Leverage Points to Enhance State and Local Efforts to Attract, Prepare, and Retain Effective Personnel for Children with Disabilities


The leverage briefs are the culmination of OSEP’s Attract, Prepare, Retain: Effective Personnel for All Initiative and highlight 13 leverage points covering strategies recognized by various stakeholders as essential to addressing critical shortages in the special education workforce. This series of briefs is meant to serve as an overview and starting point for stakeholder groups as they consider and craft effective solutions for their particular communities. It is also meant to serve as an inspiration for the forming of community partnerships and to challenge the status quo through innovative thinking to build an effective special education workforce pipeline.

Given historical and current crises in retaining effective personnel, the problem of shortages may seem intractable. However, OSEP’s Attract, Prepare, Retain Initiative revealed a number of strategies (see Table 1) across the areas of attraction, preparation, and retention that, when leveraged together, result in more effective personnel who remain in their positions. These strategies have a symbiotic relationship: A weakness in one or more results in negative outcomes for the others.

The leverage points in this series are not intended to be exhaustive and do not encompass all strategies that exist to attract, prepare, and retain personnel. The strategies should, instead, be considered as additional considerations for ongoing efforts. No individual strategy, no matter how well implemented, can by itself fix the critical shortages that communities face. To ultimately strengthen the special education workforce, attraction, preparation, and retention should be viewed as parts of a larger whole—not just as individual parts.

Table shows strategies highlighted in leverage briefs. Attract: Alternative Routes to Certification, Changing Public Perception, Funding and Loan Forgiveness, Grow Your Own Programs. Prepare: Micro-credentials, Practice-Based Opportunities, Residencies, Simulations, Retain: Enhancing Professional Leadership, Induction and Mentorship, Ongoing Professional Learning, Educator Empowerment, Supportive Workplace Environments










Complete Brief Series

Stand Alone Briefs