Innovative Transition Age Youth Curriculum Launched by JFK Partners' Colorado Office of Employment First

March 15, 2023

The Colorado Office of Employment First (COEF) and JFK Partners, the University Center for Excellence on Developmental Disabilities at the University of Colorado, is proud to announce a partnership with the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council (CDDC) that launched a new statewide training, “A Brighter Future: Navigating the World of Disability and Employment.”

The partnership with CDDC is a prime example of how agencies can unite innovative ideas with expertise to directly empower youth with disabilities and their families to pursue competitive integrated employment. This collaboration has been integral to amplifying our shared vision. The result is a curriculum designed to educate and empower youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their parents and/or guardians about creating high expectations of employment.

How would you react to receiving a call to prepare for an upcoming Individualized Education Plan, and were told by the professional that your child will not be pursuing employment because of the severity of their disability?

Participation in this training equipped a parent with the tools, resources, and confidence to make employment a priority in advocating for her son’s career goals.

The curriculum design team included one youth with a disability and one parent of a youth with a disability. Their input led to stakeholder engagement to gather insight on curriculum topics, training delivery style, and mentorship opportunities. They shared their experiences and perspectives as it related to each of the modules through video content.

The innovative and new curriculum encompasses six modules that are mirrored across two tracks, one with a youth focus and one with a family focus. The six modules include:

What is Employment First?

  • How does employment fit into the education process?
  • What skills should we focus on to get to employment?
  • How does managing your health impact employment?
  • What services and agencies can help in obtaining employment?
  • How will employment impact Social Security benefits?

Families and youth can attend training virtually or through an on-demand format. Families completing the training will have continued access to all training materials and the opportunity to receive mentorship in any of the six modules.

For more information and partnership opportunities with the Colorado Office of Employment First, please email us at [email protected].

By:

  • Melanie Honsbruch, CPWIC, Curriculum Developer and Trainer in Benefits Counseling, and Colorado DB101 Lead
  • Tiffany Cron, PhD, Curriculum Developer, Person-Centered Thinking Trainer, and Data Lead
  • Vikki Ortiz, MS, CESP, Curriculum Developer, Supported Employment Trainer, and Communications Lead