Community Conversations: Expanding Employment Opportunities for Youth with Disabilities

We introduce an approach to increase the capacity of communities to improve employment outcomes for youth with disabilities. We held “community conversations” with more than 400 participants across six communities, each focused on generating solutions to support competitive employment. We share findings from analyses collected during and after each event, along with recommendations for applying this methodology to transition and implementing these interventions in communities. By the end of the session, participants will be able to:  (1) Partner with other advocates and stakeholders to host similar events in their own communities; (2) Recommend ideas and resources to improve vocational preparation and employment outcomes based on given strategies related to developing jobs and establishing inclusive workplaces; strengthening school services; and promoting community initiatives to raise widespread awareness; (3) Establish a planning committee of integral community members who could collaborate as a task force aimed at broadening the employment landscape for individuals with disabilities (4) Equip self-advocates with a greater understanding of the skills and experiences needed to enter a competitive employment setting.

Carly Blustein, Jennifer Rowan, Erik Carter