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 Disability Program Navigator: Navigator Frequently Asked Questions 

12(Basic)  How do I begin to build relationships with community service providers and sustain these relationships?

(DPN Bi-weekly FAQ - 2-20-06. Modified from the 2005 DOL-SSA DPN FAQs)

After you have identified and researched a variety of community service providers in your region, schedule meetings to introduce yourself and the DPN initiative. Your LWIB and One-Stop staff may have already established partnerships with several community organizations and you can start with these contacts. When first reaching out to service providers, relay that you have visited the agencies’ websites and/or read about their programs, and would like to learn more. Use the ‘you go first’ approach when meeting with different agencies, asking about their perceptions and experiences with the local One-Stop Centers even before introducing the DPN initiative. This is key, since the agency’s response may modify the tone of your entire presentation. For example, if you meet with an agency that has never heard about the One-Stop system, you can offer background information about the Workforce Investment Act, provide an overview of the three tiers of employment services (core, intensive and training), and explain the goals of the DPN initiative. On the other hand, if you meet with an agency that has had negative experiences at your local One-Stops or who may misunderstand the DPN initiative as a duplication of their services, you will need to do a lot more listening on the first visit.

After becoming familiar with your community service providers and their perceptions of One-Stops and the DPN initiative, there are many ways to build on (and mend) these relationships. First, consult regularly with mandated and non-mandated community partners about accessibility, accommodations and other disability-related topics. This gives people with disabilities and people who serve individuals with disabilities a chance to share their expertise on improving the system. Organize orientations, tours and Open Houses and invite the disability community to learn about the benefits of using a One-Stop, including the new adaptive technology. Reach out and ask to be invited to a variety of ongoing networking groups, committees and collaborations. These groups will present the chance to meet new people, exchange ideas, and look for opportunities to collaborate. In addition, service providers will begin to see your consistent participation and contribution as genuine effort to creating meaningful partnerships. To learn more about marketing and outreach strategies including systems collaboration and building partnerships:

  • DPN Brochure
    http://www.dpnavigator.net/pages/resources_a6.html
    This tri-fold brochure provides information about the role of the Disability Program Navigator within the workforce investment system. Navigators can use this brochure when conducting outreach to community service providers.
     
  • Guidelines for Marketing the One-Stop Career Center and DPN Initiative
    http://dpnavigator.net/pages/resources_a6.html
    This document provides guidelines and suggestions for performing outreach and marketing to community service providers and to individuals with disabilities.
     
  • Strategies for Marketing Workers with Disabilities to the Employer Community
    http://www.dpnavigator.net/pages/resources_a6.html
    This document provides guidance on providing information to the business community about hiring/retaining individuals with disabilities.
     
  • Systems Collaboration Resources
    http://www.dpnavigator.net/pages/resources_a5.html
    This tri-fold brochure provides information about the role of the Disability Program Navigator within the workforce investment system. Navigators can use this brochure when conducting outreach to community service providers.
     
  • One-Stop Toolkit State and Local Resources: Marketing and Outreach
    http://www.onestoptoolkit.org/statelocalbytopic.cfm#Marketing%20and%20Outreach-DPN
    This tri-fold brochure provides information about the role of the Disability Program Navigator within the workforce investment system. Navigators can use this brochure when conducting outreach to community service providers.  

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.