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In Kansas: $8.4 Million Grant Awarded to Create Kansas Youth Transition Network

The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) will oversee an $8.4 million federal grant awarded to the state to create the Kansas Youth Transition Network, a statewide initiative that will help students with disabilities make the transition from education to employment.  

“This grant will help youth with disabilities statewide connect to the supports that meet their individual needs as they transition from high school to college, other postsecondary opportunities, or directly into competitive integrated employment,” said Dean Zajic, assistant director for KSDE’s Special Education and Title Services (SETS) team and project director for the grant.  

Several organizations are working together to create and support the Kansas Youth Transition Network. KSDE will serve as the fiscal agent in monitoring grant funds and project completion. Other supporting partners are the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities with a focus on evaluation and improvement efforts and the community-based Centers for Independent Living (CIL).  

“Through this partnership with other state and local agencies and the Centers for Independent Living, Kansas will better prepare each student, as well as the student’s community, for the unique path to success,” Zajic said.  

Funding from the grant launches a five-year plan in which partners of the project will create a steering committee comprised of representatives from KSDE, the Kansas Department for Children and Families Rehabilitation Services, CIL, and community representatives, including youth with disabilities parents, teachers, and support systems for those with disabilities.  

The steering committee’s focus will be to establish six KYTN councils in communities around Kansas to address the needs of youth with disabilities and provide a system of services centered around independent living, competitive integrated employment, and education.  

In addition to the community councils, a resource website will be implemented to further educate and facilitate easier transitions for youth with disabilities, as well as strengthen the relationships between community members, engaged partners, and Kansas agencies serving those with disabilities.   

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