Agency Collaboration and Funding
Mentoring or internships are frequently used strategies to support and connect youth with adults that can foster the development of adult goals. By adding the component of technology and the Internet, thereby to some extent getting rid of the constraints of time and place, the possibilities of connecting are increased dramatically. The convenience of this modality has resulted in increased numbers of employers and employees volunteering to become mentors. Teachers find e-mentoring an effective tool to link student learning to the world of work and to motivate students.
E-Connect is an example of a multi-agency program designed to support youth with disabilities through an e-mentoring program. E-Connect was developed at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration, with implementation funded by Pathways to Employment, a partnership between the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, and the Minnesota State Council on Disability. This program utilizes e-mail and school-supervised face-to-face meetings to connect high school students with disabilities with employees from local companies. This website offers an expanded description of the project with downloadable curriculum, tools and resources.