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 Disability Program Navigator: Navigator Frequently Asked Questions 

17(Advanced)  ) ) How much follow-up should a Navigator and One-Stop staff do, if any, to ensure that customers get the services they need to reach their employment goals ?

(Updated January 2010 )

As a Navigator on-the-job for a while now, you are probably known in your One-Stops and in your community as a Resource Guru!  At this more advanced stage, the focus of your position will be impacted by your geographic region, population and number of One-Stop Centers that you cover, as well as the complexity of your areas’ programs and service structure.  However, a consistent part of your role involves having a broad knowledge based on Federal, State, local and private programs and services that impact the ability of persons with disabilities to enter and remain in the workforce.  Navigators are always on the lookout for additional resources to share with One-Stop staff and community partners that will help individuals reach their employment goals (transportation, work incentives, employment supports, adaptive technology, grants, etc.).  With all of the relationship building that you do, you have the ability to pass on these valuable resources (i.e. Tips of the Week, 30 Second Trainings, Tidbits from the One Stop Toolkit Resources of the Week, etc.) to a wide range of professionals in the workforce and disability communities.  Gathering and disseminating this multitude of resources can be the easy part. But how do you know if the customer with a disability got the services he/she needed from the resources you passed on?  What happens when customers come back to the One-Stop staff to relay that the resources did not help them?  How much follow-up should a Navigator do (if any) after working with One-Stop staff to assist a customer with a disability to access other community resources?

It is clearly up to customers to make their own decisions and choices on whether or not to follow-through with resources that are passed on to them.  However, in some situations, there are customers who make decisions to access other resources and then hit roadblocks.  These customers may bounce right back to the One-Stop and do not know where to go from there. It can be especially difficult when the One-Stop does not provide the services that the customer needs to continue with their employment goals (e.g. job coaching, adaptive equipment on the job, benefits planning, legal advocacy, etc.).  In these situations, how much follow up should Navigators do to find out why the customer did not get the services they requested? What strategies can a Navigator engage in to help ensure that the resources passed on by the One-Stop are responsive to customers?  Here are a few ways that Navigators across the nation are helping to ensure that customers get the services they need:

  • In areas where much of the coordination and groundwork has been accomplished, Navigators have facilitated the formation of Integrated Resource Teams (IRTs) to assist individuals with significant disabilities and/or an array of complex barriers or challenges who access the One-Stops. This team approach can help lessen the confusion for individuals who are working with a variety of agencies, as well as provide opportunities for each entity to clarify the services they will provide to ensure there is not duplication of services. Moreover it also provides the chance to clarify the customers’ responsibilities in his/her job search process and to be an active part of the job search process.
  • Navigators are focusing on strengthening relationships with agencies that may have seemed unresponsive in the past to customers referred from the One-Stops (i.e., One-Stop staff relay that they have tried to help customers access services at a particular agency, but don’t understand why some have not being assisted).
  • Navigators have coordinated interagency training between various agencies and the One-Stops.
  • Navigators have made efforts to become more familiar with eligibility requirements of other resources and have created Desktop Guides listing organizations’ names, contact information, and basic eligibility requirements to help One-Stop Career Center staff understand what services and programs are offered before referring job seekers.
  • Navigators have joined a number of different networking committees to learn more about existing resources, which also provides opportunities to meet regularly with staff from a wide variety of agencies and build connections allowing for greater referral response and generation.
  • Navigators have joined or created Interagency Action Committees which provide Navigators the opportunity to share what the One-Stop has to offer as well as to work at a systems level to promote employment for persons with disabilities and address barriers at a systemic level.
  • Navigators have created Interagency Referral Forms to improve communication between agencies. Customers can choose to use these forms when accessing other resources, which clarify the types of services they are requesting and why. Some forms also include the contact information for the One-Stop staff person working with the individual on his/her employment goals.
  • If a person comes back to a One-Stop, relaying confusion about the services he/she is eligible for at another agency, Navigators are encouraging their One-Stop staff to call the agency together with the customer to set up a team meeting at the One-Stop.

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.