Hitting Major Obstacles in the Road: Employment and COVID-19

Our 20-year-old son, Andy, officially started a break from his grocery store job on March 16 as COVID-19 started spreading where we live. This was an incredibly hard decision for us because we didn’t know how long this break would last. We were very worried at first because if an employee is normally off the…

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Avoiding Detours: Drive Past the Cliff and Follow the Road to Employment

Did you know that only 13% of youth with autism and youth with significant developmental disabilities in Kentucky are employed competitively one year after they leave high school? We’re not talking about the “unemployment rate” like you normally hear about on the news. We’re talking about the percentage of these youth who are actually working…

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Figuring the Budget: Student Earned Income Exclusion

What some people don’t realize is that working students often won’t lose any of their SSI cash benefit while in school or a training program. The Student Earned Income Exclusion means that students under age 22 can earn up to $1,985 per month (up to a total of $7670 annually) and still receive their full…

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Milestones: Getting a High School Job by Grayson Kemplin

15-year-old Grayson Kemplin is the Social media assistant at the Human Development Institute. He is also an Autistic self advocate, serves on Kentucky Protection & Advocacy’s Developmental Disability Board, and participates in conferences. I became involved with the KentuckyWorks Initiative when I attended a post-secondary community conversation they sponsored. I learned that being ready for…

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Preparing for the Trip: Finding Road Trip Companions

Making friends and building a tribe are important for anyone preparing for employment. We all depend on networking to find and keep jobs. I’ve heard people talking lately about how no one is dependent or independent. We are all interdependent. We need each other to be successful, and friends also make life more fun. Inclusion…

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Passing the Bumps in the Road: Avoiding Assumptions

I’ve heard stories over the years about students with disabilities being assigned to do laundry for the football team at school or to clean the teacher’s lounge, and well-meaning teachers often assign these tasks to teach work skills. Now these activities might be helpful for some students if they are genuinely interested in janitorial work…

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Milestones: How I got my first job in high school

This past week, Andy Meredith and his mom were invited to share how he got his first job as a high school student as part of an employment presentation at the Club 21 Tools for the Journey Conference. Club 21 is a Down syndrome advocacy group in Pasadena. Getting your first job is a big milestone for anyone, but it…

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