Skip to the content
logo Advocacy and Empowerment

news from Advocacy and Empowerment







Center for Capacity Building on Minorities with Disabilities Research


The Mission


The Advocacy & Empowerment for Minorities Program (A&E) is an applied research center in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The program's mission is to develop, implement and evaluate interventions and strategies that improve the quality of life for ethnic minority individuals with disabilities and their families. A & E is a community based program that incorporates participatory action research and intervention. Since its inception over 12 years ago, A&E has worked with over 400 individuals with disabilities and/or family members in the community and numerous community-based organizations. This interdisciplinary center administers multiple projects funded by federal, state and local grants and contracts.
A & E has been instrumental in implementing The Choices-In-Transition Model Program with ethnic minority youth with disabilities in the Chicago area for the past seven years. This model was designed to implement best practices strategies in Transition-from-School to adulthood that results in the attainment of educational, vocational and personal goals by ethnic minority young adults with high incidence disabilities. The Choices-In-Transition model has been tested with students in high school, middle school, high school graduates, and students who dropped out. This model, which includes case management and skill development, is based on sound research and best practice standards as recommended by the transition literature in special education. On of the goals of this model is to disseminate this empirically verified, comprehensive and interactive model throughout the city of Chicago.
A & E is currently implementing two projects that follow the Choices-In-Transition model, the College Connection to Career Development Opportunities Project (CCP)and the Choices-In-Transition Model Program. The CCP is a model demonstration project in partnership with the Chicago Public School System, the City Colleges of Chicago, and the Illinois Office of Rehabilitative Services. The project's intent is to increase the number of individuals with disabilities that are able to access and complete programs of study within the occupational division of a large community college system and obtain employment in related career paths. It combines skill development, action planning, goal setting and intensive case management support to increase participant's ability to identify their own goals, determine potential resources, engage in self-advocacy, complete certificate programs, and attain employment. The Choices-In-Transition Model Project is a dissemination of CCP in the Chicago Public School system.
Overall evaluation of the Choices-In-Transition Model indicates that it is effective in enabling youth to achieve their educational, vocational and independent living goals and that participating youth are more likely to reach their transition-related goals than comparison youth.