Dept. of Labor

National Policy Development Center for Preparing Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities for Employment

The Center will expand upon the work of ODEP’s youth policy team’s efforts including the previously funded youth technical assistance center, the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Y). A critical focus of the Center will be supporting the development, implementation, and integration of evidence-based effective practices and policies for improving transition outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities.

Federal Data

Thousands of people experience youth violence every day. Youth violence negatively impacts youth in all communities—urban, suburban, rural, and tribal.

  • Youth violence is common. 1 in 5 high school students reported being bullied on school property in the past year.1
  • Youth violence kills and injuries. Homicide is the third leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24. Each day, approximately 12 young people are victims of homicide and almost 1,400 are treated in emergency departments for nonfatal assault-related injuries.2
  • Youth violence is costly. Youth homicides and nonfatal physical assault-related injuries result in an estimated $18.2 billion annually in combined medical and lost productivity costs alone.ii

The impact of youth violence is not the same for all young people and communities. The rates and types of youth violence vary across communities and across subgroups of youth. These disparities can be attributed to different exposure to risk and protective factors.

  • Disproportionate burden on ethnic and racial minority youth. Homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American youth, the second leading cause of death for Hispanic youth, the third leading cause of death for American Indian/Alaska Native youth, and the fourth leading cause of death among White and Asian/Pacific Islander youth. ii
  • Different patterns for males and females. The youth homicide rate in 2016 was 6 times higher among males than females. ii The prevalence of involvement in physical fights among high school students also was approximately 1.7 times higher for male compared to female students.3 In contrast, female high school students were more likely than their male peers to report being a victim of bullying at school.iii
  • Disproportionate burden on sexual minority youth. Young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender or are questioning their sexual identity (LGBTQ) have a heightened risk for violence. Relative to peers who do not identify as LGBTQ, these youth report experiencing higher levels of verbal and physical violence and associated physical injury across multiple studies.4

Resources

Bureau of Justice Statistics
This bureau at the U.S. Department of Justice collects, analyzes, publishes, and disseminates information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government.

Indicators of School Crime and Safety
The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice publish this report on school crime and student safety each year.

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
NCES is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations. NCES fulfills a Congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports; and review and report on education activities internationally.

National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS)
NVDRS provides states and communities with a clearer understanding of violent deaths to guide local decisions about efforts to prevent violence and track progress over time. NVDRS is the only state-based surveillance (reporting) system that pools data on violent deaths from multiple sources into a usable, anonymous database.

Statistical Briefing Book
This resource enables users to access online information via OJJDP's website to learn more about juvenile crime and victimization.

Uniform Crime Reporting
The FBI collects data on crime in the United States. Each year, the FBI publishes a summary of Crime in the United States, Hate Crime Statistics, special studies, reports, and monographs.

WISQARS
CDC’s WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System) is an interactive, online database that provides fatal and nonfatal injury, violent death, and cost of injury data from a variety of trusted sources.

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System
CDC administers a nationwide survey every two years in public and private high schools so investigators can examine health-related behaviors including fighting, weapon carrying, bullying, dating violence, and sexual violence.


1 Kann et al., 2016
2 CDC, 2016
2 CDC, 2017
2 Institute of Medicine, 2011

A Positive Youth Development Research Agenda

The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs recognizes the importance of Positive Youth Development (PYD) and created a national Research Agenda on PYD that describes the key research domains and questions that could benefit from future research.

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Youth

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010, there were roughly 5.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) living in the U.S., representing approximately 1.7 percent of the total U.S. population.1 This represents an 18 percent increase since the last decennial census. Of this group, more than 2.1 million American Indians and Alaska Natives are under the age of 24.2 This is approximately 42 percent of the total AI/AN population.

