Improving the Trajectories for Youth with Disabilities and Family Living in Poverty: Systems Change in 11 PROMISE States

May 3, 2019

Last month, the 'Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income or (PROMISE) Project hosted an event at the National Press Club to disseminate project findings and outcomes, and celebrate the close-out of a successful five-year, $211 million-dollar project. The U.S. Department of Education, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Social Security Administration, funded PROMISE's six model demonstration projects to improve the education and career outcomes of low-income children with disabilities receiving SSI and their families. A team of AUCD staff and evaluators from University of Minnesota's UCEDD, the Institute on Community Integration, comprised the PROMISE Technical Assistance (TA) Center.

Johnny Collett, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the United States Department of Education, and John Tschida, Co-Director of the PROMISE TA Center and Associate Executive Director at AUCD, provided opening remarks, with both emphasizing the importance and success of the PROMISE Project. Three presentations by project directors and evaluators followed, covering topics including accomplishments and challenges of implementing the PROMISE interventions, systems change and inter-agency collaboration in the provision of services, and recommendations for future federal, state, and local policy or programs developed to target youth receiving SSI and their families.

While the presentations primarily covered preliminary findings and lessons learned, a number of PROMISE focused journal articles are in the works, and a special PROMISE edition of the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation is forthcoming, providing further information on PROMISE findings. Mathematica Policy Research has also already published a series of articles on PROMISE evaluation design, process analysis reports for each PROMISE project, and a few special topic reports.

Overall, the event was a success, and the PROMISE TA Center applauds the incredible accomplishments of the six projects, and their efforts in improving the lives of youth with disabilities on SSI. There were about 80 people in attendance at the National Press Club, with representation at the local, federal, and state level. Attendees included staff from the White House Office of Management and Budget and multiple federal departments, state-level employees working in poverty and disability, members of the disability community, and staff representing prominent disability organizations. The event was also live-streamed, with over 100 people tuning in live, and a total of 500 viewers as of the writing of this article. To watch the event, click me[i]  

As it was the National Press Club, we did have a reporter who joined us from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. His coverage of the event can be read at

For more information about the PROMISE Project, please visit:


[i] Please note that the presentation starts around the 20:00 mark and due to some technical difficulties, captions are not fully available for the first few minutes.