The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL has awarded several new grants to support successful transitions of youth with disabilities to adulthood.
Below are highlights of some of the various projects set to begin:
- The Learning and Working During the Transition to Adulthood Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) -- Awarded to the University of Massachusetts Medical School ($875,000 a year for a period of five years) to develop and share new knowledge about core concepts, interventions, and policies to improve the transition to employment for youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions. Activities will (1) further the evidence base for interventions that build skills and abilities that contribute to lifelong sustainable living wages; (2) explore factors that contribute to successful transitions to employment in vulnerable subgroups of youth and young adults with serious mental health concerns; (3) provide national statistics on how these youths and their vulnerable subgroups are faring in education and employment; and (4) explore barriers and facilitators to accessing legally-mandated services for students with disabilities and Career and Technical Education. Through state of the science knowledge translation processes, the RRTC will speed capacity-building for service providers, the movement of findings into practice and policy, and prepare the future research workforce in this area.
- Minority Youth and Centers for Independent Living (MY-CIL) -- Awarded to Hunter College ($1,293,390 a year for a period of five years in a grant co-funded by ACL's NIDILRR and the Office for Independent Living) for generating and sharing new knowledge that empowers centers for independent living (CILs) to improve transition outcomes of out-of-school youth from minority backgrounds. All research and knowledge translation activities will be developed with input from CILs and other stakeholders. These activities and objectives include a survey of CILs, qualitative interviews with CILs, pilot testing practices and services with CILs, developing and testing a manualized randomized control trial (RCT) intervention designed to improve outcomes for the target population, learning collaboratives, and technical assistance related to outreach, data analysis, collaboration, and other practices that show promise for improving outcomes for out-of-school youth with disabilities from minority backgrounds.
- A Professional Development and Case Management (PDCM) Model for Seamless Transition Planning: Improving Postschool Outcomes -- Awarded to Kent State University ($475,000 a year for a period of five years) in partnership with the State of Ohio to explore a proof of concept for the goal of seamless transition planning for youth identified as having intellectual disabilities, multiple disabilities, traumatic brain injury, and autism who are typically categorized as having cognitive disabilities. Anticipated outcomes include: (a) joint and evidence-based individualized planning by special educators and vocational rehabilitation (VR) providers; (b) seamless transition services between school and postschool; and (c) 30-60% improved postschool outcomes for the participating cohort. The products of this project will include: (a) materials to develop joint professional development for vocational rehabilitation counselors and special educators; (b) materials to coach VR-special education teams in developing joint and evidence-based individualized plans; (c) dissemination materials for diverse transition stakeholders; and (d) proof of the efficacy the model in promoting improved employment outcomes for youth with cognitive disabilities.
- Promoting Entrepreneurship Among Low Income Youth with Disabilities -- Awarded to The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois ($475,000 a year for a period of five years) to develop and conduct formative and summative evaluations of a school-based model intended to promote employment and/or entrepreneurship outcomes among transition-aged minority youth with disabilities from low-income communities. The project will be implemented in collaboration with a school for dropouts called “Youth Connection Charter School” (YCCS) and with the Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS). Expected outcomes include: identification of best practices, supports, and skills, as well as barriers to transition to employment and/or entrepreneurship to be incorporated in the intervention models. The resulting product will be a school-based model intended to promote best practices for promoting employment and/or entrepreneurship outcomes for low-income minority transition-aged youth with disabilities.
Within ACL, NIDILRR works to generate new knowledge and promote its effective use to improve the abilities of individuals with disabilities to perform activities of their choice in the community; and to expand society's capacity to provide full opportunities and accommodations for people with disabilities. NIDILRR conducts its work through grants that support research and development.