  • Nearly half of AI/ANs live on reservations or designated tribal lands in the western states, with the largest populations in Arizona, California, Oklahoma, and New Mexico,3 and 60 percent live in urban communities.
  • The states with the largest proportion of AI/ANs include Alaska with nearly 15 percent of the state population,4 California with 14 percent, and Oklahoma with nearly 10 percent.5

There are 573 federally-recognized tribes in 35 states in the United States.6 Each tribe is distinct, with its own form of self-governance, culture, traditions, language, and community infrastructure. In the state of Alaska there are 229 federally-recognized tribes.7

Sovereignty is a legal word for the authority to self-govern and to protect and foster the health, safety, and welfare of AI/AN peoples within tribal territory. Essentially, tribal sovereignty refers to tribes’ inherent rights to manage their own affairs and to exist as nations. Currently, the 573 sovereign tribal nations (variously called tribes, nations, bands, pueblos, communities, and Native villages) have a political government-to-government relationship with the U.S. government.

Tribal governments exercise jurisdiction over 100 million acres of land, that would make Indian Country the fourth largest state in the nation.8 Tribal governments are an important and unique member of the American family of governments, which includes tribal governments, the U.S. federal government, and the U.S. states. The U.S. Constitution recognizes that tribal nations are sovereign governments.

As members of tribes, AI/AN people have both an ethnic and political status. As governments, tribes exercise substantial governing powers within their territory, including regulating research. Similar to federal and state governments, tribes have sovereign power over their lands, citizens, and related affairs.

As a result of the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the federal government, the federal government is obligated by a responsibility relationship to protect tribal resources. Federal policies are designed to further the trust relationship including offering certain social services such as education and health, and support for tribal services provision. Previous federal policies of forced removal of AI/AN tribes from their traditional homelands, and forced assimilation of AI/AN people into mainstream America have exacerbated some of the social service needs of AI/AN youth.

Although tribes and their governments vary widely, to be a member of a tribe means to share a common bond that may include ancestry, kinship, language, culture, ceremonies, and political authority with other members. AI/AN tribes are working diligently to reverse the negative impacts of poverty, historical and intergenerational trauma, health, education, and justice disparities to ensure the future, health, and well-being of their members.

Resources

Native American Youth 101: Information on the Historical Context and Current Status of Indian Country and Native American Youth (PDF, 10 pages)
This resource provides information on the historical context and current status of Indian country and Native American youth.

The Center for Native American Youth
The Center for Native American Youth was developed to improve the health, safety, and overall well-being of Native American youth through communication, policy development, and advocacy.

The National Congress of American Indians
The National Congress of American Indians provides several channels to support Native youth, including the NCAI Youth Commission, the National Native Youth Cabinet, NDN Spark, and internships and fellowships. In 2011 and 2012 NCAI collaborated with the Department of Justice to host the National Indian Youth Summit.

References

1 American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes in the United States and Puerto Rico: 2010, 2011
2 Native American Youth 101, n.d.
3 Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008
4 U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, race counted as ‘Native American and Alaska Native alone’
5 U.S. Census Bureau, 2012, race counted as ‘Native American and Alaska Native alone or in combination’
6 Bureau of Indian Affairs, 2014
7 U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Affairs, 2016
8 National Congress of American Indians, n.d.

Connecting Partners and Resources to Prepare Youth for Careers: A Federal Partners in Transition Webinar

In November 2015, the Federal Partners in Transition, a workgroup with representatives of several federal agencies, including the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor, and the Social Security Administration, hosted their inaugural joint transition webinar.

Round 1 Pilot Site Announcement

The following is cross-posted from the U.S. Department of Education's blog, published October 29, 2015. See the original blog post here.

We all share the goal of improving education, employment, and other key outcomes for youth, especially those who are disconnected from Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youthwork, school, or other social supports. Today, the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs is pleased to join with the interagency Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth (P3) initiative in announcing nine pilots to improve outcomes for this underserved population. These pilots give state, local, and tribal governments an opportunity to test innovative new strategies to improve such outcomes for low-income disconnected youth ages 14 to 24, including youth who are in foster care, homeless, young parents, involved in the justice system, unemployed, or who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of school.

