Register for webinar on Serving Out-of-School Youth for VR Professionals: Outreach, Engagement, and Support

Young man working at a mechanic workshop class

Thursday, February 28, 2019

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

This webinar is designed to help vocational rehabilitation (VR) professionals better understand the composition of the out-of-school youth (OSY) population, what kinds of services are effective, and what programs and networks are available to support positive employment outcomes. Presenters will review evidence-based programming for OSY, describe national networks and initiatives, and suggest some ways to translate and apply this information to local VR practice. A local-level practitioner will walk through how OSY-focused programming can benefit youth with disabilities, through the lens of a young man’s journey through the program.

Register here

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  1. Understand key characteristics of the out-of-school youth (OSY) population and what works in serving OSY;
  2. Learn from a nationally-known program about its methods for serving OSY, including OSY  with disabilities;
  3. Learn how to tailor programs and services for OSY;
  4. Identify key referral partners for other services that OSY may need; and
  5. Identify strategies for more effectively serving OSY.


Thomas Showalter, is an expert on education, workforce policy and related areas (disability, juvenile justice, and antipoverty programs), as well as Congressional politics and processes. As the executive director of the National Youth Employment Coalition, Thomas sets the organization’s direction and strategy, builds the capacity of NYEC members, and advocates for the interests of opportunity youth. Before coming to NYEC, Thomas advised advocacy organizations and foundations on communications and strategic planning at The Hatcher Group. He also spent almost five years on the majority staff of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, working for Chairmen Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA). With the committee, he contributed to the passage of several pieces of legislation, including the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, and was a negotiator on proposed reauthorizations of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and Workforce Investment Act.

Kate O’Sullivan, is an independent consultant who helps organizations develop, deliver, support, assess, and improve workforce development programs. She has over 20 years of experience in connecting youth and adults to employment and education. Her clients have included private funders, public agencies, researchers, and national and local networks. Currently she serves as a senior advisor to the National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC). She supports Y-TAC in helping VR professionals partner with workforce agencies and enhance skills for serving youth.  She also works with the Greater Washington Community Foundation, assisting organizations as they develop sectoral workforce development partnerships with employers.

Sharlet Barnett, is the Executive Director of Arizona Center for Youth Resources (ACYR). Prior to her appointment she served as ACYR’s career advisor, program manager and director of workforce development from March 2001 to March 2014. She has worked directly with young people, youth professionals, and community groups since 1996. Sharlet leads a staff of 50 dedicated and highly qualified professionals who provide training opportunities and support to over 1,500 young people each year in the City of Phoenix and greater Maricopa County. She is involved in advocacy for youth and creating and organizing youth programs. She is engaged with employers and local colleges in creating training options which result in job opportunities for youth. Sharlet is also a trained facilitator in the ICA Technology of Participation methods and has been a Certified Workforce Development Professional since 2003. She is currently a member of the Maricopa County Streets of Success Community Advisory Board and has served as a member of the Arizona Workforce Advisory Task Force.

Kim Osmani, is a Technical Assistance Liaison for the Y-TAC through her role as an Extension Associate at Cornell University. Kim has extensive experience in working with youth with disabilities–first as a special education teacher for 10 years, then as an Associate State Director of Special Education Services at the Oklahoma State Department of Education, and finally as the Statewide Transition Coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. She holds two master’s degrees—in special education and educational administration, and is currently working toward her doctorate in special education–transition. Kim Chairs the Oklahoma Transition Council, is Secretary for Oklahoma’s Chapter of the Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT), is Chair of the CEC-DCDT Policy and Advocacy Committee, and is Past President of the National Rehabilitation Association Transition Specialties Division.