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 Disability Program Navigator: Navigator Frequently Asked Questions 

1(Basic)  The DPN job description is lengthy and covers such a broad range of job duties.
Where do I start and how do I prioritize my duties?

Understanding the DPN Initiative - It is important to first understand the vision and goals of the Disability Program Navigator (DPN) Initiative. The Initiative was jointly established by the Department of Labor (DOL) and Social Security Administration (SSA). Since 2003, it has been funded for approximately $112 million from DOLETA and $12 million from SSA. Your State/Territory DPN Project Lead will pass on many resources and may be able to connect you with a more seasoned DPN to serve as a mentor. Take time to understand what your role is and is not before attempting to ‘jump in’. To learn more about the DPN Initiative and to access recommended self-paced training tools to help you get started:

  • Understanding the Workforce Development System - After you have a clear understanding of the DPN mission, learn about the operations and organizational structure of your Local Workforce Investment Board (LWIB) and One-Stop Career Centers. By scheduling meetings with managers and staff of your LWIB and One-Stops, you can begin to introduce the goals of the DPN initiative. Show your interest in learning about the workforce investment system through participating in staff meetings, attending One-Stop orientation and workshops, and meeting with One-Stop partners. Job shadowing and spending time with staff is a great way to experience their day-to-day responsibilities and learn their perspectives. Ask a lot of questions, including what some of their challenges have been in working with job seekers with disabilities and the types of training they would like to attend. When training is offered at a later time, staff will appreciate that you have incorporated their suggestions and responded to their needs.

  • Understanding the Workforce Development System –
    Review the presentation “Understanding the Workforce Development System http://www.dpnavigator.net/pages/resources_a3.html“Understanding the Workforce Development System” is the first link on the page listed above.
  • Seven Key Principles of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA ) –
    http://www.dpnavigator.net/pages/resources_a3.htmlThis resource highlights the important features of the Workforce Investment Act while providing context and background on each of these key principles. This resource is the 6th resource located on the page.

Identify & Research Community Resources - As you continue to learn about the One-Stop system, find out about the variety of resources in your community. The DPN Reporting tool http://www.dpnavigator.net/pages/resources_a2.html will help you to recognize the types of service providers to target in your local area. Mandated partners, such as Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), may already be co-located in your One-Stops and may be able to pass on the names of a variety of community service providers. Once you have become familiar with the resources, explore each agency’s mission and services. Most organizations have detailed websites or can send you brochures. This information will help you to consider opportunities for collaboration before conducting outreach.

Note to DPNs: If you have comments, suggestions or questions relating to the above topic, please email DJ Diamond at ddiamond@ndi-inc.org . They may be added to this FAQ and the archived one on the One-Stop Toolkit website.