. In the wraparound model, case managers coordinate the provision of services from multiple service providers and involve families in the participatory process of developing an individualized plan focusing on youth and family strengths in multiple life domains.
Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities (Y&YADs) Y&YAD are young people between the ages of roughly 14 and 24 who have a documented disability and who are in the process of transitioning from adolescence to adult life, including post-secondary education and/or employment.
Youth Development A process that prepares young people to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood through a coordinated, progressive series of activities and experiences that help them to become socially, morally, emotionally, physically, and cognitively competent. Youth development spans five basic developmental areas in which all young people need to learn and grow: Thriving, Leading, Connecting, Learning, and Working. It includes mentoring activities designed to establish strong relationships with adults through formal and informal settings, peer-to-peer mentoring opportunities; and exposure to role models in a variety of contexts. Positive youth development addresses the broader developmental needs of youth, in contrast to deficit-based models that focus solely on youth problems.
Youth Leadership Refers to an internal and external process leading to: (1) the ability to guide or direct others on a course of action, influence the opinion and behavior of other people, and show the way by going in advance (Wehmeyer, Agran & Hughes, 1998) and 2) the ability to analyze one’s own strengths and weaknesses, set personal and vocational goals, and have the self-esteem to carry them out. It includes the ability to identify community resources and use them, not only to live independently, but also to establish support networks to participate in community life and to effect positive social change. (Adolescent Employment Readiness Center, Children’s Hospital, n.d.) It emphasizes the developmental areas of Leading and Connecting and includes training in skills such as self-advocacy and conflict resolution; exposure to personal leadership and youth development activities, including community service; and opportunities that allow youth to exercise leadership.
Youth Service Professional Staff who work directly with youth through the workforce development system, for the purpose of preparing them for work and the workplace, including intake workers, case managers, job developers, job coaches, teachers, trainers, transition coordinators, counselors (in schools, post-secondary institutions, or vocational rehabilitation offices, for example), youth development group leaders, and independent living specialists. (Also known as Youth Service Practitioner)