21 and Able is a United Way of Allegheny County initiative to create a roadmap for youth with disabiLIties who are transitioning out of high school to continue their education, to work, live independently, and participate actively in their communities to the greatest extent possible.
This will be accomplished through 3 major efforts:
-Engaging people throughout Allegheny County and the state to advocate for major changes in federal, state, and local policies and funding.
-Developing an accessible website and communications for youth and their families; creating media efforts to highlight issues and showcase positive community change; engaging policy makers and the general public.
-Demonstrating projects that support transition planning, employment, housing and community inclusion.
Currently, the United Way has 6 pilot projects related to its 21 & Able effort
The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Pennsylvania’s Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN)is currently developing a tool to support youth and their famiLIes to ensure they are reviewing the full range of possibiLIties in transition planning. The checklist empowers youth as self-advocates at their IEP meetings. It includes agencies and medical support information. This project is coordinated with the United Way 211 LIne and website in Western Pennsylvania.
-Check Draft Complete | October 2012
-Taping / Editing Training Video for Pattan website | November 2012
-Pilot with 2-3 Schools (surveys/focus groups) | Begins January 2013
-211 resource navigator hired | December 2012
-211 LIne information populated/training | December-January 2013
-Pilot complete | September 2013
The team will investigate national and international solutions and trends in housing for persons with disabilities. By working in collaboration with local housing agencies, the team will identify the newest financing options available to ensure community inclusion and individual choice.
-Discussion of alternative housing options (ongoing)
-Work with organizations planning to build / developers (ongoing)
-Policy development and support for new models, changes in regulations (January 2013)
Currently developing a plan to design and pilot a software program to support students with disabiLIties to attain High Priority Occupations (HPOs). Youth with disabiLIties generally do not consider such occupations due to lack of exposure or training for these jobs. Using cross-disciplinary teams, we propose to develop a computerized program that will support the existing Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) that woULd recommend modifications or accommodations that could support success in these desirable jobs.
-Preliminary planning started
-Beginning 2013. Identify resources, develop teams.
Employment Preparation and Placement
Working with businesses to increase access to the workforce. This includes a pilot project that would ‘embed’ a full-time (agency) job coach in a local business. This job coach would take a permanent role in the company, continually supporting individuals with disabilities. The embedded team member would provide adaptations and accommodations solutions and review other jobs within the company that are viable opportunities for the individuals they support. In addition, they would act as a disability awareness liaison for team and company education.
-Meeting with potential local employer, December 2013
-Possible launch September 2013
Programmatic Supports Throughout Transition Discussion is in process in Allegheny County, looking at solutions to ensure that youth with disabiLIties can better navigate and more seamlessly gain supports from all the systems they need to engage during their transition process.
-Preliminary meetings started
-Develop broader committee beginning February 2013
Adults with Complex Transitions
The goal of this cross-disability effort is to develop better solutions for youth in transition from high school to adulthood who have the most significant intellectual, medical, physical and/or behavioral challenges. This pilot will begin the work of identifying barriers for these youth and addressing issues to ensure the needs of individuals with complex transitions are being supported in community based programs, housing and supports.
-Community Dialogue, November 2012
-Parent / provider surveys on needs and potential recommendations, January 2013
-Environmental scan of “best practices” and innovative ideas around the country, ongoing
-Report and Recommendations for pilots and policy advocacy, March 2013