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Supporting Career Development for Ontario Youth with Disabilities

A diverse group of Ontario youth service professionals pose with their training certificates.

Supporting Career Development for Ontario Youth with Disabilities

In June, IEL delivered a four-day training on case management and career development of youth with disabilities in Canada. This effort is part of a pilot program designed to test a new cross-system approach to the work. Training participants were case workers and lead staff from three Ontario communities: Sarnia Lambton, Sault Ste. Marie and the Toronto Golden Mile area. The pilot’s overarching goal is to use a collaborative, person-centered case management approach to support the employment goals and aspirations of youth with disabilities.

IEL is providing technical assistance and training to the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services and design teams from the three communities. This means IEL is helping develop a youth transition framework, case worker curriculum, and ongoing case management tools. IEL is also delivering training and providing ongoing support.

IEL based the youth transition and career development strategy on the Guideposts for Success youth transition framework and research on individualized learning plans in the U.S., both of which were developed by the IEL-led National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth. The case management approach was based on lessons learned from IEL’s Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program and Right Turn Career-Focused Transition Initiative.

IEL also adapted its Youth Service Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Initiative training modules for the pilot. Training topics included communication with youth, assessment and individualized planning, family relationships, career preparation and exploration, and employer relations. During the training, participants identified key youth, family, and community resources.

“The training was energetic, resourceful, and extremely valuable,” commented one participant. “The tools were absolutely fantastic,” said another.

For more information about the pilot, visit the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services website.

Interested in doing something like this in your area? Contact Patricia D. Gill at