The Problem 

There is a great need to increase workplace diversity and inclusion. Subsequently, there is a need to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. According to the Department of Labor and Industry, the unemployment rates for people with disabilities is double that of the rest of the population. Additionally, studies indicated that 60 to 80 percent of individuals with disabilities report they want to work, yet only 32.2 percent of people with disabilities are in the workforce according to a May 2018 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is less than half the rate at which people without disabilities participate in the workforce. By making young people with disabilities more prepared for employment we are helping decrease the unemployment rates and increase workplace inclusion and diversity.


Our public schools simply don’t have the capacity to teach all of their student with disabilities the multitude of skills necessary to integrate into competitive employment and postsecondary training. Because of this, many youths lack soft skills, employability skills, advocacy skills, and networking skills to successfully navigate workplace environments. Teaching young people job readiness and employability skills opens up significantly more opportunities for them to gain and keep long term employment and in turn, helps to decreases the high unemployment rates for people with disabilities. When people are gainfully employed, they become more productive and engaging members of the community.    


Currently, there are approximately 275,000 students in the state of Pennsylvania with a disability. At Pennsylvania Youth Initiative we believe all of these students deserve an equal opportunity at success!

Our Solution

As the saying goes “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!"


Pennsylvania Youth Initiative began as a grassroots group of parents and professionals who were looking for ways young people with disabilities, the desire to work is great however so are the barriers.


PYI believes that Ability Creates Opportunity. Our mission is to give young, disadvantaged people the Ways and Means to Achieve Their Hope and Dreams. Our programming is the most innovative and engaging way to teach the skills needed to surpass these barriers and achieve success. to fill gaps in services and give youth with disabilities, and their parents, a voice.

© 2018 by Pennsylvania Youth Initiative

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