Youth apprenticeship is a potentially promising strategy for supporting youth receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other youth with disabilities as they transition from school to the world of work. Apprenticeship improves participants’ employment and earnings in a paid, structured training program that ties traditional classroom instruction to work experience. This paper proposes an approach to youth apprenticeship for youth receiving SSI and youth with disabilities that relies on an intermediary model to coordinate services and benefits for apprentices and provide needed technical assistance to employers and other training providers. An apprenticeship intermediary for youth receiving SSI and youth with disabilities would need to coordinate with high schools, employers, colleges, and other training providers; supportive service agencies; and the Social Security system. The most successful models for such an intermediary are currently uncertain, so this paper proposes grants for intermediary programs and a rigorous evaluation of grantees’ experiences.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy funded the SSI Youth Solutions Initiative. The project sought potential solutions to improve employment outcomes for young adults ages 14 to 24 who apply for or receive Supplemental Security Income. This report is one of 12 developed for this project. The full set of solutions can be found here.