DOL and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) issue a guidance letter to promote the broader adoption of policies and practices that will build inclusive workplaces for youth and young adults with disabilities.
Youth with disabilities should take advantage of programs authorized by the recently updated Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Significantly, WIOA now provides funding for a variety of youth leadership development activities, including community service and peer-centered activities that encourage civic responsibility and social engagement. In addition, youth service professionals in the workforce development system may take advantage of service learning opportunities in WIOA by referring youth eligible for services in this system.
National and community service programs may also connect to these WIOA-funded activities to promote the availability of service learning opportunities or to recruit higher numbers of disconnected youth, including those with disabilities, into their programs.
Volunteering and Service Learning
CNCS and DOL noted that volunteering often helps youth explore their skills and career interests. This gives them valuable work experience in fields of their choice and teaches them the importance of establishing relationships and networks.
DOL created a guide for youth service professionals interested in helping young people pursue volunteer opportunities. The “Fostering Inclusive Volunteering and Service Learning Guide” explores the benefits of volunteering and offers a framework for youth service professionals to find service opportunities.
In 2014, President Obama launched the Employers of National Service initiative. This initiative connects former AmeriCorps volunteers with leading employers from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. It provides these employers with a pool of dedicated and highly qualified workers that can apply their unique talents and skills to improve their businesses. As part of this effort, CNCS released a toolkit to help AmeriCorps alumni with disabilities find good jobs. The toolkit provides information about government resources, disability-specific networking, and mentoring.