The idea is simple: P3 gives communities greater flexibility to use the federal dollars they already have more effectively, and they agree to be more accountable for concrete outcomes. This first set of pilots will test flexibility with federal youth-serving funds in diverse environments across America, including urban, rural, and tribal communities. Pilot sites include:

  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Broward County, Florida
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Los Angeles, California
  • The State of Oklahoma
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Southeastern Kentucky, including Bell, Clay, Harlan, Knox, Leslie, Letcher, and Perry Counties
  • Ysleta del Sur Pueblo

Pilots will implement solutions that include, for example, helping low-income moms acquire the skills to become better parents while gaining valuable job experience through childcare internships, helping foster youth successfully transition from high school to college or employment, and intervening with the highest-risk youth before they drop out of high school. In the coming weeks, Federal agencies and these sites will finalize performance agreements that will support the pilot’s work and outline the outcomes these solutions will be measured against.

Led by the Department of Education, P3 brings together six federal agencies including the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Justice as well as the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Institute for Museum and Library Services to help communities address common barriers. For example, practitioners and advocates on the front lines of service delivery have let agencies know that better outcomes are hindered sometimes by programmatic and administrative obstacles, such as fragmented data systems and program stovepipes resulting in poor coordination. P3 pilots can tackle these challenges more effectively by blending together certain federal funds that they already receive from the participating agencies and by acquiring new waivers and flexibility under federal statutes, regulations, and other requirements.

The P3 model emphasizes evidence and learning, both within communities and at a national level. The P3 competition asked sites to match existing evidence of what works with community challenges identified through a needs assessment and to demonstrate how they will use reliable data to guide decision-making and be accountable for better outcomes. All nine pilots responded to the competition’s incentive to rigorously evaluate the impact of at least one component of their on-site approach. Federal agencies will also conduct a national cross-site evaluation of how pilots implement the P3 model, their strategies, challenges, and outcomes. Findings will help strengthen how agencies and the field address disconnected youth needs in the future.

The zipcode a young person is born in should never determine his or her outcomes in life. To help prepare for the second P3 competition, which will be held this winter, the Department of Education has released a Notice of Proposed Priorities on behalf of participating agencies to seek ideas from the field on strengthening this important initiative and empowering communities to think big about reconnecting youth.

>> Click here for the U.S. Department of Education's press release on this announcement.

Update: Performance Partnership Pilots (P3) Notice of Proposed Priorities

Group of YouthIt’s an exciting time for Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth (P3)! The participating federal agencies have two major updates to share with stakeholders on this initiative in partnership with state, local, and tribal governments to improve education, employment, and other key outcomes for low-income youth who are disconnected from work, school, or other social supports.

  • We’re inviting your feedback on how to strengthen our work. On behalf of the six participating agencies, the Department of Education has released a Notice of Proposed Priorities (NPP) that lays out priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for our second round of P3 pilots as well as competitions that may be held in later years. The NPP tries to build on lessons learned in our first round of pilot selection. Because P3 is meant to support states, tribes, and localities in improving outcomes for disconnected youth, we need your input to improve the process for reviewing and selecting pilots. Please provide comments by November 23rd.
  • We’re getting close to announcing the first round of pilots. Participating agencies are currently working to finalize P3 performance agreements with nine sites. We look forward to making an official announcement and sharing more information about the pilots in the coming weeks.

» Click here to learn more about Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth

Children of Incarcerated Parents: Presentations

Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents: Implementing the Model Arrest Policy

On May 15, 2019, the Federal Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the American Institutes for Research hosted the webinar, Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents: Implementing the Model Arrest Policy. This 90-minute live webinar highlighted the Model Arrest Policy implementation and is recommended for law enforcement staff, probation officers, social services staff, youth serving organizations, and researchers. The purpose of this webinar was:

  1. To highlight how a locality has instituted the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) model arrest policy through collaborations (e.g., between non-profit organizations and government agencies) to protect children of arrested parents.
  2. To share the experiences of a youth who has witnessed the arrest of her parent.
  3. To highlight research on the impact a parent’s arrest has on children, especially those who have witnessed the arrest.

Watch the webinar recording:

Download the presentation slides (PDF, 36 pages). 

Download the transcript (PDF, 27 pages).

