Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)
NYEC is a partner in the Youth Technical Assistance Center (Y-TAC). Y-TAC focuses on helping vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies improve services for out-of-school youth with disabilities. Through Y-TAC, NYEC works to raise the quality of services delivered to young people. First, NYEC leads a process to update trainings being delivered to VR staff around the country. The trainings, based on the Institute for Educational Leadership’s YSP/KSA competencies, were originally developed 15 years ago to complement NYEC’s PEPNet standards. A second updated training module will be delivered in Virginia in December 2018. Second, NYEC has developed a series of toolkits to introduce VR staff to best practices in serving out-of-school youth and partner with other youth-serving agencies. The toolkits, which will soon be public, are bolstered by extensive case studies from across a dozen states.
Undocumented Young People
Young people without right-to-work documentation face unusual barriers to employment in the formal economy, further marginalizing them from American life. This problem is especially acute for young people who are not eligible for temporary protection under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Supporting the transition to adulthood for these young people often requires creating unusual partnerships that integrate education, workforce-development, and legal services, while meeting the needs of young people and their families to make money. NYEC is uncovering and sharing emerging practices for serving undocumented young people not eligible for DACA, and identifying comprehensive policy solutions that will expand services to these young people. On Sept. 12-13, 2018, NYEC, with the support of the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality, convened a working session of California-based practitioners in Stockton. A final report on this work will be released in 2018. NYEC seeks to continue offering follow-up support to these practitioners.
Justice-Involved Young People
For young adults who contact the juvenile- or criminal-justice system, lack of access to education, job training, and work experience is often a barrier to their successful transition to self-sufficiency. Young adults who were sentenced to out-of-home placements face even bigger barriers to employment. With the Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (YAP), and the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF), NYEC is in the second year of identifying paths to collaboration between juvenile-justice and workforce-development agencies. In 2017 NYEC and YAP released New Funds for Work: Connecting Systems for Justice-Involved Young People, documenting best practices and initial recommendations. We are currently piloting an approach of working with local agencies to arrive at commitments to action modeled on the 2017 report. On October 17, 2018, NYEC, YAP, AECF, and the local workforce development board convened local leaders in Camden County, New Jersey, to chart a better path for young people from the county who have been sentenced to out-of-home placements. In 2018 and 2019 NYEC seeks to release updated findings from this convening and translate the experiences of this project into a template for other jurisdictions to apply in their local context.