In October 2022, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) released a statement emphasizing the importance of Indicator 14. Indicator 14 measures post-school outcomes and is a critical tool for evaluating the success of transition programs for students with disabilities. The Director also indicated this will impact how IDEA compliance is measured for school districts by stating, “for the upcoming year, I will be asking OSEP staff to think about how we improve the transition processes for all children with disabilities.“
According to the director of OSEP, the latest data on Indicator 14 is concerning. The median data for post-secondary education and employment for youth with disabilities who exit school has declined, highlighting the need for improved transition processes. In addition, the Department of Labor’s Annual Youth Labor Force Participation Rate and Unemployment Rate shows that only 46.7% of adults with disabilities age 20–24 are part of America’s labor force, compared to 72% of comparably aged non-disabled Americans. This results in an unemployment rate of 16.5% for young adults with disabilities–nearly twice the rate of non-disabled Americans. These statistics make it imperative to provide meaningful transition services earlier in school.
As a provider of transition curriculum focused on employment readiness for students with mild and mild/mod disabilities, it’s important to stay informed about initiatives and trends in the field. OSEP’s emphasis on Indicator 14 underscores the importance of focusing on post-school outcomes and provides valuable information for educators and policymakers.
Moving forward, it’s likely that OSEP will continue to put a greater emphasis on Indicator 14 as a means of improving post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. This will require collaboration between educators, policymakers, and service providers to develop effective strategies for supporting students as they transition to post-secondary education and employment.