News from DAC NW

Youth Transition and Career Mentoring Day

Life is full of transitions, and one of the more remarkable ones occur when we get ready to leave high school and go out in the world as young adults. Ideally everyone during these transition years acquires knowledge and skills to maximize their independence and self-sufficiency in their communities. From a federal perspective it is defined as: “our national policy of ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.”

But when a student has a disability, it is critical that they plan ahead and learn to identify themselves with pride as individuals and members of the very accomplished disability community. This process may involve accessing educational and employment opportunities including career and technical education, obtaining employment related services and supports, finding stable housing, acquiring health insurance coverage, transitioning from pediatric to adult health care, acquiring daily living skills, financial aid and other services to assist in future planning and development towards adulthood.

Youth transition services should be personally defined by the individual – not the agency. Research shows that increased youth engagement leads to positive outcomes.

Sometimes they just need help to be aware of their options and be able to make informed choices. Other things to think about are civil rights, community life, emergency preparedness, available assistive technology, and access to health care. The Affordable Care Act expanded access for youth with disabilities. This is critical as most have a pre-existing condition, frequently change or hold only part-time jobs. And expansion of access to Medicaid can help youth transition to adulthood with chronic health care needs.

Career Mentoring Day is another opportunity for transitioning youth with disabilities to test-drive their dream job. Held November 9th in Moscow, Idaho. This full day includes an orientation breakfast, and an opportunity to job shadow the career of their choice. No one makes these decisions for them, their choices are only limited to what businesses are in the area (for instance, being an astronaut would be a tough career choice to fill). The afternoon is rounded out with workshops covering resume building, mock interviews and guest speakers. Not only does this event help the students, but it also helps dispel fears about hiring people with disabilities in the local business community.
Moscow, Idaho’s Career Mentoring Day will be held November 9th.

 

 


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