PACER and its partners shown here from right to left, Deborah Leuchovius (PACER), Leah Hastad (Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council (PIC)), Eriann Faris (PIC), Cory Schmid (Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)), Tera Brooks (Central Minnesota Jobs and Training (CMJTS)), Leslie Wojtowicz (CMJTS), and Nancy Stensgard (Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program) serve 41 Minnesota counties, throughout several CareerForce locations, and are in the last stages of a 39-month long pilot project that assists rural youth with disabilities with career planning and development. The youth with disabilities who participate in the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) are culturally diverse, low income, homeless, involved with the juvenile justice system, or teen parents.

According to PACER transition specialist Deborah Leuchovius, who coordinates the project for PACER, “DEI’s focus is building on individual youth’s interests and talents, matching them to career paths that link their strengths to the needs of rural employers. A young person will start with a career goal, and through DEED funding, the CareerForce Centers support the youth’s education and training to reach their goals,” Deborah explained. To read more, click here.