Post-Secondary Options

Postsecondary education is an exciting opportunity for all youth, including those with disabilities. Going to college today can mean attending a 4-year college or university, a 2-year community college, or a technical institute or trade school. It can mean studying full-time or part-time, or living at school or commuting from home. Learning and earning go hand-in-hand. The more years of schooling your youth completes, the higher his or her income is likely to be. The wide variety of postsecondary educational programs currently available for youth makes exploring options with your son or daughter an exciting process.

Although postsecondary students with disabilities are entitled to certain protections, the process for accessing accommodations is much different than in high school. Youth must take a more active role in knowing their rights and advocating for needed supports. This means they must know about their disability and the accommodations they need to be successful. Families play an important role in helping their young adults learn self-advocacy skills, as well as their rights as a person with a disability.

Source:  National Parent Center on Transition and Employment.
http://www.pacer.org/transition/learning-center/postsecondary/

Note: You will need Acrobat Reader available on your computer in order to view the PDF documents.


Self-directed Self-Advocacy Employment Programs

Partners in Employment

This six-hour self-study course is designed to help people with developmental disabilities find meaningful jobs and plan a career. In this course, participants will:

  • create a resume or portfolio of their strengths, skills, and interests;
  • learn how to network and identify potential employers;
  • prepare for an interview; and
  • understand the hiring process.

The course has been updated to include information on ways that people with autism and other developmental disabilities can find competitive, meaningful employment in the emerging “digital economy.”

Three different versions of Partners in Employment are available:

  • English version
  • Spanish version
  • EZ Read version |  This version contains the same information as the regular course along with exercises and exams but uses icons (visuals) to help the participant understand concepts and to facilitate the learning process.

Source:  Center for Parent Information and Resources.  February 2016.  http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/partners-in-employment/


Soft Skills to Pay the Bills:
Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success

Overview

“Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success,” is a curriculum developed by ODEP focused on teaching “soft” or workforce readiness skills to youth, including youth with disabilities. Created for youth development professionals as an introduction to workplace interpersonal and professional skills, the curriculum is targeted for youth ages 14 to 21 in both in-school and out-of-school environments. The basic structure of the program is comprised of modular, hands-on, engaging activities that focus on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.

Introduction Materials

Soft Skill #1: Communication

The activities in this section will not only help participants practice and recognize how they provide information to others, but also help them consider how others may prefer to receive information. It is important to reinforce with participants that communication skills involve give and take — and they can, indeed, be learned and strengthened over time.

Soft Skill #2: Enthusiasm & Attitude

The activities in this section seek to teach participants about the importance of enthusiasm and a positive attitude in the workplace. Participants will hear strategies for turning negative thinking into positive thinking and displaying and discussing enthusiasm during an interview and on the job.

Soft Skill #3: Teamwork

The activities in this section seek to teach participants about the importance of teamwork to workplace success and the specific role each individual on a team may play. Participants will learn about positive teamwork behavior and discover how their own conduct can impact others on a team.

Soft Skill #4: Networking

The activities in this section focus on the process of networking and its relevance and importance to career development. Participants will learn about taking initiative and overcoming fear, informational interviewing, as well as potential guidelines to consider when using social networks, texting, and email for networking purposes.

Soft Skill #5: Problem Solving & Critical Thinking

The activities in this section focus on learning how to solve problems in a variety of ways in the workplace. Participants will hear about how to properly tell the difference among criticism, praise, and feedback and reacting appropriately. The section will also review strategies for making ethical decisions, solving problems on a team with others, and learning how to take into account others’ perceptions when assessing actions or statements in the workplace.

Soft Skill #6: Professionalism

The activities in this section focus on each of the five individual soft skills presented in this publication (communication, enthusiasm/attitude, teamwork, networking, and problem solving/critical thinking), but in a broader framework. This is because professionalism, is not one skill but the blending and integration of a variety of skills.

Additional Materials

Source:  U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy.  http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/youth/softskills/


Resources

For Students

Colleges, Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Grants

For Parents

For Teachers

Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Grants