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Maria Town, Class of 2005, Joins U.S. Department of Labor

09/27/2010

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Yes, I am the newest Policy Advisor for the Youth Team of the Office of Disability Employment Policy in the United States Department of Labor. In this position, I work on resource development, policy creation, and grant management for transition age youth (17-25 year olds) with disabilities so that they can succeed in the job market. Much of what my new position focuses on is self-advocacy and how to create or improve systems so that youth with disabilities can become self advocates in school and the work place. LSMSA played a very large role in my own knowledge of self-advocacy in the kind of self-efficacy and freedom that was supported there in the classroom and in the residence halls. 

 

I am very excited about this position, and I could give an incredibly long list of reasons for this excitement, but I'll just give one for now. The 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act occurred this past July. Consider this, it's been 20 years since people with disabilities had the political resources and legal protections so that they could not only survive and integrate into mainstream society, but truly thrive. Now, there are so many more youth with disabilities in the public sphere, and  major questions are being asked about how we as a society ensure that they have a successful transition into adulthood. As a twenty-three year old I am a part of this first generation of people with disabilities who grew up with these opportunities, and I am now in my new job a part of the group of people who will be writing the policy to answer those questions concerning other young people like myself.


 
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