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Obama Administration Looks To Improve Transition Outcomes


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In an effort to identify better strategies to help young people with disabilities transition from school to work, a handful of federal agencies are seeking public input.

Starting Monday, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services as well as the Social Security Administration are kicking off a two-week so-called online dialogue.

The agencies are asking policymakers, educators, service providers, families and youth with disabilities themselves to share their thoughts through a Web interface on how to improve transition outcomes.

Federal officials say they hope to learn about regulatory and legislative barriers that young people with disabilities are facing in accessing employment, education, Social Security and health and human services. Ultimately, the input received on the website may help shape future policies and practices, they said.

“We must ensure that our federal programs and resources support our nation’s youths and young adults with disabilities in reaching their dreams of economic empowerment and independence, and we need to hear from many people,” said Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. “Speaking up online can help us identify barriers as well as opportunities that may exist at the federal level and also help us develop solutions.”

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Comments (9 Responses)

  1. Kristy Heglie says:

    Is the dialogue website address available? Also, is there a way to include employers in those invited to comment? For example, I’d like to know what sort of incentives would motivate employers to hire folks that may think and work a bit outside-the-box. For example, would employers make use of ‘Special Skills’ database that allowed for quick, easy access to a quality database of workers with special skills if there were some tax advantages or other financial incentives to help the growing autism population find dignified work that matches their abilities and works within their challenges?

  2. Donna Wittmann says:

    Working in the mental health and Intellectually disabled field, transitional and residential are vital to ensure these young people are able to integrate into the community with supports and be able to achieve “the American dream”. It is not even about having the American Dream, it is about survival or our most vulnerable, but as survival for our communities. With the right training and supports, these young adults can be a vital and contributing citizens in all the communities nationwide. It has proven that with supportive education, employment, and housing, it reduces recidivism, improves symptoms, and it benefits the communities. This population although, vulnerable, with the correct resources, transitional preparations can improve their lives, and contribute to their communities. By grants for these vital services, it is an investment in what America is all about.

  3. Angel M. Sánchez says:

    In order to have good results from school to adult life, the school private or public must begin the vocational curriculum linked with the academics curriculum since fourth grade on. Vocational and academics workshops should should be inserted as a common standars for the benefit of children with special needs. As you know, Mr Obama, children in the school environment are forced to sit, listen, write and math. This is done thinking that all of them will become lawyers and doctors. We all know that the transition from sixth grade into the middle school is the chaos stage the students leave the school. This is the boring-chilling time for them. The children with special needs is confused and the parents are with anxiety. So, waiting for the student to be 16 in order to make the transition from school to adult life is a little too late. The first transition for the students with special needs is from early intervention up to third grade where we there is enough time for a multidisciplinary team could evaluate the students to get a lot of vocational and academics indicators that could lead the students in those traits that they are interested. The teaching – learning transition will be from 4th to 6th grade where vocational and academics classes will be enforced in order to begin defining their interest with more certainty. The third transition will cover 7th – to 9th grade where the student could be moving on into the real world experience vocacional and academically. At this stage the student with special needs still have time to change his/her mind. The fourth transition will be where the student could combine studies with work vocationally or academically to continue post secondary, vocattional, employment or indepent living.

  4. Mary Collins says:

    The link to the online discussion website is:

  5. Peggy Gurney says:

    Kristy Heglie, the website address is linked in the article above. You have to register to use it.

  6. Mark Jetmir says:

    From what I gather, the mark is missed drawing the context to “regulatory and legislative barriers.” The problem, as before now and will continue to be, is a human resource issue. Folks that should not be in the position of “service” be it this or that agency, state, local, federal and nonprofit — to include education (public) — are regularly brought on-board. It isn’t about changing a law, nor shelling out more funds. If you could look at this ‘problem’ through my eyes, this is all so absurd. Do a better job at merit based hiring, that is if the aim is to reach some semblance of common good via the easily talked ‘duty.’ Accountability, is just a word till people give a damn. Tactics holds pointless waste without the only real strategy around; reform. Please stop ducking that context.

  7. Gail Gardner says:

    Do you know if there are any jobs for stuffing envelope’s, my daughter has spina bifida and that is about the jo she can do. Thank You Gail

  8. Whitney says:

    Mark is absolutely correct. It Human Resource problem in the sense of the world all the regulations and laws are pointless if the people in that department feel they don’t have to follow. Right now people with disabilities mental or not are really 3rd class citizens. It all right for non-disabled to be greedy but not so for the disabled.

  9. Julie Sigwart says:

    As a parent with two children diagnosed with ASD I find that transition resources and vocational rehabilitation options are not brought in for discussion soon enough. Highschool Sophomore year they raise the idea but don’t back it up. Parents are often the ones doing the advocating for these types of programs. The school system is reluctant to help due to financial issues. Work force development programs need to be improved and increase the availability to them. Job coaching and job shadowing opportunities need to be expanded to expose our young adults to what opportunities are out there.

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