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j. 1. E. Who are youth with disabilities and students with disabilities, including, as appropriate, their need for pre-employment transition services or other transition services.

Current Narrative:

The percentage of Idahoans who experience disability varies significantly by age. While this variance can be attributed to several factors, in general this rate increases over time with substantial increases both early in life as congenital disabilities are initially identified, and later in life as disabilities are acquired through events or emerge due to the natural aging process. While 8.9 percent of Idahoans age 18-34 disability compared to 13.6 percent for those age 35-64, and 24.6 percent of those age 65-74.

Idaho has a higher percentage of workers age 24 and younger than the nation as a whole, this is historically reflected in the percentage of transition age youth served by IDVR. Students and youth under 25 represented 41.44 percent of IDVR cases in PY 2020. 

IDVR’s 2019/2020 CSNA noted several major recurring themes relating to Pre-ETS and Youth needs:

  • Overall, IDVR has successfully implemented pre-employment transition services and has increased opportunities for youth with disabilities to prepare for meaningful employment. Work-based learning experiences have been a particular strength of pre-employment transition services developed through contracts across the state.
  • Although the implementation of pre-employment transition services has been successful, IDVR will need to monitor the increasing demands of students, educators and families across the State to ensure that there are adequate resources available to meet the demand.
  • IDVR has implemented services to meet the needs of students with the most significant disabilities. Youth with less significant disabilities (e.g., specific learning disabilities) need to have access to IDVR services, with varying levels of support to meet their specific needs.  These include disability related services, training and educational opportunities and support, work readiness and job exploration skills.
  • A growing number of relationships with educators have been established resulting in increased access to IDVR and other workforce system partners for students and youth. However, a continued lack of understanding and support by parents persists, indicating a need for IDVR to increase direct communication with parents and families of students and youth with disabilities.

One of Idaho’s priorities is to collaborate across agencies to increase student participation in services and education that prepare them to participate in their career pathway. To address this priority IDVR understands the importance of increasing the communication with parents and families to understand youth and students with disabilities and their need for pre-employment transition services and other transition services. The Division is addressing these needs through multiple avenues:

First, IDVR worked with Idaho Parent Unlimited (IPUL), our parent center, to develop a student/family survey to determine the needs of students and youth. This survey is currently being disseminated by the Idaho State Department of Education, IPUL, and IDVR. The survey results will provide both information on the direction of services as well as a collection point for contact information of families of students and youth with disabilities for outreach purposes.

IDVR has also addressed the need to increase communication by including parents and families in Idaho’s multi-agency statewide Transition Institute. Having parents and/or family members in LEA transition planning will allow parents greater input into the transition planning process. It will also provide information to families on the unique services available to both students and youth. 

Lastly, is the Division’s focus to dedicated transition staff via the new ATC and Pre-ETS Counselor positions. The number one priority for Area Transition Counselors and Pre-ETS-Counselors is to provide more outreach to LEAs, higher education, and other youth services. This outreach has led to LEAs having a better understanding of Pre-ETS and vocational rehabilitation. The LEAs have used their increased knowledge to better educate families which impacts participation rates in services. We have already seen that these outreach efforts have led to a significant increase in the number of programs that are available to students, and most importantly in rural communities that have been more difficult to serve. Due to the confidentiality requirements of IDEA, the Division’s best approach to connect with students and youth is through the LEAs who are aware of service needs and are best suited to provide appropriate referral. The Division has worked to increase our presence through these positions focused solely on Pre-ETS and similar services to youth.

Transition-age Youth Survey: Three Most Important Services for Obtaining and Keeping Desired Job

Respondents were provided a list of IDVR services and asked to identify the three most important services they needed to help obtain and keep the job they desired. There was no limit to the number of services respondents could choose. Table VR.7 summarizes the results.

 NumberPercent of Total
Help finding a job15650.6%
College education11637.7%
Help with employment preparation activities e.g. resume, application10333.4%
Support on the job like a job coach10233.1%
Vocational training8627.9%
Affordable housing5317.2%
Mental health counseling3511.4%
Assistive technology196.2%

Help finding a job, college education, and transportation were the most frequently selected items in response to the question regarding the three most important services needed to obtain and keep a desired job by transition-age survey respondents. When compared to the previous question, note that results are different college education is the top item, help finding a job ranked fourth, and transportation is in the sixth position in the table above.

Transition-age survey respondents were asked an open-ended question regarding any other comments about the services that would help to prepare for, obtain and retain employment. Seventy-nine narrative responses were received. Three comments were positive in regard to IDVR transition services and seventeen were critical of services.

The following recommendations from IDVR’s 2019/2020 CSNA related to the needs of youth with disabilities in transition:

  1. IDVR is encouraged to continue efforts to identify needs and programs for implementing pre-employment transition services. The agency should consider adding some tiered approaches that will enhance the delivery of pre-employment transition services to students with disabilities that have differing functional capacities.  In addition, IDVR is encouraged to develop strategies, either through direct or contracted services, to increase the delivery of pre-employment transition services to all areas of the State.
  2. IDVR is encouraged to focus outreach efforts to students and youth with disabilities that are not traditionally known to IDVR through collaboration with special education services. The agency should consider increasing marketing and outreach to mainstream educators, 504 coordinators, school counselors, school nurses, and pediatric medical providers in the community. As outreach results in increased referrals and applications by these populations, IDVR is encouraged to tailor services to meet the diverse needs of these individuals.
  3. IDVR is encouraged to increase marketing, communication and expectations directed toward parents and families of youth with disabilities.
  4. IDVR should consider assessing the availability of IDVR services and making them more accessible across the state, particularly in the remote areas of high concern for youth.

The Division will continue to increase our efforts to deliver services to students with disabilities in response to WIOA mandates. The Division’s proposed activities to address Pre-ETS and youth is detailed in section ‘o’ of this plan.