Disability Employment Challenge:

American high school students with a disability are nearly as likely to enter the juvenile justice system as they are to engage in a career. How do we ensure they end up on the right path?

Innovation Team:

  • NOD
  • High Schools in more than 25 locations, including New York City, Philadelphia and throughout Connecticut Community businesses, such as hospitals and universities


Since 1994, the Start on Success (SOS) program – developed and seeded by NOD in a dozen cities – has been changing the odds dramatically for students with disabilities. SOS student interns split their day between paid positions at major community businesses and classroom instruction leading to a diploma. Interns are matched to jobs that take full advantage of their skills, interests, and longer-term career goals, with worksite supervisors providing regular guidance and mentorship.

Results have been impressive for the 4,000+ students served. Once students are introduced to the world of work through SOS, they go on to postsecondary education or employment at a rate of 75 to 85 percent – nearly triple the rate for all students with disabilities.

Learn more about the SOS Model.