Young people transitioning from the educational system to adult life need to make important decisions about their future. Those with disabilities face particular challenges at this critical juncture in their lives. The Berman Fund is supporting MJB’s evaluation of two important initiatives that have emerged following the first study in Israel of the transition to adulthood of young adults with disabilities, conducted by the Institute in 2016.
• Preparation for High School Students for Work Life. In the past, young people with disabilities completing special education at age 21 had limited expectations of getting a “real” job. The ministries of Social Affairs and Education have joined together to develop a new program aimed at changing that reality. This national pilot program provides life skills and vocational experience to young people with a range of disabilities ages 16-21 in the secondary educational system.
The program is far more than job preparation workshops in the schools; it provides exposure to a variety of work options in the real work world and helps develop "soft" job skills. MJB is in the midst of a four-year evaluation, which will guide the ministries’ national implementation.
• Vocational Training Programs in Special Education. In Israel, as in many European countries there is growing interest in vocational training programs for young people in Israel, as is common in. MJB reviewed such programs offered within special education tracks in the US and Europe on behalf of the Israeli Social Security Administration, to identify best practices in the vocational training of high school students with disabilities.
Findings are being used by the Administration to begin vocational tracks for job training within the special education system.