Transitioning from high school to employment can be challenging for many young people, including youth with an intellectual disability. While many young people will attend college or university after high school, others will try to enter the labour force following graduation. Without good planning and preparation, the transition from school to employment can be even more challenging. For youth with an intellectual disability, planning and preparation for work can mean the difference between becoming active job seekers and workers in their communities and sitting at home with few or no prospects for employment.
With funding by the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour – Employment Services Program, the New Brunswick Association for Community Living (NBACL) has launched a pilot project that is geared to ensure that students with an intellectual disability leaving high school are prepared and supported to enter the workforce. Through the Mentoring for Employment project, volunteer mentors from the community provide support and guidance to high school students with an intellectual disability who want to work after they complete school.
Phase one of this two year project is already underway. During this phase, NBACL developed mentoring strategies that best support employment for youth with an intellectual disability after they graduate from high school. They will develop and test a mentoring model for New Brunswick high school youth, focusing on their employment as the outcome. NBACL will also share knowledge about mentoring strategies and the role of mentoring in the transition to work process for youth with intellectual and other disabilities.
The Role of the Mentoring Facilitator
NBACL has hired two Mentoring Facilitators, one in Saint John and in Miramichi, to work in partnership with school districts, high schools, families, students and community volunteer mentors to better support young people with an intellectual disability to become more confident about themselves and their abilities, and to be ready to enter the world of employment.
NBACL Mentoring Facilitators will:
- Link high school students with an intellectual disability to community mentors during their transition from school to employment;
- Work to ensure that community members, including employers, recent school graduates and others are regularly engaged in school-based transition to work programming through mentoring youth with intellectual and other disabilities.
- Identify volunteer members of the community who are willing to provide mentorship and guidance to students to successfully enter the workforce.