New Report: “From Hard Times to Better Times: College Majors, Unemployment, and Earnings”

black-mortarboard-hiThe Washington Post reports that a Georgetown University report demonstrates a correlation between college majors and employment rates.  The report, From Hard Times to Better Times, which is based on research of unemployment rates of recent college graduates in 2011-2012, also demonstrates that college graduates fare better with obtaining employment than those with high school diplomas and no college.

….although the unemployment rate for recent college graduates stood at 7.5 percent in 2012, not all majors gave students an equal chance of finding work. Just 5.1 percent of elementary education majors, 4.8 percent of nursing majors and 4.5 percent of chemistry majors were unemployed after graduating, to take a few specific fields.

The good news for young college graduates is that regardless of their major, they have a much better chance of finding work than their peers who didn’t go to college. Nearly 18 percent of young workers with only a high school diploma were unemployed.

There is an upward employment trend that is reversing the rate of employment for college graduates vs. experienced workers, according to the report.

Recent college graduates are even doing better than experienced workers who only have a diploma, 9.9 percent of whom were out of work.

That’s a change from three decades ago, [Anthony] Carnevale [one of the authors of the report] said, when an experienced worker with a diploma was better off than a young worker with a college degree. That change reflects the increasing importance of technology in the economy and the shift from manufacturing to service.

Read the article here.

Read the Georgetown University report here.

 

“Linking Learning to Life”: Strengthening Transition Skills

A Pennsylvania School District has implemented a program that helps students develop employment and independent living skills.  Partnered with local businesses, the district High School has created an on site classroom that provides simulated experiences and career coaching.

Learning to Life (LLtL) is a two-tier secondary transition designed to aid students in making the progression from the classroom to post-school life. Activities are based on the individual’s needs, ranging from those with mild disabilities to students with more significant needs who require extensive support, and consider his or her strengths, preferences and interests.

“The majority of our services were previously contracted with outside providers,” said DiMarino-Linnen. “They tended to be ‘one size fits all’ and students were oriented to a community that was not their own.”

To address the concerns, LLtL considers the various paths students will take in the months and years after high school. For some, the focus is on independent living; for others, post-secondary competitive employment, trade school or college. Planning begins no later than the first IEP when the student turns 14, with a team which can involve the individual, parents, general and special education personnel and an agency representative. Issues such as course selection and the extended school year (ESY) program are addressed.

Read the article here.

Postsecondary Education Linked to Higher Employment Rates

An increasing number of postsecondary programs for students with intellectual disabilities are being created and implemented across the United States……with evidence of successful outcomes, according to a recent study.

Individuals with intellectual disabilities who attend postsecondary programs are finding greater success in the job market than those who do not pursue further education, a new study suggests.

Graduates of postsecondary programs reported higher rates of employment since completing high school, according to findings published online this month in the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities. The research offers support for a growing number of programs at colleges and universities specifically geared toward young adults with developmental disabilities.

Read the article here.

 

“STEP” Provides College Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

Another college, in Massachussetts, on board with providing transition opportunities for students with disabilities!

The Norton program, known as STEP, serves students with intellectual disabilities who are involved with three programs at Bridgewater [State University], STEP program teacher Ashley Rodrigues said.

While all of the programs are geared toward students with intellectual disabilities, the Transitions at Bridgewater and Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment programs are both designed for high school students between the ages of 18 and 22 who have been unable to pass the MCAS tests, Rodrigues said.

Transitions at Bridgewater offers students weekly workshops covering topics such as money management, social skills, campus and social media safety and interview skills.

The Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment program gives students an opportunity to audit a course and experience college life, including spending time with college students.

Read the article here.

 

Project SEARCH Model Continues to Provide Opportunities

The Project SEARCH model, originally launched in Ohio, continues to grow and provide high school to employment opportunities for students with disabilities.

Jesse Potter worked diligently on a recent morning to disinfect and clean a baby bed inside the University of New Mexico Hospital’s newborn intensive care unit.

Potter, 20, who has Down syndrome, is an intern at the hospital under a new program called Project Search.

Through the job training program – a first-year collaboration between the school district, UNMH and several other partners – students with developmental disabilities work as unpaid interns at the hospital and, if they successfully complete their training, the hospital hires them as full-time employees.

“You can see the pride” in Jesse, said his mother, Julie Potter.

The internship gives her son a sense of purpose and he thinks of it as his college experience, she said.

