Work matters. Most Americans can speak first hand to the numerous benefits that can come from having a good job. Beyond the paycheck and the opportunities having a steady income can make possible, work can bring a sense of accomplishment and build our confidence. For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), work matters for the very same reasons. Talk with almost any middle or high school student about the vision they have for their own futures and you are likely to hear about the great job they hope to get and the money they plan on making. The difference is that the aspirations young people with significant disabilities share in this area so rarely come to fruition. Almost every measure of employment outcomes nationally paints a similar portrait—far too many businesses and communities are missing out on the chance to benefit from the gifts and contributions people with disabilities have ready to share.
Erik Carter, Issue Editor
2015 TASH Conference keynote speaker
Vanderbilt University, Professor in the Department of Special Education
This 2014 issue of TASH Connections, available to the public until December 14th, highlights pathways and perspectives. The articles assembled showcase “community conversations” as way of generating creative solutions for improving employment outcomes, highlight the important role of families in communicating high expectations for employment, describe how students can self-direct their own transition planning, illustrate how postsecondary education programs can promote career development, and answer common concerns employers might have about making their workplaces more inclusive of people with disabilities. Woven throughout the issue of this newsletter are personal reflections from young people with disabilities, educators, and agencies about the value of work. We hope this issue will encourage your ongoing efforts to change the employment landscape in your state, as well as spur new ideas for where you might go next.
The 2015 TASH conference includes more than 20 hours of training on employment – we hope to see you there! View employment sessions here.