ODEP - Office of Disability Employment Policy
Disability Employment Policy Resources by Topic
Youth in Transition
Youth Development and Leadership
Youth Development is a process that prepares young people to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood through a coordinated, progressive series of activities and experiences which help them gain skills and competencies. Youth leadership is part of that process. In order to control and direct their own lives based on informed decisions, all youth need the following:
- Mentoring activities designed to establish strong relationships with adults through formal and informal settings
- Peer-to-peer mentoring opportunities
- Exposure to role models in a variety of contexts
- Training in skills such as self-advocacy and conflict resolution
- Exposure to personal leadership and youth development activities, including community service, and
- Opportunities that allow youth to exercise leadership and build self-esteem.
Youth with disabilities also need:
- Mentors and role models including persons with and without disabilities, and
- An understanding of disability history, culture, and disability public policy issues as well as their rights and responsibilities.
Related resources include:
- Cultivating Leadership: Mentoring Youth with Disabilities Fact sheet explaining different types of effective mentoring relationships.
- Paving the Way to Work: A Guide to Career-Focused Mentoring Information for individuals designing mentoring programs for youth, including youth with disabilities, in the transition phase to adulthood.
- The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities Workbook for youth and adults working with them, designed to assist in making informed decisions about whether or not to disclose their disability and how that decision can impact their education, employment, and social lives.
- Advising Youth with Disabilities on Disclosure: Tips for Service Providers Information for service providers to assist in advising youth with disabilities about disclosure in the employment setting.
- Youth Development and Youth Leadership in Programs Brief for administrators and policymakers on using the concepts of youth development and youth leadership in programs that serve all youth and those specifically geared toward youth with disabilities.
- Youth Development and Leadership Quick Reference Guide Guide that explains youth development and leadership components and how they lead to more effective workforce development programs.
- Kids as Self-Advocates (KASA) Youth leadership organization that helps spread helpful, positive information on various issues, including living with disabilities and health care needs, health care transition issues, school and work.
- Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) Nationwide effort to promote career development for students with disabilities through hands-on career exploration.
- Connecting to Success Comprehensive information about e-mentoring as a strategy to promote successful transition for youth with disabilities.
- National Youth Leadership Network Organization of young leaders with disabilities from around the country.
- Career-Focused Mentoring for Youth: The What, Why, and How Fact sheet that introduces mentoring and outlines how it relates to the five Guideposts for Success, ODEP's policy framework for fostering positive transition outcomes for youth with disabilities.