Building Pathways to Adulthood

Embracing Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2024: A Call to Transformative Leadership

By Eddie Koen, President of the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) As we come together on Monday to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., venerated as the focal point of the civil rights movement, it is a time not only to reflect on the profound legacy of Dr. King but also to envision a future where […]

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IEL Builds on Over 3 Decades of Advocacy to Support People and Youth with Disabilities

Pictured above: Youth and adults from IEL’s Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) pose in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial during the 2023 RAMP Annual Meeting. 33 years ago today, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. This legislation enabled people that were, and still are, categorically discriminated against,

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IEL Supports Self-Advocates at Florida Advocacy Summit

 IEL staff joined the Family Café to facilitate the first Florida Advocacy Summit (funded through the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council), which included self-advocates with disabilities, family members, and allies. Together, the attendees created advocacy action plans to address barriers to affordable, accessible housing and transportation for people with disabilities in Florida.   The IEL team designed

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IEL’s 2022 National Community Schools and Family Engagement Conference Reflects, Transforms, and Soars with 3,500 Educators and Practitioners in L.A.

By Eddie Koen  Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining over 3,500 people at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where we came together to share, learn, and inspire one another in the work we do to build leadership around educational equity. For many, it was the first time in almost three years we

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IEL Calls on Leaders to Take an Active Stand for LGBTQIA+ Youth During Pride Month and Beyond

IEL works collaboratively to increase access to education and workforce opportunities, so all children and families can create the lives they want to live. By partnering with community leaders across different ages, experience levels, and sectors, IEL’s fulfills its mission to ensure that all voices—including those of youth, communities of color, and people with disabilities—are

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National Disability Employment Awareness Month Twitter Chat – Oct. 24

IEl’s National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) invites youth, professionals, and families to participate in a National Disability Employment Awareness Month Twitter chat on October 24 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. EDT. This discussion with youth leaders will focus on ways to support youth with disabilities as they make decisions about, prepare for,

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IEL’s Young Offender Work Focuses on Apprenticeship

IEL launched the third wave of its Right Turn Career-Focused Transition Initiative, partnering with community based organizations in five communities around the country, including Houston, Tex., Lansing, Mich., Los Angeles, Calif., Nashville, Tenn., and Phoenix, Ariz. Right Turn provides a career development process to young adults ages 18 to 24 who have been involved with

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IEL Leads Cross-System Training in Canada

In June, IEL delivered a four-day training in Toronto for case workers in a cross-system pilot providing career development to youth with disabilities. Ontario’s Ministry of Community and Social Services is piloting intensive case management with case workers from two agencies—Ontario’s Disability Support Program and Ontario Works—collaborating to support the employment goals and aspirations of

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New Research Briefs on Youth Involved with the Justice System

IEL’s National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth released two new research briefs: Making the Right Turn: A Research Update on Improving Transition Outcomes Among Youth Involved in the Juvenile Corrections System and Making the Right Turn: A Research Update on Prevention and Diversion for Justice Involved Youth. These two briefs synthesize the latest

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Preparing Youth with Disabilities for Work: What School Leaders Need to Know

IEL’s Curtis Richards, with Eve Hill and Regina Klein (with Inclusivity Strategic Consulting), published a policy brief intended to inform school leaders about their responsibilities under recent case law to prepare youth with disabilities for work and careers. It can also be helpful for students, families, vocational rehabilitation and developmental disability agency personnel, and community

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ILP How to Guide 2.0 Released

The IEL-led National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for youth (NCWD/Youth) published Promoting Quality Individualized Learning Plans throughout the Lifespan: A Revised and Updated ILP How to Guide 2.0. The guide provides a combination of practical career development resources and activities for implementing quality ILPs, as well as strategies for gaining buy-in and developing capacity

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RAMP Highlighted by National Mentoring Resource Center

IEL’s Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) is a featured grantee of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Since 2009, RAMP has provided career-focused mentoring to over 2,500 youth with disabilities in 20 communities across the country. In the first seven years, participants achieved these results: 96% stayed in

