Explore the state and federal policies that support your work with youth in transition.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures that youth with disabilities are granted a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to eligible youth with disabilities. Improving educational results for youth with disabilities is an essential element of our national policy of ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. Learn more from the U.S. Department of Education and the Center for Parent Information and Resources.
Every Student Succeeds Act
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is designed to close educational achievement gaps and provide all K-12 youth an opportunity for a fair, equitable and high-quality education. Learn more by watching this short video.
Perkins V, or the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, expands opportunities for all youth — especially those from historically underserved groups, such as youth with disabilities. The goal is for youth to explore, choose and follow career and technical education programs of study and career pathways.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504, which preceded the American Disabilities Act (ADA) by nearly 20 years, protects the rights of people with disabilities. The law states, "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States ... shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
Learn more about Section 504 from the Center for Parent Information and Resources.
Personal learning plans
Minnesota law requires all youth to have a personal learning plan starting no later than 9th grade. The plan is intended to address academic scheduling, career exploration, career and employment-related skills, community partnerships, college access, all forms of postsecondary training, and experiential learning opportunities.
Individualized Education Programs
Minnesota Statute 125A defines Individualized Education Programs (IEP). As it relates to transition, the IEP statute states, "During grade 9, the program must address the youth's needs for transition from secondary services to postsecondary education and training, employment, community participation, recreation, and leisure and home living. In developing the program, districts must inform parents of the full range of transitional goals and related services that should be considered."
World's Best Workforce
The World's Best Workforce (WBWF) was developed in 2013 to ensure that school districts and charter schools in Minnesota enhance youth achievement through teaching and learning supports. WBWF requires school boards that govern districts and charter schools to develop comprehensive, long-term strategic plans that ensure:
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) governs numerous federal workforce development programs available to Minnesotans with disabilities, including Vocational Rehabilitation Services, State Services for the Blind and the WIOA Young Adult Program.
WIOA was signed into law in July 2014, replacing the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. Under WIOA:
The home and community-based services (HCBS) final rule was issued in 2014 to ensure that people receiving long-term services and supports through HCBS programs under the 1915(c), 1915(i) and 1915(k) Medicaid authorities have full access to the benefits of community living and the opportunity to receive services in the most integrated setting.
The HCBS final rule makes sure people with disabilities:
Minnesota submitted a statewide transition plan for federal approval in February 2019. This plan added new services, simplified existing services, revised licensing standards, provided support for service providers to transition to new requirements, and more. All states had until March 2022 to come into compliance with the rule and fulfill their transition plans. Check out the HCBS settings transition plan to see how Minnesota is meeting final rule requirements.
To learn more about the HCBS settings rule, watch this HCBS video (04:49) from the Council on Quality and Leadership, which features people who receive HCBS waivers explaining the benefits of the HCBS settings rule.
Employment First is a movement and framework for change focused on the premise that all people, including people with complex support needs, are capable of competitive integrated employment.
Competitive integrated employment:
Employment First calls on public entities to work together to prioritize meaningful employment, fair wages and career advancement for people with disabilities — rather than placement in a sheltered workshop or other segregated or noninclusive setting.
To learn more:
Minnesota's Olmstead Plan ensures people with disabilities in Minnesota have opportunities to live their best lives as full members of their communities. The plan is a set of state-wide goals to ensure that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and enjoy life in the community. Ten state agencies are represented on the Olmstead Subcabinet, which oversees the implementation of the plan.