What School Leaders Need to Know, a new policy brief just issued by the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL), provides important information about the changing legal landscape affecting the preparation of youth with disabilities for work.
Too many youth with disabilities have been employed at subminimum wages as well as placed in segregated sheltered workshops while in school, often leading to job placements in the same sheltered adult workplaces after graduation. These youth were not given the opportunity to participate in mentorships, paid work experiences, and internships all of which could help prepare them for competitive, integrated employment.
As a result of Supreme Court decisions and legal changes to the enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), state and local governments could be held liable if students with disabilities face unnecessary segregation as they prepare for postschool employment. States and local governments must now take affirmative steps to ensure that students with disabilities have opportunities to make informed choices, have access to individualized job transition services, and have the necessary supports after leaving school. Families, vocational rehabilitation and developmental disability agency personnel, and community rehabilitation providers can help ensure these policies are implemented.
“Across the board, we need to modernize our educational and workforce policies and practices,” Uvin continued. “We need to build strong community supports and services to eradicate these serious inequities that keep people with disabilities from achieving their dreams of competitive employment and full community integration.”
Read the policy brief in English or Spanish as well as technical assistance guidance developed by the U.S. Department of Justice under the Obama Administration that was withdrawn in late December 2017 by the Trump Administration. While the guidance was withdrawn, the body of case law still stands. Later in 2018, IEL will be issuing a detailed guide to implementing these legal changes that will be helpful to school leaders, vocational rehabilitation professionals, youth service professionals, and families and youth themselves.