College of Education

Illinois Center for Transition and Work

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What are pathways to employment?

One definition is, quite literally that, pathways are the “paths” that individuals take to achieve their employment goals. Obtaining and maintaining meaningful and satisfying employment can be a challenge, and youth with significant disabilities may particularly struggle in both developing and meeting their employment goals. In a more practical sense, then, pathways to employment are conceptualized as individualized employment planning and support services that provide the necessary assistance for youth with significant disabilities to explore, obtain, maintain, and even advance in their competitive employment endeavors. While navigating pathways to employment, youth with significant disabilities and their service providers, family members, and other stakeholders obtain valuable information regarding training, education, requirements, skills, and/or any other “steps” that are required or essential toward obtaining jobs in their desired industry.