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LEAD Center Staff Travel to Chicago for NAWDP Youth Summit

September 30, 2014

Rebecca Salon and Elizabeth Jennings, the LEAD Center’s Project Director and Assistant Project Director respectively, presented at the National Association of Workforce Professionals (NAWDP) Youth Summit in Chicago on September 22nd and 23rd.

More than 130 workforce professionals attended the LEAD Center’s session entitled, “Effective Assessment to Promote Job Matching and Retention.” Job retention for youth continues to challenge workforce professionals, their partners and youth themselves. So much of job retention hinges on finding a position that matches a person’s interests, preferences and skills with the needs of an employer. Salon and Jennings provided information on best practices, gleaned from work with people who face significant barriers to employment, which can be further applied to all job seekers. Specifically, they discussed customized employment and the use of discovery as a universal approach to assessment and job development promoted by the U.S. Department of Labor and its Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)

In addition, Salon and Jennings discussed the value of conducting informational interviews with employers, which may lead to customized job descriptions that more closely align with the individual job seeker’s skills and the employer’s needs. The session also included a discussion of other universal design approaches that can make workforce system services at American Job Centers (AJC) more accessible and user-friendly for all, as is required under the recently passed Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. View the slides from this presentation.

Further, Salon and Jennings led a “thought leader” session for participants at the Youth Summit on “Strategies and Barriers to Successfully Serving Youth with Disabilities in the Workforce System,” which the LEAD Center will use to guide future training and technical assistance in AJCs. The discussion was co-led by colleagues from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth), who shared information about the many resources they provide to support employment outcomes for youth.