Collaboration - Empowerment - Capacity-building

Welcome to the RAISE e-news letter, designed to identify and share resources that the Rehabilitation Services Administration Parent Training and Information Centers (RSA-PTI) can use and share with families.

Executive Editor: Peg Kinsell

In This Issue

RAISE, the National Resources for Access, Independence, Self-Advocacy and Employment is a user-centered technical assistance center that understands the needs and assets of the RSA-PTIs, coordinates efforts with the TA provided by PTI centers and involves RSA-PTIs as key advisors and partners in all product and service development and delivery.

RAISE is funded by the US Department of Education to provide technical assistance to, and coordination of, the 7 state-level PTI centers (RSA-PTIs). It represents collaboration between SPAN, the Native American Parent Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and the six Regional PTACs.

Find your Parent Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)

It's My Future!

It's My Future! A new app for iPad, is designed to support students and adults with developmental disabilities to become more self-determined and participate in their annual planning meetings. The app provides self-paced videos to enable people with developmental disabilities to learn more about planning and leading their meetings. Eight sections cover topics such as choice making, decision making, goal setting, community living, employment, fun and leisure, and communication skills. Narration, a written outline, and colorful graphics support people to understand more about self-determination and how to become engaged in their planning meetings.

Video Series Highlights the Importance of Work-based Experiences  

"Work Early, Work Often" is a three-part video campaign highlighting the importance of work and work-based experiences in an individual's transition to adulthood. Each storyline focuses on a different subject and narrative, told from the perspective of key audiences that are part of the transition journey. The series was created by The Youth Transitions Collaborative, a community of more than 45 organizations, including the Office of Disability Employment Policy, that share a mission to empower young people with disabilities as they enter adulthood and the world of work.


Learning to Disagree

Did you know that communication skills are ranked FIRST among a job candidate's "must have" skills and qualities, according to a 2010 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers?

Students with disabilities need to LEARN how to DISAGREE (respectfully) as part of transition.  It is a vital aspect of self-advocacy and an important safety skill. Teaching youth these 5 steps can help them keep a disagreement constructive:
  1. Don't take it personally
  2. Don't put down the other person
  3. Use "I" statements to communicate
  4. Listen to the other person's point of view
  5. Stay calm

The "Think-Plan-Do" strategy is simple, but it can be life changing for students with disabilities.

Students can learn:
  • To identify a "goal" (something they really want that is attainable with effort)
  • To get what they want by making a plan and taking action
  • That they are not helplessly dependent on "luck"
  • That they are competent in ways that matter to them
  • That they have power and influence over their own lives
Teaching the "Soft Skills"     
More than 60% of managers say "soft skills" are the most important considerations in evaluating employee performance, according to a Millennial Branding and American Express study.  Soft skills involve attitude, habits, communication, and social abilities.

To check out this new curriculum developed by the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) focused on teaching "soft" or workforce readiness skills to youth, including youth with disabilities, click here>> 
CALENDAR: 12/14     
"EmploymentFirst" Webinar

Learn the history and context of the EmploymentFirst initiative and how it fits into the goals of people with disabilities and their families.

  • Allison Wohl, Executive Director, APSE (Moderator)
  • David Mank, PhD, Director, Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, Indiana University
  • Derek Nord, PhD, Associate Director, Research and Training Center on Community Living, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota
  • David Hoff, Program Director, Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts-Boston

Watch for future webinar sessions: How "EmploymentFirst" is being implemented around the country, legislation, regulations, and executive orders that enable "EmploymentFirst" policies, and how an "EmploymentFirst" initiative fits into the full spectrum of services and supports for people with disabilities.
  Supporting Employers as they Recruit, Hire, Retain and Promote People with Disabilities

This resource guide identifies relevant federal and federally funded resources for employers looking to recruit, hire, retain, and promote people with disabilities. It is designed to answer common questions raised by employers and to identify relevant resources for employers who want additional information on specific topics.

The goal of this guide is to help employers implement commonsense solutions to ensure that people with disabilities, like all Americans, have the opportunity to obtain and succeed in good jobs and careers.


  ODEP Deputy Assistant Secretary Jennifer Sheehy.

Employment First mentoring: A critical priority for the department involves investing in and promoting community-based, integrated employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities. On Dec. 9, the Office of Disability Employment Policy's Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program held its annual orientation meeting for Core State Coordinators at department headquarters.

The EFSLMP fosters the development of a national and state Employment First strategic policy framework, accomplished by knowing what the best employment practices are and translating them into action, training, technical assistance, policy reform, peer-to-peer mentoring, and other ongoing capacity building activities. During the all-day meeting, the more than 60 attendees reflected on accomplishments and brainstormed on further advancing the objectives of the Employment First movement.