Communities: Over the past 7 years, RAMP sites have provided individual, group, and peer mentoring to at-risk youth with disabilities at 20 sites in 11 states and the District of Columbia. The current sites work in 11 communities in eight states. To serve the areas of greatest need, IEL/CWD used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey. RAMP sites serve communities with high individual, family, or child poverty rates; high unemployment; incomes well below the national average; high non-diploma rates; or disability rates above the national rate.
Youth Population: RAMP sites provide career-focused mentoring to youth with disabilities. Youth with disabilities have lower educational attainment and employment rates than their non-disabled peers, as well as higher rates of involvement in the juvenile justice system. Therefore, RAMP sites recruit youth with disabilities ages 12 - 17 who are involved in or at risk of involvement in the juvenile justice system. RAMP’s definition of at-risk factors includes: truancy, low grades, low literacy or numeracy skills, discipline or behavioral issues, pregnancy, mental health needs, out-of-school, and any other factor which makes them significantly more likely to drop out of school or become involved in the juvenile justice system. Each site enrolls about 35 youth per year. As youth with autism and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders often have social and behavioral factors that predispose them to court-involvement, there will be two disability-specific sites each focused on one of these areas. Several sites will include youth in foster care, a system where youth with disabilities are overrepresented and that often also overlaps with the juvenile justice system.
Youth Recruitment: RAMP sites work with community partners to identify and engage youth who are the best fit for career-focused mentoring. School partners, including vice principals, counselors, and special education departments, refer students with disabilities who are truant, receive low grades, have low literacy or numeracy levels, exhibit discipline or behavioral issues, are already court-involved, and/or are otherwise at-risk of court-involvement. Juvenile justice partners, including judges, probation or parole officers, and diversion programs, refer youth with disabilities that come through their system. Community-based organizations, including youth programs, faith-based groups, and other service providers, refer their at-risk participants with disabilities who could benefit from career-focused mentoring. Lastly, but most importantly, current RAMP youth often recommend RAMP to their siblings and friends and bring them to weekly sessions.