One-Stop Systems Connecting with Disability Resources
A One-Stop for Disability Resources
Key to meeting the needs of people with disabilities is identifying local resources that can provide information and assistance when needed. Like others needing assistance in finding employment, people with disabilities have often been subject to a system that is fragmented and difficult to navigate. Connecting with disability resources is commensurate with the central goal for the One-Stop system: providing a central location for information and services for job seekers and employers. As with other job seekers, One-Stop Career Centers can play an important role in bringing together programs and resources for people with disabilities in a user-friendly system that simplifies and expands access to services. While the mandated partnerships (such as with public Vocational Rehabilitation) are a key starting point, One-Stop systems should consider becoming an information conduit, resource, and referral point for people with disabilities beyond mandated partnerships.
Disability resources can assist One-Stop Career Centers in a variety of ways:
- Answering questions from One-Stop staff concerning service delivery for customers with disabilities (such as advice on meeting the needs of a customer who is deaf).
- Specialized assistance and resources to enable the One-Stop Career Center to meet the specific needs of customers with disabilities (such as expertise related to job accommodations).
- As a resource for services beyond (but not in place of) what the One-Stop system can typically provide (such as specialized transportation, ongoing assistance with benefits management, or intensive post-placement job site support).
- As a resource to customers for information and resources beyond what the One-Stop system itself is able to provide.
In identifying resources, the public Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) system is a good starting point. Your state and local systems may also have additional public and private disability agencies as partners who can provide assistance. Beyond formal One-Stop partners, every state and local area has many other resources that can assist One-Stop Career Centers to meet the needs of customers with disabilities. There are a variety of national information resources as well.
Examples of disability resources that may be available to assist One-Stop Career Centers in meeting the needs of people with disabilities:
Non-partner public disability agencies
State agencies such as Departments of Mental Health (national listing available at www.nasmhpd.org/mental_health_resources.cfm) and Developmental Disabilities/Mental Retardation (national listing available at www.ddrcco.com/states.htm).
The Social Security Administration
Community rehabilitation providers
Agencies that provide intensive job placement and support services for people with disabilities.
Independent Living Centers
Protection and Advocacy Organizations
Organizations in each state that protect the rights of people with disabilities, and can provide assistance with questions on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Information available at www.protectionandadvocacy.com or by phone: 202-408-9514.
Advocacy organizations for specific disabilities
There are many different national organizations dedicated to specific disabilities, most of which have state and local chapters, which have a variety of expertise and resources available.
Assistive technology projects
Each state has an organization that is dedicated to meeting the assistive technology needs of people with disabilities. National listing available at www.resna.org/taproject/at/statecontacts.html
Disability Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTACs)
Federally-funded regional centers that provide information, training, and technical assistance concerning the ADA. Further information is available at www.adata.org/dbtac.html. To reach your local DBTAC: 800-949-4232.
These are just examples, and there are many others as well. A listing of disability resources is available in Section 14 of the manual Access for All-A Resource Manual for Meeting the Needs of One-Stop Customers with Disabilities, which can be downloaded at no charge from www.onestops.info
Possible Use of MOUs
As with any organization, relationships with disability organizations can range from informal to formal. You may wish to consider developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with those community-based organizations that the One-Stop is doing significant work with, This clearly defines the roles of each entity, and also shows a commitment on the One-Stop systems part as well as the organizations part to work together on an ongoing basis.
How to Connect
The following are some ideas on how One-Stop Career Centers can connect with disability resources.
- Have literature and information from local organizations available in your resource library.
- Meet with local disability organizations to learn how they can assist the One-Stop to meet the needs of customers with disabilities, and also how the One-Stop can assist these organizations in meeting their needs.
- Consider having an advisory group, made up of representatives of various disability organizations, which meets on a regular basis to discuss the role of the One-Stop system in meeting the needs of people with disabilities.
- Have staff from local disability organizations conduct presentations and workshops at the One-Stop Career Center, possibly together with One-Stop staff. For example, in the Boston area, disability organizations have given presentations at One-Stop Career Centers on Social Security.
Disability Benefits and Using Personal Networks.
- Have staff from local disability organizations available on-site at the One-Stop Career Center at specific times to work with customers (for example, a representative from the local Social Security office).
- Dedicate a portion of the One-Stop web site to links for local and national disability resources. This is useful for both customers and staff.
These are just examples, and there are many other ways that One-Stop systems can work together with disability organizations to each others mutual benefit.
Excerpted from OneStops.info Issue 1, June 2002, One-Stop Career Centers: Serving People with Disabilities. Funding for this publication was provided by the Office of Disability Employment PolicyU.S. Department of Labor, and by the Rehabilitation Services AdministrationU.S. Department of Education grant #H235A980216. This publications will be made available in alternate formats upon request.