Transitioning Youth Retail Project

 February 11, 2016
Posted by M&LAdmin4

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Here at M&L, we know that working is important. Employment provides us with the means of supporting ourselves, and allows us to becoming contributing members of society. In addition to being financially essential (for most people), employment also gives our days purpose, keeps our lives interesting, and allows us to connect with the outside world. It is important for socialization and integration, and enables continuous learning and growth. As professionals in the special needs financial and life planning fields, we have come to appreciate how important employment is to individuals with disabilities, and we are familiar with the challenges that these individuals face in their quest for a job.

Because of this first-hand knowledge, M&L has written about employment for individuals with disabilities many different times, from many different perspectives. We have covered the difficulties that individuals with disabilities face as they try to prepare themselves for and obtain employment; we have covered Vocational Rehabilitation as a path to employment; and, we have discussed the implications that come with employment in regards to federal and state benefits for individuals with disabilities. (Note: to see the full list of employment related blogs published by M&L, please click here.)

Today, however, we are going to discuss a specific project that was created to act as a practical and useful method of helping individuals with disabilities obtain employment: the Transitioning Youth Retail Project. Please read on to learn more.

What is the Transitioning Youth Retail Project?

The Transitioning Youth Retail Project is a pilot project designed and delivered by the Arc Montgomery County, and supported by the Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation and the HSC Foundation. In short, this program – which consists of three phases, over the course of 10 weeks – is a “rigorous training program that prepares young adults with mild intellectual and developmental disabilities to work successfully in the retail sector.”

The program is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to obtain employment and succeed in the retail field; with this goal in mind, the program touches on practical skills such as phone etiquette, resume building and display design. It also focuses on more abstract (yet still vitally important) skills such as problem solving, motivational skills, and self- concept. As well, the program focuses on skill building in areas that are not only beneficial to obtaining employment, but also for independent living – examples include conflict resolution, communication, and adaptability.

As mentioned, the course is divided into three phases over the course of ten weeks. The first phase, Preparation, takes place from weeks 1-3 and involves classroom instruction and assessment. Phase 2, Practice, involves the students in hands-on training at the Arc Montgomery County’s Urban Thrift Store. During this phase, students practice the skills they acquired in the classroom. The final phase, Phase 3, is an internship – PAID – during which students are paired with a retail partner for the last 5 weeks of the program. In this phase, students are provided with job specific training from on-site staff, as well as continuing support from the program’s employees and job coaches.

For more information on the specifics of this program and what it entails, please click here to visit the Arc Montgomery County’s website, and here to download the program’s brochure.

How Can My Family Member with Special needs Get Involved?

The first step to getting involved in this program, either as a parent/carer researching on behalf of an individual with disabilities, an individual with disabilities him/herself, or a retail organization interested in partnering, is to contact The Arc Montgomery County! They can be reached via telephone at 301.984.5777 x1226, or by emailing As well, program information can also be accessed by visit The Arc Montgomery County’s website,

Applications for this program can also be downloaded by visiting this link: TYRP Application.

Would you like more information?

Thank you for taking the time to visit our website and read our weekly blog. We love writing about issues that concern individuals with disabilities, and families with special needs – if you are interested in receiving weekly updates for our blog, please take a moment to subscribe to M&L’s newsletter the link can be found on the right hand side of our website. As always, if you would like more information about employment for individuals with special needs, please contact us! In addition to being a certified Financial Planner, Maedi is also a Certified Work Incentive Coordinator, a certification that acknowledges Maedi’s wealth of knowledge in understanding the complexities of Social Security Benefits. This certification provided her with the knowledge and experience to be able to work in-depth with individuals with disabilities who are working or want to go to work but have questions about their benefits and/or insurance eligibility. We would love to speak with you and answer any questions you may have about this, or any topic related to special needs financial and/or life planning.

That’s it for today – see you again next week!

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