The Education Dept. (DoEd) releases a new series of priorities for a $3.5 million special education program that uses career pathways to help youth with disabilities acquire necessary marketable skills and recognized postsecondary credentials.
DoEd’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services’ Rehabilitation Services Admin. (OSERS) is offering State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies a chance to apply for the Program: Demonstration and Training Program: Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities (CFDA Number: 84.235N) (Funding Opportunity Number: ED-GRANTS-080615-001). The competition will distribute $3.5 million in four awards. It can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/omwb8lr (NOFA)
Deadline: Sept. 8.
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.
Specifically, state VR agencies, in partnerships with other entities, can develop and implement a collaborative model project demonstrating promising practices and strategies in the use of career pathways to improve the skills of individuals with disabilities, including youth with disabilities.
Career pathways is an effective workforce development strategy, officials said. For example, three high school seniors with disabilities from North Bend High School in Oregon got help from the school transition specialist and a VR counselor. Students were required to attend a total of 75 hours of class training and complete an additional 80 hours of clinical training after school and weekends at a local assisted living center. These students are now enrolled in Certified Nursing Assistance class.