Empowering school girls with disabilities
- Paths 2 the Future
- University of Oregon
- Country of Implementation
- United States of America
- North America
- Start Year
- First published
“Ever since I have been in this class I am not afraid to say how I feel, to ask for help, or to talk about my future and my past.” A Paths 2 the Future student
Paths 2 the Future, a project initiated by the University of Oregon, is a vocational education programme that empowers young women with disabilities. They are trained in self-advocacy and communication skills, preparing them for the future.
Women with disabilities face barriers based both on gender stereotypes and disability discrimination, thus creating a “double jeopardy” situation that restricts their career and education opportunities.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Paths 2 the Future (P2F) is a short-term vocational education programme for adolescent girls with disabilities aged 14 to 21 years old. Girls participate in an 18-week class in their high schools designed to teach vocational skills that will prepare them for future careers in a variety of professions. Programme participants include girls with learning disabilities, autism, intellectual disabilities, and other health impairments. In each high school, a special education teacher or school counsellor provides additional instruction to a class of 12 to 18 girls. The curriculum covers four broad areas: self-determination, disability knowledge, gender awareness, and career and college readiness. The University is currently evaluating the impact of the model through a randomized controlled trial in 26 high schools in Oregon.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
P2F was developed through a grant from the United States Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences. It was initially implemented in four high schools serving 60 girls, and in its second year was expanded to six high schools serving 110 girls. In 2015, the programme received federal funding to extend the project to 500 girls with disabilities in 28 high schools over the following three years. Upon completion of the federal grant, local schools can adopt and sustain the P2F programme at minimal cost.