YOUTH DEVELOPMENT LEADERSHIP - workforce development programs have youth development and youth leadership (YD/YL) components at their core.Research shows that youth

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  • Effective workforce development programs have youth development andyouth leadership (YD/YL) components attheir core. Research shows that youthwho participate in youth developmentand youth leadership experiences aremore likely to do well in school, beinvolved in their community, and transition positively through adolescenceto adulthood.

    Historically, youth with disabilities havebeen isolated from mainstream youthleadership and youth development programs.Their inclusion will result inincreased self-esteem, development of lifeskills, and decreased involvement in riskybehaviors. It will also result in making theworkforce development system moreinclusive of all youth.

    Youth Development is a processthat prepares all young people,including youth with disabili-ties, to meet the challengesof adolescence and adult-hood by building on theircapabilities and strengths andby addressing a full range ofdevelopmental needs.

    Youth Leadership activities buildskills relevant to young peoples personal development, as well as theirrole within a group. On a personallevel, youth who participate in theseexperiences gain insight into them-selves.This helps them analyze their

    strengths and weaknesses and set personal and vocational goals. On agroup level, youth develop the ability towork with others to create a sharedvision and to draw on the talents, skills,and energy of others.

    Comprehensive youth workforcedevelopment programs includeactivities that address five devel-opmental areas:

    Learning includesdeveloping both basicand applied academiccompetencies and skills.Research indicates thatyouth learn best when they areinvolved in authentic learning environments with opportunities toexplore and with real world application.

    Thriving relates to physical andmental health and overall well-

    being. Effective youth develop-ment activities prepare,support, and assist youth inmaking healthy choices in all

    phases of their lives.

    Connecting relates to the develop-ment of positive social attitudes,skills, and behaviors so that youthfeel a part of programs and theircommunity. Mentoring is an exampleof the type of activity that can contribute to the feeling of connectedness.

    Working relates to occupationaland career skills, attitudes, andbehaviors that are needed for success in the workplace. Employ-ment and work-based activities help youth to validate their self-worth, as well as to explore theirabilities and interests.

    Leading activities and oppor-tunities help youth develop

    positive civic attitudes, skills,and behaviors.Youth need to contribute to their community, school, and

    family in order to develop totheir full potential.

    To serve youth with disabilities effective-ly, generic workforce development programs also need to include informa-tion on self-awareness related to having a disability as well as information on disability history, law, and social policies.Further, these youth need services connecting them to resources withintheir communities if they are to reachtheir maximum potential.

    Youth with disabilities also benefit fromyouth leadership and youth developmentprograms that are specifically targeted tothem. Many good models exist whichfocus on youth with disabilities develop-ing their skills while providing them withintensive support and the opportunity tointeract with their peers.


    Youth who participate in YD/YL experiences are more likely to do well in school, beinvolved in their community, and transition positively through adolescence to adulthood.

    RESOURCESRESOURCESLEARNINGThe Career Academy SupportNetwork at UC Berkeley(

    This website contains resources and toolsfor academic programs based on SmallLearning Communities (SLCs) and CareerAcademies approaches in high schools.

    Jobs for the Future(

    This organization provides information,resources, tools, and research findings ontopics related to youth, including studentengagement, small learning communities,project-based learning, and intermediaries.

    American Youth Policy Forum(AYPF) (

    AYPF gives policymakers and theirsenior aides information andexperiences useful in thedevelopment of an effectiveyouth education, training, andtransition-to-employment sys-tem for the United States.

    National Center on SecondaryEducation and Transition (NCSET)(http://www.ncset. org/default.asp)

    NCSET coordinates national resources,offers technical assistance, and dissemi-nates information related to secondaryeducation and transition for teens with dis-abilities in order to create opportunities forthem to achieve successful futures.

    Family Center on Technology andDisability (

    The Center serves organizations and programs that work with families of children and youth with disabilities, andoffers a range of information and serviceson the subject of assistive technology.

