Workers with Disabilities: Talent for a Winning Team - September 2008
Morgan J – Success through an Individual Learning Program
Uncertain of her career interests and higher education goals, Morgan J. began exploring possible career options as early as 8th grade and while attending Anacoco High School in Anacoco, Louisiana. It was during this time that she began to work with her teacher to develop an Individual Learning Program (ILP), which provided her with comprehensive career planning and work-based learning opportunities.
Anacoco High School is a part of ODEP’s ILP research initiative currently being conducted by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Y) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The purpose of the research is to examine the policies and practices related to ILPs and the impact they have on all students, including those with disabilities. Currently, more than 20 states require that all students have an ILP to address the gaps in which employers have identified between traditional academic preparation and the requirements needed to compete in today’s changing global economy. In addition to coursework, these plans emphasize career exploration in high-demanding career sectors and also provide real life, out-of-classroom, work-based learning to assist youth in building work-related skills.
In the fall of 2009, Morgan will have achieved another goal in her pursuit of higher education when she enrolls as a freshman at Northwestern State University where she plans to major in Elementary Education.
When asked about her reflections on the ILP program and its contribution to her life, Morgan responded, “I knew that I wanted a job that would benefit people around me. I knew I wanted to go to college but I was not quite sure of a major. In developing and updating my five year educational career plan...I was able to decide to major in education and become a teacher. This decision has been a process that began in the eighth grade.”