Serving Youth with Disabilities

In this section, workforce development staff will learn about tools and resources to help increase the participation of youth with disabilities in existing career pathway systems and programs.


How can we incorporate an inclusive and integrated approach to service delivery in career pathways programs for youth, especially youth with multiple barriers to employment?

  • Minnesota incorporated the Guideposts for Success framework into their individualized learning plan model. This state used the elements identified in the Guideposts for Success to develop a state-focused guide for the workforce system to help youth with disabilities meet their career goals.

What are some examples of programs to engage youth in paid and unpaid work experiences? And how can workforce staff ensure inclusion of youth with disabilities in work-based learning opportunities?

  • This online toolkit, designed for youth with disabilities pursuing career pathways and the people and organizations that support them, shows the effectiveness of integrated resource teams (IRTs) at the American Job Center. IRTs bring together representatives from different agencies and service systems (both general workforce and disability-specific) and coordinate services to meet the employment needs of an individual with multiple barriers to employment.

What are some ways American Job Centers and WIOA Youth programs can use individual transition plans to drive continuing education and post-secondary education for youth with disabilities?

What are some ways that American Job Centers can integrate financial empowerment activities to motivate youth and help job seekers achieve and retain employment?

  • This online financial toolkit provides job seekers with disabilities, others with multiple barriers to employment, and staff in the workforce system with critical financial tools throughout the stages in the work-life cycle from preparing for a job through retirement.
  • Learn about replicable models established by American Job Centers to provide financial services.


Guideposts for Success 2.0: A Framework for Successful Youth Transition to Adulthood: The Guideposts provide a statement of principles to guide decisions about youth transition policies as well as practice. It also provides guidance on research-based strategies for achieving better outcomes for all young people, including those with disabilities.

Guideposts for Success: Framework for the Future: This framework provides policymakers and administrators with a practical construct that ensures the comprehensive delivery of programs and services across five key domains: School-based preparatory experiences; Career preparation and work-based learning; Youth development and leadership; Connecting activities; and Family engagement.

Minnesota– Incorporating Youth Guideposts for Success: This best practice highlights a guide created by the Minnesota Disability Employment Initiative project to help better support Minnesota’s workforce system to help youth with disabilities meet their career goals.

Apprenticeship Works for You: A Guide for Individuals Exploring Inclusive Career Paths: This guide highlights the benefits and opportunities of inclusive apprenticeship as a career pathway.

Employment Learning Center: This web page provides information on topics related to employment for youth with disabilities. It includes videos and written resources to answer key questions spanning the whole employment process from career planning, understanding available supports, getting and keeping a job, building self-advocacy skills and knowing employment rights.

Guided Group Discovery - Youth Version - Facilitator Guide and Supplemental Slide Deck: This guide is designed to train people to facilitate Guided Group Discovery sessions with youth and/or adults with disabilities, and/or others who experience barriers to employment. By facilitating groups with partners, job seekers can get support from multiple systems and the agencies can leverage each other’s resources.

Your Dream, Your Team: This online toolkit, created by the New York Disability Employment Initiative project, is designed for youth with disabilities pursuing career pathways and the key individuals or organizations that support them. It provides a step-by-step guide on how to convene an integrated resource team and provide resources that support its successful implementation.

Career Pathways: This resource highlights some work-based learning opportunities youth may engage in along a career pathway. Developing strong career pathways for all youth, including youth with disabilities, is a critical activity to ensure a successful transition into adulthood.

Pre-employment Transition Services: This web page provides information on: What is a Student with a Disability? What are the required Pre-employment transition services? What are additional authorized Pre-Employment Transition Services? What is Pre-Employment Transition Coordination? The site includes frequently asked questions on Pre-employment transition services.

Connecticut – Partnering to Support Transition-Aged Youth: This best practice highlights effective partnering between workforce staff and the local public school systems, resulting in innovative coordination to orient youth with disabilities to services of the American Job Center.

A Transition Guide To Postsecondary Education and Employment For Students and Youth with Disabilities: This guide addresses transition planning: opportunities and programs; transition services and requirements; education and employment options for students and youth with disabilities after leaving secondary school. It also includes a sample flow chart of the transition process.

Transition Planning Tips for Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Youth with Disabilities: This resource provides tips on culturally appropriate practices in transition planning.

Secure Your Financial Future - A Toolkit for Individuals with Disabilities: This online toolkit provides job seekers with disabilities and staff in the workforce system with critical financial literacy tools throughout the stages in the work-life cycle to include: Preparing for a job, Starting a job, Maintaining a job, Changing or Losing a job, and Retiring from a job.

Integrating Financial Capability and Asset Building Strategies into the Public Workforce Development System: This brief describes some of the replicable models that American Job Centers have established to provide financial capability services.

Financial Literacy Education Frequently Asked Questions Under WIOA: These frequently asked questions support an increased understanding of the definition of financial literacy under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, who can receive financial literacy services, how financial literacy services may be delivered by the local One-Stop delivery system, and national resources to support local efforts.