Job Journeys

On November 28, 2011, the Wisconsin Board for People with Disabilities (BPDD) released a request for proposals on a “Let’s Get to Work” project.  According to their RFP, youth with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) experience some of the lowest rates of employment of all student groups, both nationally and in Wisconsin.  A recent Wisconsin study found only 16% of students with I/DD had paid employment outside of facility-based settings as opposed to youth without disabilities in the same communities who experienced a nearly 66% rate of employment.   This low rate continues into adulthood where only 9-14% of people with developmental disabilities participating in Wisconsin’s long-term care system are engaged in community-based, competitive-wage employment.

Students with I/DD include students with autism, intellectual/cognitive disabilities, multiple disabilities and any other student who would qualify for the long term care system as an adult.  For purposes of this project, the students must be ages 15 to 17.

The Let’s Get to Work project is designed to support schools and communities seeking to improve the integrated, community-based employment of youth with I/DD.  By focusing on the assets of schools and communities, elevating community expectations, and expanding opportunities for youth while still in high school, this project will allow up to five schools to use a set of specific strategies that include generous funding and on-the-ground coaching and technical assistance.

Grafton Proposal
A team of Grafton School District staff met with community members to discuss, develop and submit a proposal for the grant.  This collaborative effort resulted in the District receiving word that the proposal was selected!  We have named our program "Job Journeys." We have identified six students to start with.  It is our hope to get these students more fully integrated into our school and the greater Grafton community through paid work and the starting of Grafton chapter of Best Buddies.

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