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DOL Issues Guidance Letter on Serving Youth with Disabilities

July 12, 2011

 

On June 13, the Employment and Training Administration at the Department of Labor issued a Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) to the workforce investment system on increasing enrollment and improving services to youth with disabilities.

The TEGL is intended to offer specific strategies and tools to states, workforce investment boards, youth councils and youth providers within the workforce system to increase the number of youth with disabilities they serve and to support positive education, training and employment outcomes for them.

The guidance letter notes that youth with disabilities experience particularly poor employment and education outcomes. For example, according to the Department of Justice, more than 30 percent of youth in the juvenile justice system have a learning disability. Additionally, the TEGL notes a  decline in the percentage of “exiters” in the WIA Youth program who identified themselves as having a disability.

In response, the guidance letter stresses that it is critical that WIA Youth programs increase their focus on youth with disabilities.
 

The guidance letter describes a set of strategies, along with resources, that can increase effective services to youth with disabilities. These strategies include providing training to front-line staff on working with youth with disabilities; designating a staff person to improve access to and coordinate services; implementing a universal design approach to ensure accessibility, and implementing universal learning strategies; incorporating strength-based assessments and career development plans; providing access to a variety of work experience opportunities; building connections between one-stop career centers and youth service providers; and expanding partnerships to increase services to youth with disabilities.

The TEGL is available at http://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/corr_doc.cfm?DOCN=3037. The ETA also held a
webinar on June 17 to share the guidance and highlight activities in Maryland; slides are available at https://www.workforce3one.org/view/5001103354323464373/info/.

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