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Older Workers/Disabilities Unit

Published: June 18, 2012

The Employment and Training Administration’s (ETA) Disabilities Team in the Older Workers/Disabilities Unit develops and implements workforce disability policy and program initiatives to address structural, programmatic, and systemic employment barriers for people with disabilities. OWI supports the President’s New Freedom Initiative to improve career and employment outcomes for people with disabilities through: 1) inter-and intra-agency collaborations and partnerships; 2) demand-driven initiatives responding to employers’ recruitment and retention needs; 3) training and technical assistance; 4) legislative and regulatory, policy, and operations analysis; 5) maximizing access to talent for a 21 st century workforce by increasing b usiness access and linkage to people with disabilities/expanding their supply pipeline of skilled workers; and 6) other activities that lead to systemic improvement.

The Disabilities Team’s goals are to: provide the greatest opportunity for job seekers and employees with disabilities to achieve employment and economic self-sufficiency through the One-Stop Career Center system by utilizing the principles of self-determination, informed choice, integration, and incl usion; link employers to an untapped labor pool; expand the One-Stop Career Center’s capacity to provide comprehensive, integrated, seamless, and accessible services to people with disabilities; create attitudinal change; and promote quality services. See DisAbility On-line at: www.doleta.gov/disability

Grant and Policy Activities

Disability Program Navigator (DPN) Initiative - ETA and the Social Security Administration (SSA) have jointly funded a new position, the Disability Program Navigator (DPN), located within DOL’s One-Stop Career Centers. DOL, with input from SSA, has entered into cooperative agreements with 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Complex rules surrounding entitlement programs, along with fears of losing cash assistance and health benefits, can often discourage people with disabilities from working. The DPN Initiative better informs beneficiaries and other people with disabilities about the work support programs now available at DOL-funded One-Stop Career Centers. The Initiative focuses on developing new and ongoing partnerships to achieve seamless, comprehensive, and integrated access to services, creating systemic change, and expanding the workforce development system’s capacity to serve customers with disabilities and employers.

Technical Assistance Initiatives

ETA’s One Stop Toolkit - This Web site (www.onestoptoolkit.org) is a disability resource for the workforce investment system that provides links to helpful legislative and regulatory resources. It features numerous training materials, effective practices, strategies, and products developed by Work Incentive Grants (WIG) and DPN grantees to assist Workforce Investment Boards and One-Stop Career Center staff in serving the disability community.

University of Iowa’s Law, Health, Policy & Disability Center (LHPDC)-The LHPDC provides training and technical assistance to WIG and DPN grantees on issues that impact successful employment, retention, and career advancement of job seekers with disabilities. It also assists the Disabilities Team’s and ETA’s Federal Project Officers’ general administration and oversight through extensive evaluation of grant activities and impact on the One-Stop Career Center system. See LHPDC Web site: www.disability.law.uiowa.edu

For Further Information

Visit the Office of Workforce Investment’s DisAbility Online Web site at www.doleta.gov/disability/; contact the Disabilities Team, Older Workers/Disabilities Unit, at (202) 693-3844; or contact your local One-Stop Career Center through the toll-free Help Line, at 1-877-US2-JOBS (1-877-872-5627); 1-877-TTY-JOBS (TTY).