Shelly Saves the Future

by Maria Town on April 2, 2014 · 0 comments

A comic showing three teenagers leaving school. A huge dinosaur named "ignorance" looms in the distance. One teenager, named Shelly, says "We're in trouble, guys, if we don't make sure we are ready for life after high school!"  A text box at the bottom of the comic says that three-quarters of high school graduates are not ready for college or the workforce.

Meet Shelly. Shelly is a senior in high school, and like 3.3 million seniors across the country, she will graduate this year. Congrats, Shelly!

It can be difficult and scary for young people like Shelly to imagine their next steps after high school. Will they move away from home, leaving behind their families and friends? Do they want to go to college, and if so will they have what it takes to make it there? If they go to college, what will their major be? They hear adults talking about today’s economy and how hard it is for young people to find good-paying jobs. With so much to think about, the future can seem overwhelming. But Shelly has a plan to make sure she is ready!

Unlike many other graduating seniors, Shelly knows what she wants to do after high school. Shelly’s school is one of the many high schools across the country that uses individualized learning plans (known as ILPs) to promote career development for all their students, including those with disabilities, like Shelly. ILPs are tools that help students explore their strengths and interests, learn how their interests are related to career options, and connect what they do in high school with college, job and career goals. Because having an ILP helped Shelly prepare for life after high school, she is on her way to pursuing her dreams.

Take a look at this info-comic developed by the Office of Disability Employment Policy about Shelly’s journey in career development to see how she goes from worried and overwhelmed to confident and in control of her future.

Maria Town is a policy adviser in the Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, where she focuses on youth issues.

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