A Message from JOHN C. BRAUER, M.A. President and CEO – July 2023


As these Summer days blaze on and we focus on whatever will help us beat the heat, I want to bring to your attention some things that will warm your heart in a good way.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Windsong Foundation, New Horizons continues to expand the scope and reach of our services to young adults with disabilities. Examples include launching the pilot program of our College to Career and More. For the pilot, all five Members graduated, and we’re in the process of scheduling the formal, expanded launch in the next few months. Additionally, we continue to see positive results from our work with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and expect to be serving over 1,000 students in the program both in the original program and in Santa Clarita over the next few years.

 A Few Fast Facts:

  • “For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the unemployment rate exceeds 80 percent.” [1]
  • 4 million + kids in the US have at least one learning disability.  [2]
  • Yet only 5% of undergraduates report a learning disability.  [3]
  • Any postsecondary education resulted in an average of $200,000 in additional lifetime earnings for individuals with IDD.  [4]

You can see that effective training while in school, and the transition period from high school to postsecondary learning opportunities to career is essential for individuals with IDD to achieve their goals and pursue their dreams.

However, the coordination of efforts between students, their families, the school system, the Regional Centers that authorize services, the state Department of Rehabilitation and Department for Developmental Services, and the nonprofit agencies that offer services can be confusing, difficult to maneuver, and frustrating for students and families.

During the 2022-2023 school year, New Horizons’ (NH) Youth Services Coordinator worked with 277 students, 30 classes, and 6 school partnerships located throughout Los Angeles County. NH began the school year under ongoing mask requirements as well as mandatory COVID-19 reporting. Given that the student population we serve can be high risk, services were offered virtually once again this year. However, discussions with new partner districts and schools mean a return to in-person and hybrid teachings in the coming school year.

The College to Career and More students completed a 10-week pilot program that met 3 times per week and covered a wide range of topics associated with opportunities for post-secondary education.

Lessons Learned: College to Career and More

As part of the pilot roll out of the College to Career and More Curriculum, we surveyed student participants at the end of every class session, we also asked for feedback from the instructor and support staff at the conclusion of the class. Sessions were offered in-person, online, and in a hybrid setting with the lead instructor joining the class via Zoom to get a sense of different learning environments and their impact on student outcomes. We also had a bilingual member of our support team, who supported one member to help better understand the content.

Students, on average, rated the classes a combined 4.84/5, with 84% of the classes being a perfect 5/5. When asked what they most got out of the class, students responded that they learned practical things, like how to fill out a college application and what questions to ask during a campus tour; but also, they learned about local colleges in Southern California and that people with disabilities can achieve on the college level.

Other News

Happy to report that the State of California has created a new office to represent clients and their families who want to work or are currently employed. The Office of Employment First will support employment opportunities for Californians with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD), hoping to make the process seamless and accessible and ensuring that initiatives are designed and coordinated to work across state departments.

In addition, the Office of Employment First will identify and share best practices, develop partnerships with groups committed to integrated community employment opportunities, and provide technical assistance to support equity in employment.

There is a tremendous need for services for our younger Members. Employment is just one of them.  We’re excited to see work and post-secondary education prospects come to fruition at New Horizons and across our State for them. Imagine all the possibilities.

Enjoy your Summer,


[1] Disability & Socioeconomic Status (apa.org)

[2] Learning Disabilities Statistics and Prevalence | HealthyPlace

[3] Students with Disabilities in Higher Education: Facts and Statistics | BestColleges

[4] College Opportunities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities – Special Needs Resource (eparent.com)