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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Walmart Foundation Grant to NCIL Supports Transition of Youth with Disabilities

As we recognize National Disability Employment Awareness Month this October, the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) are pleased to announce support from the Walmart Foundation to launch the Disability Mentoring Day Youth Transitions Pipeline that will increase positive employment outcomes for youth with disabilities. AAPD and NCIL will jointly administer the initiative.

The Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) Youth Transitions Pipeline is a one-year initiative funded by the Walmart Foundation that builds off of the ideals of Disability Mentoring Day, a national day of job-shadowing and mentoring held each October, to offer support for youth with disabilities as they transition out of high school and into the workforce or institutions of higher education.

This program is active in three communities across the United States, working closely with a Center for Independent Living (CIL) in each community. The DMD Youth Transitions Pipeline is a multi-tier program that will reach high school students with disabilities through community resources, skill building workshops, peer-to- peer programming, mentoring, job shadowing, internships, and more. 

“The goal is to provide these students with the skills, resources, and networks they need to increase their employment opportunities and outcomes after high school,” said Michael Murray, Chief Operating Officer of AAPD.

The program will culminate with the creation of a Toolkit that will capture the “best practices” of the project components mentioned earlier to serve as a guide for other CILs around the country as they seek to better support transition-age youth.

AAPD and NCIL partners in the Disability Mentoring Day Youth Transitions Pipeline include:

  • Ability360 – Phoenix, AZ: Ability360 (Formerly known as Arizona Bridge to Independent Living) advocates personal responsibility – by, and for, people with disabilities – as a means to independence. To help consumers achieve self-sufficiency, Ability360 offers comprehensive programs including: Independent Living Skills Instruction; Information and Referral; Peer Support; Advocacy; Home Modification; Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Training and Counsel; Outreach to Rehabilitation Centers and Early Intervention for Newly-Disabled Individuals; Reintegration from Nursing Homes; Employment Services; Social Security Work Incentives Consulting; Empowering Youth in Transition; and Socialization through Recreation.

As a partner to the Disability Mentoring Day Youth Transitions Pipeline, Ability360 will engage youth, high schools, members of the community, and businesses in Phoenix to provide programs and services that support youth with disabilities in the transition from high school to the workforce or institutions of higher education.

  • Summit Independent Living Center – Missoula, MT: Summit Independent Living Center, Inc. is a non-profit, non-residential program serving people with mobility, neurological, hearing, visual, and other disabilities. Summit provides consumer and advocacy services to residents of Missoula, Ravalli, Mineral, Lake, Sanders, Flathead, and Lincoln Counties as well as works on a systemic level nationally and across Montana to improve the lives of individuals living with disabilities.

As a partner to the Disability Mentoring Day Youth Transitions Pipeline, Summit Independent Living Center will engage youth, high schools, members of the community, and businesses in Missoula to provide programs and services that support youth with disabilities in the transition from high school to the workforce or institutions of higher education.

  • Tri-County Patriots for Independent Living – Washington, PA: Tri-County Patriots for Independent Living (TRIPIL) is a Center for Independent Living in Washington, PA (right outside of Pittsburgh) that brings together individuals who face common barriers – in equal access, assistive technology, education, employment, housing, and transportation – in order to solve these problems.

As a partner to the Disability Mentoring Day Youth Transitions Pipeline, TRIPIL will engage youth, high schools, members of the community, and businesses in Washington to provide programs and services that support youth with disabilities in the transition from high school to the workforce or institutions of higher education.

  • Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living: The Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) is a national grassroots, nonprofit membership organization consisting of over 260 members from Centers for Independent Living, their satellites and branch offices, statewide independent living councils, other organizations and individuals concerned with the independent living issues of people with disabilities living in rural America.

As a partner to the Disability Mentoring Day Youth Transitions Pipeline, APRIL will provide support and guidance to the CILs, especially those engaging rural areas, on designing and implementing youth transitions services. APRIL will also aid AAPD and NCIL in the development of the best-practices Toolkit.

“NCIL is proud to be partnering with AAPD and Walmart on this important project and we are excited that our member Centers for Independent Living are participating and leading the way” said Kelly Buckland, Executive Director of NCIL. “We are also thrilled that our friends APRIL are joining in this exciting work.”

“This grant is an example of the Walmart Foundation’s commitment to modeling one of our core values – Respect for the Individual,” said Carol May, Program Manager of the Walmart Foundation. “We desire to see communities empower all individuals to reach their full potential.”

The Disability Mentoring Day Youth Transitions Pipeline will conclude at the end of April 2017 with the public release of the youth transitions best-practices Toolkit. AAPD, NCIL, and our partners on this grant are grateful to the Walmart Foundation for supporting this initiative and for their broader commitment to increasing the employment of people with disabilities.

 

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About the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD): AAPD is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities. As a national cross-disability rights organization AAPD advocates for full civil rights for the 50+ million Americans with disabilities. Learn more at www.aapd.com.

About the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL): The National Council on Independent Living is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. NCIL advances independent living and the rights of people with disabilities. NCIL envisions a world in which people with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully. Learn more at www.ncil.org.

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