PA Transition Tidbits

Updates and Events - October 2023


October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

"Observed each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) celebrates the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities past and present and showcases supportive, inclusive employment policies and practices that benefit employers and employees. ODEP has chosen "Advancing Access and Equity" as the theme for NDEAM 2023."

-US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (2023)

NDEAM Poster


Tools for Planning NDEAM Observances

Ideas for Educators and Youth Service Professionals

"Hold a discussion

NDEAM presents an opportune time to discuss the topic of disability employment with students, particularly those at an age when they are considering career options and learning about the world of work. One easy way to do so is to use the "I Can" public service announcement and accompanying youth discussion guide.

Create a display

NDEAM is a great time to freshen up bulletin boards. Start by putting up this year's NDEAM poster, which is available in both English and Spanish. Additional display materials include the "What Can YOU Do?" poster series. Educational supply stores may also offer other materials with positive images featuring people with disabilities in various community and employment settings.

Organize an assembly

Another option is to hold an assembly addressing the topic of disability employment, with content tailored as appropriate for age. Such an assembly might feature guest speakers from local disability service organizations and/or people with disabilities in various professions willing to talk about their jobs, interests and experiences. Related to this, it is important to consider that any career exploration event, such as a traditional career day (whether held during NDEAM or any other time of year), include people with disabilities.

Implement "soft skills" training

Interpersonal skills, such as teamwork, decision-making and communications, are critical for success in all occupations and industries. Yet, many youth do not have exposure to training focused on such "soft" skills prior to entering the workforce. During NDEAM or anytime, you can address this gap with Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success

a series of interactive, hands-on activities to help youth prepare for employment, regardless of their interests or intended career paths. Although developed by ODEP, this curriculum's content is applicable to youth both with and without disabilities and is available in both English and Spanish.

Educate about disability history

Despite the number of people with disabilities in the U.S. and the fact that they represent all races, classes and cultures, many people are unaware of the rich history of the disability movement. To fill this gap, some states require schools to teach about disability history each year. For an overview of major milestones in disability history and resources for educators to enhance awareness of it, see Disability History: An Important Part of America's Heritage.

Engage student leaders

Faculty advisors to groups such as student councils and student-led publications or other media can suggest NDEAM as a possible hook for content during October. For example, a student council might invite a local community leader with a disability to a meeting to speak about his or her experiences. Likewise, student reporters might interview such an individual or write an article/produce a segment on the contributions of many famous people with disabilities throughout America's history.

Share the "Guideposts for Success"

The Guideposts for Success represent what research and practice has identified as key educational and career development interventions that make a positive difference in the lives of all youth, including youth with disabilities. NDEAM is a perfect time to introduce (or reinforce) these important findings to educators and youth service professionals. Channels for doing so might include workshops, trainings or staff publications.

Train front-line staff

It is imperative that youth service professionals have the knowledge, skills and abilities to effectively serve youth with disabilities, especially those in transition. Key tools to assist in improving this capacity — during NDEAM and all year round — are available through ODEP's CAPE-Youth Center for Advancing Policy on Employment for Youth.

Of course, as employers themselves, schools, school districts and youth service provider organizations are also encouraged to recognize NDEAM among their staff. For ideas on how to do so, see ideas for employers and employees."

-US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (2023)

YOUth Can Do It!

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month!

“Observed each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) celebrates the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities past and present and showcases supportive, inclusive employment policies and practices that benefit employers and employees.”

In keeping with the theme of highlighting the contributions of workers with disabilities, we wanted to lift one business that is all about access and equity for people with disabilities in the workplace. You may have seen them at the Secondary Transition Conference in August. Cookie Cookie Ice Cream Company is a family-owned business and OVR partner.




Their story begins with Hannah, their star baker and daughter of the owners, who has Down Syndrome. Connie, the mom and co-owner, started the business not only to give Hannah a job, but also to let her do what she loves in the community that she loves. Since opening, they have partnered with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to employ several young people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Over time the shop has become a hub for young people to find a community that embraces their gifts and supports their goals.

If you know of a local business that we should know about, please let us know! We love highlighting the amazing work that people with disabilities are doing in their communities.

Email: to share other stories like this one!


Webinar: Creating a Legacy for Your Special Needs Family

Answering common questions and providing clarity around special needs planning.

Learn how to care for and empower your family through the use of Special Needs Trusts and ABLE accounts.

Sponsored by Confluence Financial Partners and Zihmer Law Firm.

Please RSVP for this event using this link.

Calling all Transition Coordinators - Don't Miss this Training!

The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education is pleased to announce the following training opportunity:

APR Learning Institute: Using Transition Assessment to Inform the IEP Process

November 2, 2023 – PaTTAN Central (9:00 AM – 12:15 PM)
November 2, 2023 – PaTTAN East (11:45 AM – 3:00 PM)
November 2, 2023 – PaTTAN West (11:45 AM – 3:00 PM)

Transition assessment is the driving force behind effective transition planning. During this interactive workshop, transition coordinators will explore different assessment resources available both within PA and nationally. In addition, tips, and tricks for integrating transition assessments to develop compliant and effective transition IEPs will be shared.

APR Learning Institutes are in-person workshops designed for special education personnel to practice, design, and/or develop tools and strategies for immediate use in their schools. The sessions are part of PaTTAN’s Attract-Prepare-Retain (APR) efforts, and are offered to learn, problem-solve, and share ideas with job-alike colleagues. Together we will create “takeaways” to apply immediately. Come ready to engage in learning!

Target Audience
Transition Coordinators, Special Education Teachers providing Transition Services, and Secondary Administrators

Please register online by visiting the PaTTAN website.

For questions regarding registration, contact:
PaTTAN West – Paula Quinn,

For questions regarding content, contact:
PaTTAN East – Jacki Lyster,
PaTTAN Central - Ryan Romanoski,
PaTTAN West - Hillary Mangis,



Announcing: PA Secondary Transition – Public Square

Looking for a place where you can Connect, Collect, & Contribute

to all things secondary transition?

Connect with people from across our state to collect

resources, share events and contribute stories about positive post-school outcomes!

Click here to create an account and login to join our PA Secondary Transition- Public Square.

National Technical Assistance Center on Transition: The Collaborative (NTACT:C)

Are you looking to learn more information about transition?

The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition: The Collaborative (NTACT:C) provides information, tools, and supports to assist multiple stakeholders to provide effective services and instruction for students and out-of-school youth with disabilities.

Check out their Training Resource Library.

If you're new to transition, be sure to check out Transition 101!


Are you looking for transition events across PA?

Don't forget to check the events calendar to stay up to date on all of the great events happening in PA and nationally related to secondary transition!

This newsletter is brought to you by: The Pennsylvania Community on Transition

The Pennsylvania Community on Transition is a group of various stakeholders from across Pennsylvania who work collaboratively to ensure appropriate transition outcomes for Pennsylvania youth and young adults.

The Pennsylvania Community on Transition is a state leadership team consisting of representative from: the State Departments of Education, Health, Labor and Industry, and Human Services; Various Serving Agencies, Young Adults, Parent Organizations, Advocates, Higher Education, and Employers.

The shared vision and common goals of the Pennsylvania Community on Transition is achieved when all PA youth and young adults with disabilities:

  • Successfully transition to the role of productive and participating adult citizens
  • Are empowered to recognize their talents, strengths, and voice
  • Have equal access to resources that will promote their full participation in the communities of their choice.