In May, Y-TAC team members spent several days in beautiful Lake Placid, New York with a passionate group of professionals and organizations dedicated to the competitive integrated employment outcomes for individuals with significant disabilities. We attended and presented at the annual New York State APSE Employment First Training Institute with over 400 attendees from a variety of state agencies, community rehabilitation providers, and other professionals from schools and higher education.
The keynote from a Dale Carnegie trainer was motivating and engaging and left us thinking about one of her statements, “Be better and do better than you were the day before.” This hit home with us and how we could apply that to working with out-of-school youth (OSY). Let’s make sure we do everything we can in our interactions, supports, and delivery of services to ensure we leave our youth better than they were the day before.
Conference sessions ranged from those sharing how state agencies and organizations are collaborating to provide supports to individuals with significant disabilities to others highlighting New York graduation requirements, existing partnerships, and ethics related to youth services. In addition, the Y-TAC team provided an engaging session on Maximizing Connections for Youth in Employment. With a room full of providers, state agency staff, and other partners (over 46 in attendance), our team shared information about in-school-youth (ISY) and OSY, Customized Employment (CE), peer mentoring, and the Guideposts to Success. We teased out the eight top essential elements of CE we believed to be critical for effectively serving OSY and facilitated participants choosing the elements they found to be their favorite, the most important, and the most challenging. What was interesting during this activity was hearing similarities and differences even among the same elements. We look forward to working more in-depth in the state of New York to draw out of participants the ideas and strategies they have for implementing aspects of the essential elements within their work.
Through our observations, it became evident the focus and efforts NYS has been putting into place to work with youth in gaining competitive integrated employment. Interactions and conversations with employment service providers conveyed their interest in and enthusiasm about serving youth.
Merely being surrounded by such positive and passionate professionals is infectious and affirms the work we do through Y-TAC and in vocational rehabilitation in general.