Expanding their options
The news story “Options limited for special-needs students after graduation” described the challenges facing young people with disabilities after high school graduation. 21 and Able, an initiative of United Way of Allegheny County, creates a roadmap for young adults with disabilities transitioning out of the education and supportive services system to help them work, live independently and actively participate in their communities.
In September, we launched the Career Transition Liaison Project with Allegheny County, Giant Eagle and Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services. A full-time employee was hired to the Giant Eagle team to develop employment plans, identify job opportunities and facilitate success for individuals with disabilities. The first year's goal was to hire 12 employees; Giant Eagle hired 24 young people, most of whom are still employed. We hope to replicate this model across the region.
21 and Able is working on policy solutions. State Rep. Thomas Murt, R-Philadelphia, and 19 colleagues introduced House Bill 2405, which develops connections between local education agencies and private employers to help high school graduates transition to the workforce. Please ask your state representatives for their support.
All people who desire to work should have the opportunity to do so. Young people with disabilities deserve more than a future of isolation and uncertainty. They deserve the opportunity to build and use their skills to make contributions in the workplace and lead independent, fulfilled lives.
The writer is volunteer and initiative chairperson for 21 and Able (21andAble.org).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.