Groundbreaking Transition Legislation for Youth with Significant Disabilities Introduced in House
A trio of federal bills, called the Transitioning towards Excellence in Achievement and Mobility (TEAM) legislation , designed to improve transition outcomes of youth with significant disabilities was introduced in Congress in mid-February. The TEAM legislation--which consists of the TEAM-Education Act (H.R. 602), the TEAM-Empowerment Act (H.R. 603), and the TEAM-Employment Act (H.R. 604)--focus on realigning and strengthening federally funded programs to more successfully move youth with significant disabilities toward further education, integrated employment, and community living.
“The TEAM legislative package will help ensure that citizens with disabilities possess the same economic and social freedoms we all enjoy by focusing publicly funded supports on helping youth with disabilities attain desired outcomes, such as higher education, real jobs at real wages, and an opportunity to belong and contribute to one’s community,” said Madeleine Will, Vice President at the National Down Syndrome Society and founder of the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination, which helped create the legislative package. Will has long championed the need to focus federal programs on supporting youth with disabilities to move from school to further education and work, from home to community living. “For decades now the rhetoric from Washington has emphasized employment and self-sufficiency for citizens with disabilities,” Will added. “Now it is time for the reality to match the rhetoric.”
“After more than 30 years of demonstration projects, research efforts and practical experience, transition has landed squarely on the congressional radar screen,” said Curtis Richards, director of the National Collaborative on Workforce & Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) housed at the Institute for Educational leadership with support from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. NCWD/Youth’s work served as a significant foundation for the content of the TEAM Act package. “We know what youth need to make a successful transition,” Richards said. “Now it’s time to align our federal goals, funding streams and programs to meet those needs.”
Click here to learn more about the TEAM Act package.Tammy Hofmeister