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 Disability Program Navigator: Navigator Frequently Asked Questions 

9(Advanced)  How can I work together with my local Workforce Investment Board (LWIB)?

As State and local leaders, WIBs can send powerful messages about equal opportunity, full participation, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities. Navigators can help drive this message by addressing barriers and improving access to training and employment services, strengthening collaboration with community partners, and teaming up with Business Service teams to better understand employers’ needs in hiring/retaining qualified individuals with disabilities. While some Navigators have been hired by their local WIBs, others have developed working relationships with staff and Boards. If you have not yet had the opportunity to interact with your local WIB, talk to your One-Stop manager or supervisor about your interest in learning more about the functions of a WIB and how you may serve as a resource to the staff and board members. If your One-Stop manager does not see the initial connection, share a few concrete examples from below on how others are successfully working together.

If your LWIB is unfamiliar with the DPN initiative, first provide a general overview of your role and why the initiative was established. Inquire about their experiences with other disability initiatives or partners. This can give you a better idea on how much to discuss about improving employment services for individuals with disabilities. After learning more about the functions of your LWIB and their relationship with the One-Stops, turn the discussion toward your role in strengthening partnerships with community organizations and developing linkages with employers. According to the National Association for Workforce Boards, members must take stronger leadership roles in shaping workforce systems that respond to the dynamics in local economies and diversity in their communities. This can present enormous challenges in which partnerships are critical. In recognizing these challenges, suggest that you would like to work together to learn more about community and business needs in the areas of hiring qualified individuals with disabilities, as well as how you may be a resource on other projects. Share some of the strategies below that State and Local WIBs across the nation have implemented to improve their workforce system and impact the employment of people with disabilities in their areas..

  • DPNs & LWIB s are working together to find new grants for improving One-Stop accessibility, upgrading assistive technology & developing training programs to improve employment services for individuals with disabilities
  • LWIB s have appointed DPN s to their local Youth Councils & encouraged involvement with youth programs to provide training on working with youth with disabilities.
  • DPNs, One-Stop Business Services Staff & LWIB s have co-facilitated employer focus groups to learn more about business needs in the areas of hiring/retaining individuals with disabilities, while many areas have held Employer Forums to address these needs & provide valuable resources to the business community.
  • DPNs are working with LWIB s on leveraging resources by developing MOU s between partners, boosting interagency collaboration & coordinating more blending of funding.
  • DPNs & LWIB s have developed marketing materials that address how businesses can incorporate people with disabilities into their diversity strategies, as well as list resources on recruiting qualified individuals with disabilities & tax incentives.
  • DPNs are participating in WIB meetings and presenting to Boards on how improving access to the One-Stop system has resulted in increased employment for individuals with disabilities (success stories).
  • DPNs & LWIB s have formed interagency sub-committees of their WIBs, comprised of stakeholders from the workforce development community, disability community & business sector, which focus on improving employment services for individuals with disabilities.

Helpful resources include:

 


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.