Center for Workforce Development

Since 1991, the Center for Workforce Development (CWD) has helped public and private sector leaders promote career readiness and successful transitions to adulthood for all youth—with a special focus on youth with disabilities and other disconnected youth—by increasing the capacity of and connections among all stakeholders in the workforce development system. CWD’s research, training, technical assistance, and materials focus on:

  • Assisting educators, workforce development professionals, employers, and policymakers in bridging school and workplace, learning and earning;
  • Establishing standards, assessments, and tools to improve quality, connections, and collaborations;
  • Improving the involvement and relationship of employers to learning and training enterprises and the broader workforce development system;
  • Assisting youth and their families in navigating the road to adulthood, from school to additional education, careers and independent/community living; and
  • Promoting the development of career pathways for youth service professionals.
Major initiatives of the Center for Workforce Development include:
NCWD/Youth logo

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, created in 2001, assists state and local workforce development systems to better serve all youth, including youth with disabilities and other disconnected youth. NCWD/Youth is a national technical assistance center funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

Professional Development Initiative Logo

The Professional Development Initiative, identifies the knowledge, skills and abilities that professionals working directly with youth need to better connect all young people to education, workforce, and independent living opportunities and builds the capacity of these youth service professionals to affect positive outcomes for all youth, including those with disabilities and other disconnected youth.

RAMP logo

The Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP), supported by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention, is a high-tech, career-focused mentoring program for youth with disabilities and youth involved with, or at risk of becoming involved with, the juvenile justice system.

Right Turn logo

The Right Turn Career-Focused Training Initiative serves juvenile offenders, providing comprehensive reentry and transition services, including connection to education, mentoring, soft skill building, workforce development, and violence prevention. Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, five local sites operate Right Turn in different communities.

NCLD/Youth logo

The National Consortium on Leadership and Disability for Youth, helps young people in the disability community grow their leadership capabilities and influence the programs designed to serve their needs.

High School/High Tech logo

The High School/High Tech Program is an effective strategy for improving post-high school outcomes for youth with all types of disabilities. The program is designed to address the full array of needs of transition-age youth with disabilities, including exposure to science, technology, engineering, math, and technology-related careers.

DC AP logo

DC Advocacy Partners is a leadership training program for self-advocates and family members of children with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Participants gain leadership skills and develop positive partnerships with elected officials and school and community leaders. Participants engage in interactive learning and gain valuable information about current issues, services, and policymaking and legislative processes.