Summary & Conclusion
The following paragraphs summarize the authors’ main points, which could serve as important lessons for the fields of transition and workforce development, especially in relation to the development of relationships with employers.
Why Employers Host Youth
Several factors motivated this sample of employers to create work-based learning opportunities for youth with disabilities. These factors ranged from chance encounters with school or workforce programs to proactive and sophisticated efforts to recruit and screen youth. Several employers indicated more than one factor that influenced their participation with youth transition and workforce development programs. These include:
What Made it Work for Employers
Some common themes were expressed by the employers:
What it Means for the Field
The following items are a few recommendations—sometimes implied, sometimes directly stated—that these employers suggest for practitioners.
In the long run, it is important to continue to seek out and listen to the voices of employers. What they expressed in this collection of essays is that neither disability nor youth necessarily dissuade employers from hosting work experiences. With improved focus on the employer’s needs, there is good reason to expect improved adult employment outcomes for youth with disabilities. Ultimately, if one of the most important activities of transition and youth development programs is to help youth with disabilities enter the workplace, then it is essential for stakeholders to understand and address the circumstances of those who might provide these opportunities.
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Citation: Luecking, R., Ed. (2004). Essential tools: In their own words: Employer perspectives on youth with disabilities in the workplace. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration, National Center on Secondary Education and Transition.
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This document was published by the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET). NCSET is supported through a cooperative agreement #H326J000005 with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U.S. Department of Education Programs, and no official endorsement should be inferred. The University of Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition are equal opportunity employers and educators.