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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition: Creating opportunities for youth with disabilities to achieve successful futures.

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This topic explores how families and professionals can support youth with disabilities through the various stages and components of preparing for, obtaining, and succeeding in professional employment. It reviews strategies and tools for understanding employment-related interests, skills, abilities, and aptitudes; outlines necessary steps for résumé preparation; and provides resources for learning about workplace accommodations.


Employment is key to personal independence, inclusion, self-fulfillment, and self-sufficiency. Individuals with disabilities should have full access to the benefits of employment. Laws such as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 require equal access to employment and program benefits and provide an important first step in making that access a reality. However, despite such legislation and some resulting improvement, employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities are still disappointing compared to outcomes for their peers without disabilities.

Some researchers have identified lack of preparedness as a key factor influencing low employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Misinformation about disabilities and lack of information about the range of workplace accommodations can also influence employment outcomes. Experts highlight the importance of properly preparing secondary students with disabilities to access work and succeed in their careers. Career guidance can improve the employment outcomes of secondary students with disabilities after high school.

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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
Institute on Community Integration
University of Minnesota
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This page was last updated on January 12, 2022.