 

Educators are Critical Partners in Making A Difference in the Lives of Children of Incarcerated Parents

On September 24, 2015, the Federal Interagency Reentry Council (FIRC) Subcommittee on Children of Incarcerated Parents and the American Institutes for Research hosted the webinar, Educators are Critical Partners in Making A Difference in the Lives of Children of Incarcerated Parents. This presentation and Q&A session provided the audience with statistics on the prevalence of children with incarcerated parents, practical tips for addressing the needs of these children and youth, and how to use collaboration, focused assistance, and advocacy to contribute to positive outcomes for children who have an incarcerated parent. Presenters included nationally-recognized experts, educators who are currently addressing the needs of children of incarcerate parents, and a youth whose parent is incarcerated:

  • Ann Adalist-Estrin — Director, National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated
  • David Osher — Vice President and Institute Fellow, American Institutes for Research
  • Dwight Davis — Assistant Principal, Turnaround for Children Partner School
  • Kendall T. — U.S. Dream Academy Graduate
  • Download the speaker biographies (PDF, 5 pages).

Watch the webinar recording:

Download the presentation slides (PDF, 60 pages).

Download the transcript (PDF, 20 pages).

 

» Learn more about Children of Incarcerated Parents at youth.gov/COIP.

» Join the Children of Incarcerated Parents listserv.

Inclusive Internship Programs: A How-to-Guide for Employers

ODEP released a new guide for public and private employers of all sizes to learn about the benefits and logistics of facilitating internship programs that attract all young adults, including those with disabilities.

Qualifications and Attributes Critical to Employers

What are the key competencies and foundational skills for successful workers?

Many skills are necessary for individuals to be successful workers, including academic knowledge, technical expertise, and general, cross-cutting abilities (often called employability skills, soft skills, workforce readiness skills, or career readiness skills) that are necessary for success in all employment levels and sectors.

  1. Applied Knowledge—thoughtful integration of academic knowledge and technical skills, put to practical use in the workplace.
  2. Effective Relationships—interpersonal skills and personal qualities that enable individuals to interact effectively with clients, coworkers, and supervisors.
  3. Workplace Skills—analytical and organizational skills and understandings that employees need to successfully perform work tasks.

Two major research studies involving surveys and feedback from large numbers of employers have established that “employability skills” outrank technical skills—or those skills needed for specific occupations based on industry standards—as the most important requirement for success in the workplace.1 Despite this, a 2007 report found that many young people lack the soft skills needed to excel in the workplace.2

Soft skills are generally defined as personal qualities, not technical, that translate into good job performance such as time-management and interpersonal skills. The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) identified five competencies and three foundational skills and personal qualities needed for successful job performance.

The five competencies follow:

  • Managing resources: The ability to allocate time, money, materials, space, and staff
  • Working with others: The ability to work well with other people; teamwork skills are associated with communication skills, understanding of group culture, and sensitivity to the feelings and opinions of others
  • Managing information: The ability to acquire and evaluate data, organize and maintain files, interpret and communicate ideas and messages, and use technology to process information
  • Understanding systems: The ability to understand social, organizational, and technological systems; monitor and correct performance; and design or improve systems
  • Utilizing technology: The ability to select equipment and tools, apply technology to specific tasks, and maintain and troubleshoot technologies

Three foundational skills are believed to support the competencies above:

  • Basic skills: Reading, writing, arithmetic, and computational skills are essential to effectiveness on the job. Listening and speaking skills that enable accurate interpretations of informational exchanges and mathematics skills that enable workers to solve problems on the job are highly valued and are dependent on having fundamental language and mathematics capability. The “three Rs” are building blocks to higher-level functioning on the job.
  • Thinking skills: Most studies list critical thinking, creative thinking, reasoning, and knowing how to learn new tasks as essential soft skills. “Problem solving” is another term that expresses the ability to analyze information and arrive at logical conclusions that add value to a worker’s efforts.
  • Personal qualities: “Personal qualities” is a catch-all phrase that reflects values and behaviors that are aligned with the culture of the workplace. A strong work ethic, professionalism, self-management, integrity, individual responsibility, networking skills, adaptability, and sociability are soft skills that fall under this heading.3

In 2007, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) asked representatives from businesses that were recognized for their innovative and proactive efforts to recruit, hire, and promote people with disabilities to develop a list of essential skills for young workers. The skills the group identified were similar to those identified as key competencies for successful young workers in the SCANS report. They included networking, enthusiasm, professionalism, communication skills, teamwork, and problem solving.4

How can these skills be developed?

