Utah School to Work Interagency Transition Initiative

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Abstract
The Utah School to Work Interagency Transition Initiative (USWITI) includes a base consortium of representatives from the Utah Developmental Disabilities Council (UDDC) Utah State Board of Education-Special Education Services (USBE-SES), the Division of Services for People with Disabilities (DSPD), Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (USOR), Department of Workforce Services (DWS), Utah State Universitys Center for Persons with Disabilities (UCEDD), Utah Parent Center ,the Governors Committee on Employment for People with Disabilities and Utah ASPIRE. In addition to the consortium, representatives of individuals with disabilities and family members were also included in the preparation of this proposal. This project will strengthen the existing council and build local councils across the state of diverse stakeholders supporting youth and young adults with disabilities.
The purpose of the project is to improve systems so Utah youth and young adults with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) are engaged in competitive, integrated employment regardless of where they live in the state. The USBE-SES survey of youth with disabilities one year after the exiting the public school system in 2013-2014 indicates that 10% of the survey respondents are under-engaged in either postsecondary employment or education and another 40% have never been engaged in either postsecondary employment or education during the preceding year; 60% of the respondents indicated that disability issues have prevented working. The rate of under-engaged and never engaged youth has been consistent, 3%, over the past five years. Of the 4610 working-age youth and adults accessing the Medicaid HCBS/ID/DD waiver, which is the primary source of supports and services for adults with ID/DD, only 28% have active supported employment services, yet according to the National Core Indicator survey results for Utah (2013/2014) indicated that 62% of all working age adults with ID/DD wanted a job. This demonstrates a strong indication of the need to shift policy, practice, messaging and funding to include youth and young adults with ID/DD in Utahs workforce
Energy for a statewide initiative to improve employment preparation, development and support services for youth and adults with DD/ID has been building since 2000. Utah currently has five major employment initiatives; these are all designed to improve employment outcomes for working-age youth and adults with disabilities. Each project supports the overall systemic change efforts; however targeted resources and technical assistance to local communities throughout Utah to youth and young adults with ID/DD, their families, educators, adult service agencies and community members are needed for permanent, grassroots level change.
The Utah School to Work Interagency Transition Initiative addresses the following objectives:
1) Confirm and engage Utah School to Work Interagency Transition council (USWITC), 2) Develop and implement outcome measurement system to gauge employment success for consistent systems and process improvement, 3)Increase ongoing delivery of career planning, development, employment and support services that begin early in high school that lead to individualized long-term employment and seamless support, 4) Build capacity of service providers to align their mission, services, and resources to promote and provide competitive employment for youth with ID/DD, 5) Increase expectations and demand for competitive, integrated employment opportunities for youth with ID/DD, and 6)Align policies, practices and funding with employment expectations.