Johnny Collett—“Honored to Do This Work With You!”

OSERS Header

“Honored to Do This Work With You!”

Johnny Collett

Just a little over a month ago, I assumed my duties as the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). I have been asked a number of times, “Why did you want this job?”

It’s simple for me! I’m honored to lead this office and serve the millions of children, youth, and adults with disabilities and their families across our nation and to support states in their ongoing work to improve early childhood, educational, and employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. I am mindful that OSERS is unique in that we work to positively impact across the lives of individuals with disabilities—from birth through adulthood, including postsecondary opportunities and competitive integrated employment.

I am proud of the progress we have made in the education of individuals with disabilities since Congress passed P.L. 94-142 over 40 years ago (now the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), and our focus on strengthening and improving access to high-quality jobs and careers for individuals with disabilities through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act.

I am committed to implementing the laws for which we have oversight, and ensuring that we continue to focus simultaneously on raising expectations and improving outcomes for all people with disabilities, their families, their communities, and the nation. We will remain mindful of the appropriate Federal role in supporting states to do the work that they, with their stakeholders, have envisioned to improve results and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

While we should celebrate our progress, we must remain mindful that we still have much more to do TOGETHER to ensure that each child, youth, and adult with a disability has what they need, when they need it, to be successful and is prepared for their next step.

Secretary DeVos has been clear concerning the individuals whom we serve, that tolerating low expectations must end and that failure is not acceptable. Rather, we must empower the individuals we serve by demonstrating that we do have hope for them, and that we do believe in them.

We all—individually and as a nationhave a stake in the success of children, youth, and adults with disabilities, but no one has more of a stake in their success than they do. I am committed to working with you on their behalf.

Johnny Collett