In 2015, the Boston Youth Service Network partnered with the Boston Special Education Task Force (B-SET) to take a deeper look at how the Network serves youth with disabilities. Focus groups and surveys were hosted during and outside of Network meeting time with program staff and youth representatives. The Network decided increased training was necessary for program staff, specifically regarding serving youth with hidden disabilities. A joint written recommendation was submitted to the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development with the Massachusetts Advocates for Children and a $15RFQ was released to support the increased training need. The Network continues to work closely with the B-SET Network as we continue the pilot initiative.

Goal: To increase employment and workforce development opportunities for Boston young people with disabilities.

Objectives:

  1.     Develop metrics along a continuum of outcomes that guides the prioritization of action steps to reach the goal.
  2.     Increase capacity in the system and identify and support multiple pathways to prepare, connect and employ Boston young people with disabilities.
  3.     Identify and recruit organizations to take responsibility for key action steps that are aligned with the goal areas and identified metrics.
  4.    Prioritize and implement selected action steps for each goal area, and revise and update as circumstances change and opportunities arise.
  5.     Conduct policy and practice advocacy with public and private entities to remove identified barriers and to effect beneficial systems changes
  6.     Build collaborations and synergies among members to use existing resources more effectively and to attract new resources.
  7.    Create vehicle for the regular input and participation by youth and their families into the work of the B-SET for Career Network

Current Updates:

The Boston Youth Service Network (BYSN) Network Coordinator serves on the BSET Coordinating Committee and provides direction for Operation Group (OG)5. This operational group focuses on opportunity youth and has members of the BYSN Network as well as the Opportunity Youth Collaborative participate.