Transition Supports for Youth with Disabilities: Training and Implementation Support Provider Opportunity

The American Institutes for Research (AIR), in collaboration with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), is seeking qualified entities to provide staff training and implementation support for high school programs to help prepare youth with disabilities to achieve success after high school. The selected provider(s) will participate in a large-scale evaluation project conducted by AIR, UNCC, and other study partners for the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education (ED).

A Request for Proposals (RFP) for this opportunity includes more information on the specific strategies and the role of potential providers. The RFP is posted below, along with accompanying forms, a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document, and a response to provider questions about the RFP.

About the Project

A central goal of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA) is to help students with disabilities prepare for education, work, and independent living after high school. This project will provide evidence about the effectiveness of transition support strategies for improving such post-school outcomes among high school youth with a range of disabilities and postschool goals.

The project will test two transition support strategies with core components informed by research and practice. Both strategies provide specific supports to students and their parents/guardians:

  • Strategy 1 provides self-determination supports directly tied to transition planning with an emphasis on active engagement of parents. The program must include two core components: support to develop self-determination skills, and support for applying these skills to transition planning.
  • Strategy 2 builds on Strategy 1 by adding supports for students to access and participate in transition-related activities. This strategy includes the two core components in Strategy 1 plus support for engaging in transition activities, programs, and services related to students’ post-secondary goals.

The project will use a rigorous evaluation design and will provide resources to support robust program staffing and training. The study team will assign high school students with disabilities within each study school by lottery to participate in Strategy 1, Strategy 2, or their school’s typical transition supports. The study team and participating districts will hire instructors to implement each strategy in study schools.

Submitting a Proposal

The RFP calls for selected providers to establish a plan for program activities and materials, train instructors, and provide other support to ensure implementation with fidelity in up to 100 schools in about 16 districts across the U.S. The anticipated funding amount is $3,000,000 across all selected providers.

Providers may propose to support Strategy 1, Strategy 2, or both strategies. Proposals must:

  • Describe and justify the provider’s detailed program plans and approaches for supporting Strategy 1 and/or Strategy 2, as specified further in the RFP.
  • Demonstrate the provider’s organizational, staffing, and management capacities to successfully refine the program(s), as needed; conduct high-quality, multi-day trainings; and provide ongoing support to program delivery staff.
  • Include an itemized budget and justification that aligns with the provider’s proposed plans.

Please see the RFP for more information about the scope of work, proposal evaluation criteria, and requirements for technical and business proposals. Questions about the RFP are due on August 20, 2021. The study team also requests that interested providers submit letters of intent to bid by the same date.

Providers are encouraged to partner with other organizations and form a consortium, if necessary or desired, to address the scope and/or scale of the required activities. A consortium must submit one cohesive proposal with delineated roles and responsibilities for each partner. A provider may be a part of more than one consortium.

Proposals are due on October 1, 2021 at 5 pm EDT. The study team and ED will invite providers submitting strong proposals to present their plans, and then select one or more providers to include in the project under subcontract to AIR.

Timeline and Communication

The table below summarizes key dates related to this RFP. Questions about the RFP, letters of intent, and proposal submissions should all be directed to Seth Brown, Deputy Project Director, Transitions Supports for Youth with Disabilities, at

Dates for Key Steps in the Proposal and Provider Selection Process

Step Date
RFP released on project website August 6, 2021
Questions about RFP submitted to August 20, 2021
Letter of intent to bid submitted to August 20, 2021, by 5:00 pm EDT
Responses to RFP questions posted on project website August 27, 2021
Proposals and letters of reference submitted to October 1, 2021, by 5:00 pm EDT
Review of written proposals October 2021
In-person presentations by selected finalists November 2021
Award date (estimated) December 1, 2021



Request for Proposals (RFP)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Responses to Provider Questions About the RFP

Required Forms for Proposal Submission

Jessica Heppen
President, AIR