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ASPIRE project recruiting 130 Montana youth with disabilities

ASPIRE project recruiting 130 Montana youth with disabilities


April 30, 2015

Contact:  Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936

               Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391


By Mary Taylor

ASPIRE Montana Site Coordinator

Parents of children with disabilities face many similar challenges, but possibly the most significant challenge centers around employment opportunities for their child once they reach the workforce age.

 Some common questions that often surface from both parents and youth, include:

  • My daughter has a disability. What does the future hold for her?
  • Will my son graduate high school? Go to college?
  • How will my teen take care of herself as she gets older?
  • Will I be able to get a job, earn my own money?

Those are some difficult questions to answer.  Achieving Success by Promoting Readiness for Education and Employment, or ASPIRE, helps families find answers to these and other questions that might come up.

ASPIRE is a five-year research project to learn which services work best to help teens with disabilities have a brighter future. Montana and state agencies in Arizona, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah are part of an ASPIRE consortium. The project plans to enroll 2,000 low-income youth with disabilities, including a targeted enrollment of 130 in Montana.

The terms of the federal grant means that 65 of the 130 teens and their families who enter the project will be offered case management, benefits counseling, financial capability training, career and work-based learning experiences, and parent information and training until September 2018. The two groups, those who were offered the additional services and those who receive existing services, will be compared to determine the effectiveness of the project.

ASPIRE-Montana is now recruiting youth with disabilities between the ages of 14 and 16 who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and their families to the project.

ASPIRE is designed to improve services so that teens who receive SSI can have more financial security, success at school and the job that is right for them. This project will improve the way services are delivered now and in the future.

ASPIRE was formed to implement the U.S. Department of Education grant under the Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) Initiative.

Again, we are currently actively recruiting Montana youth and families. Please let me know if you would like to be a part of this exciting project by calling (844) 442-3167 or visit www.aspirewest.org.

Mary Taylor is the ASPIRE Montana site coordinator for the Department of Public Health and Human Services.