When Jesse graduated high school in 2013, he joined APS’s transition services, a program that helps students with disabilities transition to life after high school.

It was a scary time, not unlike when Julie Potter first learned Jesse had Down syndrome, she said. She questioned whether Jesse would be able to find a job, much less one that he liked and that filled him with a sense of accomplishment. After learning about Project Search, she rushed to sign up her son.

Read the article here.

More information on Project SEARCH

New Transition Center to Provide Transition Opportunities for High School Students with Disabilities

Three national organizations will merge together to create the National Technical Assistance Center on Improving Transition to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students with Disabilities.  The national program will be housed at UNC Charlotte and will launch January 1, 2015.

The center will be housed in a suite of offices within the university’s College of Education.

Made possible through a $12.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, the new center will absorb two other national organizations: the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities, based at Clemson University; and the National Post-School Outcomes Center at the University of Oregon.

All three universities – in addition to Western Michigan University, the University of Kansas and TransCen Inc., an organization that provides assistance for students with disabilities – will combine research efforts under one roof.

The center will work within special education and vocational rehabilitation systems at the state level to improve the transition process for high school students with disabilities entering college or the workplace.

Rethinking College: The Film

Rethinking College” is a film that promotes providing opportunities for experiencing college for students with disabilities.

Rethinking College is a 25 minute film produced by Think College that explores the growing movement to include students with intellectual disabilities in higher education.

Through the perspectives of parents, educators, advocates, policy leaders, and most importantly, students, this film illustrates how colleges and universities can provide a setting for all students to grow, learn and build toward better futures

Learn more here.

University of Rochester Provides Transition Support

The University of Rochester has implemented a support system to aid students with disabilities to access the college experience.

Transition Opportunities at UR (TOUR) looks to help integrate disabled students into a the college environment. Similar programs have been developed on campuses across the country to promote increased involvement and participation.

The philosophy of the TOUR program is to give students with disabilities additional support and resources that they need to succeed.

“I started to research into how I could help students with disabilities to have the opportunity to have the college experience as a more open and accessible option to them,” Warner School of Education graduate and Director of TOUR Catherine Branch Lewis said. “We all have the opportunity to change the world, and I think anyone and everyone should have the opportunity to benefit from everything that is offered here at the U of R.”

The Warner School is a recipient of the Transition Post-Secondary Program for students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) grant. This is a federally-funded grant that has aided the TOUR program evolve from “an excellent and segregated program to an excellent and inclusive program,” Lewis said.

Read the article here.

Spotlight on Rachel Anderson, Vocational Rehabilitation Transition Specialist

Meet Rachel Anderson,Transition & Supported Employment Coordinator for the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation.  Rachel has been working with people with disabilities 023for 15 years. She began in college working with children with disabilities in an after school program, then moved on to working in residential care with adults with disabilities. After earning her degree in Social Work, Rachel became a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Transition Counselor with the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation, first working in the Salt Lake City School District and then moving into assisting all schools/districts in the state to make the VR connection. 

I have loved, and been extremely passionate about, all of my roles working with people with disabilities. I have always been understanding, accepting and passionate about advocating for vulnerable populations, or those that need help in anyway. I am lucky to have the opportunity to work with transition aged youth in Utah, helping them gain the skills and providing opportunities for them to meet their goals, become independent and be successfully employed.
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Millions Awarded to Help Improve Outcomes of Individuals with Disabilities

Millions of dollars have been earmarked through grants to focus on improving outcomes of students with disabilities, through “research, demonstrations, technical assistance, technology, personnel development and parent-training and information centers”.  Transition initiatives are among the areas to be funded.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) today announced more than $121 million in grants to help improve the outcomes of individuals with disabilities—from cradle through career. The investments are aimed at promoting inclusion, equity and opportunity for all children and adults with disabilities to help ensure their economic self-sufficiency, independent living and full community participation.

“These investments are significant in assisting individuals with disabilities to reach their full potential,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “We want all individuals with disabilities to succeed and these investments symbolize our values and commitment as a nation toward achieving excellence for all.”

Some of the transition funding includes:

Funded at $2.5 million, the National TA Center on Improving Transition to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students with Disabilities (Transition Center)

Funded at $9 million for the next three years, the Job-Driven Vocational Rehabilitation TA Center (JDVRTAC) at the University of Massachusetts-Boston

Funded at $875,000, TransCen, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving educational and employment outcomes

Read more here.