Category Archives: Employment

Visionary Employers “See the Light”: Disability Hiring

An increasing number of employers are beginning to “see the light” with regards to hiring people with disabilities.

Carol Glazer, President of the National Organization on Disability, has posted an article in the Huffington Post,  Retailers Can Learn From Each Other When it Comes to Disability Hiring, where she highlights the benefits of hiring people with disabilities and how some employers are stepping up.

In a race for talent, companies are now realizing that people with disabilities are a largely untapped pool that, as a result, has seen unemployment rates remain stubbornly high when compared to the general population. So when an employer the size of Starbucks plants a flag and says it is going to make this a priority, others are likely to follow.

Galzer provides examples of how retail giants like Starbucks and Walgreens have created initiatives to hire people with disabilities, whose talents bring extraordinary contributions to the workforce. Continue reading

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Dr. Mary Morningstar: What Does it Take to be College and Career Ready? Improving Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities

Dr. Mary MorningstarDr. Mary Morningstar is the keynote speaker at the Transition pre-conference of the UMTSS* Connections Conference in Layton, Utah June 23 – a three day event of sessions on Leadership, Literacy and Numeracy, Behavior and Positive Behavior Supports, Transition to Career Pathways, Educating English Learners, Special Education, Effective Instruction, Tiered Intervention, Assessment and other topics.

Today’s Transition event will include many topics on preparing students for post secondary education, employment and independent living.

“Dr. Mary E. Morningstar is an associate professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas and Director of the Transition Coalition, which offers online transition professional development and resources for secondary special educators and practitioners. Her research agenda includes evaluating secondary teacher quality and professional development, culturally diverse family involvement in transition planning, and interagency collaboration. She is also examining the impact of inclusive secondary experiences for students with significant disabilities on postschool outcomes. Currently, she is developing a multi-dimensional model of adult life engagement for transition.” (http://specialedu.soe.ku.edu/mary-morningstar)

Watch the Transition Universe Facebook and Twitter feeds for updates on the conference.

*Utah Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

Optimistic Outlook for Job Seekers with Disabilities

According to information in The Huffington Post, the employment situation is looking bright for people with disabilities. The focus was information from Think Beyond the Label, an outreach organization that provides resources to people with disabilities and businesses to better inform everyone of the employment possibilities.

Think Beyond the Label conducted a survey of hundreds of people with disabilities in December, 2014 on job searching.

Think Beyond the Label found that job seekers look for jobs like anyone else–90% use LinkedIn as a job search tool–but desire more targeted outreach and disability-specific job tools to help them find meaningful work. Nine out of 10 respondents say they would use a targeted job board, while three-quarters say they want to network with employers that are actively looking to hire people with disabilities.

Job seekers with disabilities can and want to work.

Businesses should take note. People with disabilities are looking to connect with you. This is the largest and most heterogeneous minority group in the U.S., with a population that ranges in age from birth to late retiree. Baby boomers, often the senior-most people in a company’s workforce, are more likely to incur disability as they age.

Food for thought.  To read more about this survey, seeking jobs, and recruiting people with disabilities, go to these sites:

Huffington Post

Think Beyond the Label survey information

Think Beyond the Label website

Spotlight on Teresa Berden Clarkson, Transition Teacher

Teresa Clarkson has worked as a Transition Teacher and CTE Career Coach.

Teresa Clarkson has worked as a Transition Teacher and CTE Career Coach.

Teresa Berden Clarkson has a well established and admirable career working with students with disabilities.  She first began teaching 20 years ago at a Western Michigan University with student services.  She progressed to St. Clair County Community College – first as a Placement Specialist and then as a Career Counselor, continuing on the Macomb Community College as a Special Services Counselor.   Teresa then took  a detour back to secondary education in Grand County School District in Utah where she works as a Special Educator and CTE Career Coach.   Teresa’s current job responsibilities include counseling students in CTE pathways and Program of Study; surveying CTE graduates; collaborating with secondary, post-secondary, and industry partners; promoting College & Career Readiness Standards; coordinating the Grand County High School Annual Career Fair; advocatingfor CTE scholarship applicants; and assisting with Work-Based Learning Opportunities.

I serve a diverse range of students – exceptional learners, CTE technical students, at-risk populations, and gifted/talented from middle school to college age adults.

When asked what has been the most important development in Transition, Teresa states that,

new online transition assessment tools which allow teachers to gather transition data and compare results from student, teacher, and a parent prospective. The most positive things about working in Transition are when the joy you see on the face of students when they get their first job or get a paid internship position.  Every student should experience the sense of accomplishment for achieving a goal such as graduation or other milestone.

Teresa feels that the biggest challenge in her work with Transition students is often not with students, but with family members.

It is important for students to play an active role in their transition process; therefore, parents often struggle with letting their child set a goal for themselves for the first time.  Parents occasionally need support/coaching on how to help students create realistic, achievable goals.

Continue reading

Iowa School District Implements Unique Transition Program

While many students with disabilities across the country meet the academic requirements to earn their highs school diploma, they so not necessarily meet the goals in their IEPs for transition to adulthood. Yet the regulations set forth in the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) stipulate that a student is not eligible for services under IDEA once a diploma has been earned and issued.  This conundrum has had special educators perplexed, parents frustrated and students confused about next steps.

One Iowa school district has a solution, thanks to a grant for transition to employment.  It has launched a program to aid students with disabilities who have met their graduation requirements but need to continue to work on transition goals.

Dubuque Community Schools soon will begin its new Summit Program for certain students who receive special-education services.

Lori Anderson, transition facilitator with the district, said the new program combines the best aspects of the district’s Lifetime Center and Super Senior programs to help guide students and their families on the path of independent learning, living and working.

Anderson said the district reviewed its career readiness and transition-based programs after receiving a Model Employment Transition Site grant in 2012. The grant’s goal is to increase the number of students with disabilities who successfully transition from school to employment. The review led to the new program.

Students who have met their graduation requirements but have an unmet Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goal or transition need are eligible for the program. They can walk with their classmates at graduation, but they will not receive their diploma until they leave the program.

Read more here.

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.

 

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.