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NCWD/Youth Video Features Youth Action Council on Transition

The IEL-led National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) released a video about the National Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT). In the video, youth and adults representing the three cohorts who have partnered through the YouthACT initiative share their hopes for youth, their accomplishments, and their perspectives on working together. YouthACT is

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Providing Quality Career Development in Youth Development & Leadership Programs

The IEL-led National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth released a brief aimed at assisting youth development and leadership programs with increasing career development opportunities for youth. The brief describes how organizations can assess the extent to which they currently provide quality career development opportunities and suggests ways to integrate more career development skills-building

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Designing Professional Development for Youth Workforce Development

The IEL-led National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth released a brief that describes strategies and considerations for designing and delivering professional development for youth service professionals at the state and local levels. It highlights strategies, required resources, and lessons learned from three different professional development initiatives led by IEL. The brief informs the

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Right Turn Youth Impact Video: Ricardo Mixin

The Right Turn Career-Focused Transition Initiative (Right Turn) provides a career development process for youth who are involved with or at-risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system. IEL celebrates youth, such as Ricardo Mixon, who exemplify the powerful impact of Right Turn program sites across the country. Right Turn has served over 1500

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SXSWedu Panel: Reaching & Engaging Adult Learners with Mobile Tech

IEL President Johan E. Uvin attended SXSWedu in March. He reflects on the event, which fosters innovation in learning by hosting a diverse and energetic community of stakeholders across a variety of backgrounds in education: “One of my main takeaways was that the place-based strategies underlying IEL’s work align well with the policy and investment

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Preparing for Another Year of Helping Court-Involved Youth Make the Right Turn

IEL’s convened the annual meeting for the second phase of the Right Turn Career-Focused Transition Initiative. Since 2013, the Department of Labor-funded program has yielded an array of powerful outcomes for youth involved with the juvenile justice system through restorative justice projects, record expungement, school retention, job placement, and more. As Year 1 of the

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IEL Celebrates National Mentoring Month

In January, IEL’s Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP), and Right Turn Career-Focused Initiative joined youth and programs around the country in celebrating National Mentoring Month. Youth engaged in relationship-building activities, including game nights, career tours, and movie nights (shout-out to those who saw Hidden Figures and met a female NASA scientist who knew the

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Helping Community Colleges Provide Connecting Activities to Boost Success

The IEL-led National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth released a series of briefs for community colleges: Supporting Student Success through Connecting Activities. Community college leaders are increasingly concerned with finding ways to better support and engage students to improve college completion rates. The series highlights the importance of connecting postsecondary students to services and

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Helping Court Involved Youth Make the Right Turn

Since 2013, IEL’s Right Turn Career-Focused Transition Initiative has yielded an array of positive outcomes for youth involved with the juvenile justice system, from restorative justice projects to school retention and job placements. IEL recently convened the final annual meeting of the first five sites of the program, with an overall theme of justice and

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How Colleges Can Develop Students’ Personal Competencies

Many students, including students with disabilities, enter postsecondary education lacking the personal skills, knowledge, and attributes they need to achieve their education and career goals. To increase student retention, completion, and career readiness, postsecondary institutions need to include youth development and leadership opportunities that help students build personal competencies. The new guide by the IEL-led

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D.C. Youth Workforce Leaders Build Skills and Networks

In July, 14 youth service professionals graduated from the D.C. Youth Workforce Leaders Academy (YWLA), a 10-month professional development program co-led by IEL and the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates. YWLA develops competencies and creates a peer learning community for staff from organizations that provide workforce development services to D.C. youth ages 16 to 24,

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Supporting Families of Students with Disabilities in Postsecondary Education

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) recently released an info brief designed to help staff, faculty, and administrators in postsecondary institutions better understand how engaging families of students with disabilities can make them partners in student success. This brief highlights findings from a national online dialogue on the topic conducted in

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