Oct 24, 2011    #181
Contact: Danielle Underwood

UMKC and state agency consortium awarded $2.19 million to bolster employment opportunities for youth with disabilities

UMKC Institute for Human Development's Transition-to-Employment Collaborative receives a 'Project of National Significance' by Federal Administration on Developmental Disabilities

KANSAS CITY, MO. -- As one of six projects awarded nationwide, a consortium led by the UMKC Institute for Human Development (IHD) will receive $2.19 million to strengthen existing partnerships and state systems working toward improved employment outcomes for youth and young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

The project, Show Me Careers: Missouri's Transition-to-Employment Collaborative, will scale up evidence-based practices in Missouri that support seamless transitions from educational settings to community-based and integrated employment for persons with disabilities.

The leadership consortium will focus its efforts on improving outcomes for youth and young adults, ages 16-30, while promoting change at the systems, community, and individual levels. Members include: UMKC Institute for Human Development, Missouri Department of Mental Health, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Missouri Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities (MPC), Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of Adult Learning and Rehabilitation Services (Missouri VR), Office of Special Education, and People First of Missouri.

"Missouri needs a collaborative effort focused on helping communities and organizations make sense of different opportunities related to transition to employment," said Tom McVeigh, Associate Director of the UMKC Institute for Human Development and principal investigator of the Show Me Careers project. "We need to put in place some systematic ways to coordinate our efforts, track progress, and scale up those methods that produce the strongest integrated employment outcomes. This project promises to address these needs and fill them."

At the Missouri Department of Mental Health, Bernard Simons, Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities said, "Moving from the education system to employment is a difficult process for many youth and young adults with developmental disabilities. This project will help to bridge this very important transition by bringing the best ideas, as well as resources, to those local communities seeking to make transitioning from school to work a successful and meaningful experience for persons with developmental disabilities."

Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD). The award is part of ADD’s nationwide effort to improve existing state systems and lead in the development of policies and practices that increase competitive employment outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities.

"Improving access to appropriate employment supports is among the most important priorities expressed by the DD (Developmental Disability) community," said ADD Commissioner Sharon Lewis. "Beyond the opportunity to earn wages, the benefits of competitive, integrated employment include expanded social relationships, improved self-worth, transferable work skills, and increased self-determination. These grants will contribute to better employment outcomes for people with developmental disabilities."

Individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities will be directly involved in all aspects of the project, as well as family members. The UMKC Institute for Human Development and the Show Me Careers consortium highly value the participation of these consortium members as a way to ensure community needs are being heard and met.

Show Me Careers: Missouri's Transition-to-Employment Collaborative is one of over 50 projects of the UMKC Institute for Human Development, an applied research and interdisciplinary training center. For over 33 years, IHD has exemplified UMKC's mission by demonstrating research to practice through community partnerships for effective social change. For more information, please call 816.235.5359 or visit

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).


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