Labor Market Information for Youth

LMI for Youth

One of the key components of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is for state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies to provide effective services to in- and out-of-school youth who meet the eligibility criteria.  Young people with disabilities are likely to have very limited exposure to various work environments. While age is a factor, an additional issue is that people with disabilities may have grown up with diminished career expectations from parents, teachers, etc., and therefore may not have been encouraged to explore career options.

This means that youth with disabilities may particularly benefit from exploration of the workforce through review of labor market information (LMI). This exploration can help expand their work goals and provide them with useful information about qualifications, working conditions, salary, and the realities associated various occupations. While review of LMI isn’t a substitute for real-life work experiences, it can inform a young person’s vocational interests, develop career pathways, and create employment opportunities.

Below is a collection of labor market resources that focus on issues specifically relevant to youth and young adults. This Information can be of benefit to counselors and parents, as well as students, to improve their understanding of the labor market and work possibilities.


National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NCWD)/Youth

NCWD/Youth is a comprehensive source for information about employment that focuses on youth with disabilities. NCWD partners with experts in disability, education, employment, and workforce development to offer a wide array of information. Below are resources on their site particularly relevant to LMI:

The guide Promoting Quality Individualized Learning Plans: A “How to Guide” Focused on the High School Years contains curriculum and activities to assist youth with college and career readiness and transition planning. Section I of the guide focuses on career exploration. These materials can be adapted to help young people identify work interests, and develop the skills to (a) identify how their interests, values, and skills relate to careers of interest; (b) describe the skills and activities associated with those careers; and, (c) identify the postsecondary training, two-year, four-year, or graduate degree programs needed to successfully pursue those careers.


Another section of the NCWD website is devoted to professional development, focusing on the enhancement of Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) in working with youth. The KSA Initiative was developed to improve the awareness, knowledge, and skills of youth service professionals who work directly with youth. The two key areas in this section most relevant to using LMI with youth are competency areas five and six.

Workforce Preparation-5.4 Ability to match youth with appropriate jobs and careers, including job analysis and skills standards

This section has a collection of briefs and other resources focusing on what is needed to prepare youth to enter the workforce from job readiness skills, job search, and interviewing to job placement and retention. This information can be used to help youth understand how to connect to the labor force and to promote good job matching.


Career Exploration: 6.4 Knowledge of workplace and labor market trends

This section focuses on the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to help young people understand the labor market in a broader sense. The resources provide information that can help youth learn about the workplace and understand key labor market trends.


The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) - Department of Labor

ODEP works to both influence policy and to promote effective workplace practices to assist people with disabilities as they engage in the workforce. One important policy focus area is youth transitioning from school to adulthood and into the world of work.

In conjunction with a number of research and technical assistance centers, ODEP developed the Guideposts for Success. This is a collection of key educational and career development interventions that can assist youth to become successful in the workforce. The section of the guideposts that is particularly relevant to LMI is the Career Preparation and Work-Based Learning Experiences, a collection of resources that can be helpful to youth who are exploring career options.

You may also be interested in exploring this site further to get statistics on the workforce participation of young people with disabilities.


Jobs for the Future (JFF)

JFF has an extensive collection of publications and resources that address a wide variety of labor market topics concerning educational and economic growth. Below are some samples of the publications that may be helpful from both a leadership and practical perspective in understanding the value of LMI and helping youth more effectively participate in the labor market.

Promising Practices in Young Adult Employment is a collection of reports describing youth initiatives exploring career pathways and mentorships.


Health Care Pathways for Opportunity Youth: A Framework for Practitioners and Policymakers

This publication explores models for preparing youth and young adults to attain professional credentials and generate family-supporting earnings in the healthcare industry:


Youth/Industry Partnerships in Preparing Low-Income Youth and Young Adults for Careers in High-Demand Industries

The Youth/Industry Partnership Initiative explored how creating industry partnerships can help create employment pathways for youth and young adults. Lessons learned from this project include a potential sequence of education coursework, training credentials, and job placement in high-demand sectors to generate improved employment outcomes. was created by the[Rk4]  Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP). [AR5] This section of their website provides an overview of the various approaches (mentorships, assessments, etc.) that are used to support youth in career exploration. It also contains an annotated list of various resources that can help youth learn about their vocational interests, availability of related careers, and potential opportunities for employment experiences.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

This section of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website focuses on high school students. It includes interactive resources that students and teachers can use to explore different career options, employment projections, and games to help people learn about LMI, as well as links to videos that spotlight various careers.


Mathematica Policy Research

Connecting At-Risk Youth to Promising Occupations

This brief is part of a series developed on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families that discusses potential occupational opportunities for at-risk youth. This population can be particularly vulnerable and can benefit from information and supports that help them realize their career potential.


Pub Type 
Job-Driven VRTAC