    THRIVINGSubstance Abuse and MentalHealth Services Administration(SAMHSA), US Department ofHealth and Human Services (http://www.

    SAMHSAs website includes information,program activities, resources, and referralsfocusing on substance abuse treatment,mental health services, and substanceabuse prevention.

    YouthInfo (


    YouthInfo provides informationon positive youth development,a calendar of youth-relatedevents, information on funding,

    and links to other sites for youngpeople and for youth professionals.

    Healthy & Ready to Work(

    This website contains information,resources, tools, and connections to healthand transition expertise nationwide.

    CONNECTINGPublic/Private Ventures (PPV)(

    The PPV website contains resources, tools,research, and information on workforcedevelopment, including youth workforcedevelopment programs.

    National Mentoring Center (NMC)(

    NMC offers a training curriculum for developing an effective school-based youthmentoring program.

    The Beach Center On Disability (

    The Center provides resources, tip sheets,research, and other links that addressissues of connectedness to family, friends,and community.

    WORKINGNational Youth EmploymentCoalition (NYEC) (

    NYECs PEPNet (Promising & EffectivePractices Network) provides information onstandards, strategies, and tools for qualityprograms in youth workforce development.

    One-Stop for Promising Practices(

    This organization offers examples of workforce development programs practices,including youth programs.

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  • NotesNotes

    Funded under a grant supported by the Office of Disability Employment Policy of the US Department of Labor, grant # E-9-4-1-0070.The opinions contained inthis publication are those of the grantee/contractor and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Department of Labor. Individuals may produce any part ofthis document. Please credit the source and support of federal funds.To obtain this publication in an alternate format contact the Collaborative.

    The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) is composed of partners with expertise in disability, education,employment, and workforce development issues. NCWD/Youth is housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, DC. The Collaborative is charged with assisting state and local workforce development systems to integrate youth with disabilities into their service strategies.

    At the time of printing, every possible effort was made to compile accurate and up-to-date website information. Internet information changes frequently.



    LEADINGNational Youth LeadershipNetwork (

    This organization is a youth-led networkof youth leaders with disabilities. It is agroup of approximately 300 youth leaderswith diverse disabilities from across the US and its territories (e.g. Guam andPuerto Rico).

    Do Something (

    Do Somethings website containsresources and information on communityprojects to help youth turn ideas intoaction.

    Social Security AdministrationsOffice of Support Programs forYouth with Disabilities(

    This office provides information helpful toyouth with disabilities, their families, theirteachers, and others by providing informa-tion on youth leadership and developmentactivities, transition, and other relatedinformation and links.

    MISCELLANEOUS SITESThe Forum for Youth Investment(the Forum) (

    The Forum promotes a big pictureapproach to planning, research, advocacy,and policy development among the broad range of organizations that helpconstituents and communities invest inchildren, youth, and families.

    Boys and Girls Clubs of America(

    This website contains program descrip-tions of services to promote and enhancethe development of boys and girls up toage 18.

    National Youth DevelopmentInformation Center (NYDIC)(http://www.nydic. org/nydic/)

    NYDICs website contains information on youth development in the areas offunding, research, program development,career development, evaluation, policy,and more. It is a project of the NationalCollaboration for Youth.

    The National 4-H Council(

    This website contains information onyouth leadership and youth developmentprograms for youth with and without disabilities.

    National Dissemination Centerfor Children with Disabilities(

    This national information and referral center provides information on disabilitiesand disability-related issues for families,educators, and other professionals.

    Parent Training and InformationCenters (

    Located in each state, these centers provide training and information to parents of infants, toddlers, children, andyouth with disabilities and to professionalswho work with children.

    RESOURCESRESOURCEScontinued from other side

    NCWD/Youth phone: 877-871-0744 (toll free) 877-871-0665 (TTY toll free)

    website: email:

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