Soft skills can be developed through on-the-job coaching, in the classroom, through youth-serving organizations, and through service-learning and volunteering.

On-the-Job Coaching

Employers can encourage both technical and soft skill development through on-the-job coaching. Examples of on-the-job coaching are internships, apprenticeships, work-study programs, and training experiences where soft skills are learned through experiences. Although learning soft and technical skills on the job provides employees with an authentic learning experience, it can be challenging for employers to identify qualified coaches and allocate the appropriate staff time to ensure a focus on learning and skill development.5

Schools

Schools can prepare youth for the workplace by teaching soft skills or creating classroom environments that mimic work environments.6 These activities can make typical high school courses more relevant to students because almost everyone will work someday. Here are some essential workplace skills that can be taught in schools:

  • Effective oral and written communications: This includes “active” listening (i.e., listening and speaking for clarity), writing business letters and resumes, and understanding email and cell phone etiquette in the workplace.
  • Teamwork: For students who do not learn teamwork through sports, classroom projects assigned to teams of students provide good practice.
  • Diversity training: Schools frequently offer diversity training to students, but not in the context of the workplace. This minor adjustment can prepare youth for work in diverse workforce settings.
  • Professionalism: Classroom teachers can teach nearly any course in a workplace simulation that also prepares students for the culture and nuances of a work environment and the expectations of their employers. This approach could include simulating how to deal with a boss, manage time, and work within a system of incentives.7

ODEP developed a curriculum for youth-serving professionals to assist them in working with in-school and out-of-school youth between the ages of 14 and 21, both with and without disabilities, in the development of employability skills. Soft Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success is a curriculum focused on teaching soft or workforce readiness skills to youth, including youth with disabilities. The basic structure of the program comprises hands-on, engaging activities that focus on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism. The series also includes a soft skills video series with an accompanying discussion guide (PDF, 8 pages).

Youth Programs, Service-Learning, and Volunteering

Just like schools, service-learning projects, youth-serving organizations, and volunteering opportunities can also help foster soft skill development. For example, students who participate in service-learning have been found to develop increased tolerance of diversity and appreciation of other cultures, greater self-knowledge, personal efficacy, teamwork, leadership skills, compassion, selflessness, and intrinsic rewards.8

Resources

Employability Skills Framework
Resources on employability skills for employers, educators, and policymakers from the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education.

Soft Skills to Pay the Bills—Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success
The Office of Disability Employment Policy developed this curriculum focused on teaching soft or workforce readiness skills to youth, including youth with disabilities. The curriculum was created for youth development professionals as an introduction to workplace interpersonal and professional skills. The curriculum targets youth ages 14 to 21 in both in-school and out-of-school environments. The basic structure of the program consists of modular, hands-on, engaging activities that focus on six key skill areas: communication, enthusiasm and attitude, teamwork, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, and professionalism.

The Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) (PDF, 48 pages)
In 1990, the Secretary of Labor appointed a commission to determine the skills that our young people need to succeed in the world of work. The commission’s fundamental purpose was to encourage a high-performance economy characterized by high-skill, high-wage employment. Although the commission completed its work in 1992, its findings and recommendations continue to be a valuable source of information for individuals and organizations involved in education and workforce development.

Teaching the SCANS Competencies (PDF, 120 pages)
This report compiles six articles that give education and training practitioners practical suggestions for applying SCANS in classrooms and the workplace.

Teaching Soft Skills (PDF, 9 pages)
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy provides a resource focused on how schools and employment opportunities can teach soft skills, specifically for students with disabilities.

1 Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, 1992; The Conference Board Corporate, Voices for Working Families, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, & Society for Human Resource Management, 2006
2 America’s Promise Alliance, 2007
3 SCANS, 1992
4 U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, 2011
5 U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, 2010
6 U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, 2010
7 U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, 2010
8 Joseph, Spake, Grantham, & Stone, 2008; Milne, Gabb, & Leihy, 2008