October 2021
Renáta Tichá and Brian Abery.

The Institute on Community Integration will lead a Project of National Significance from the Administration on Community Living designed to increase independence of Minnesota’s youth and create pathways to post-secondary education and employment.

Under the five-year, $1.4 million award, the Institute will collaborate with Minnesota’s Departments of Employment and Economic Security, Education, and Human Services; three local education agencies; several community-based employment and self-advocacy organizations; the Minnesota Inclusive Higher Education Consortium, and Utah State University. 

The project—A Community-Based Collaborative Transition Model for Minnesota Youth with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) —will use a number of collaborative approaches to engage diverse community stakeholders. The team will develop a tiered framework for youth with disabilities transitioning from high school to careers, higher education, and independent community living. The person-centered, inclusive, culturally responsive framework will be designed to address the economic and educational needs of Minnesota communities. The framework will be piloted in three transition programs, in the Minneapolis, Stearns-Benton, and Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan public school districts.

“Interest in this work from state, educational, and community agencies was quite high and exceeded our expectations,” said Renáta Tichá, principal investigator of the project. “The work will support the self-determination and empowerment of youth with IDD to pursue their life goals.”

Worker shortages in many areas of the economy, along with an increasing portion of jobs requiring post-secondary education, bring urgency to the project, said Brian Abery, co-principal investigator. 

“This project provides us with the opportunity to replace one-size-fits-all transition services with an individualized, person-centered approach that increases the quality of life of young Minnesota adults with IDD.”