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 Disability Program Navigator: Navigator Frequently Asked Questions 

18(Basic)  How much one-on-one interaction should I be engaged in with individuals with disabilities?

(Updated January 2010 )

This will vary as you learn more about the potential barriers that exist throughout your workforce development system.  In the very beginning, set up a system in which you work together with staff in assisting customers who express barriers to employment (this includes individuals who have not disclosed a disability or are unaware of an existing disability).  If you work in several One-Stops, post your work schedule at the front desk and allow staff and partners to sign-up for appointments to meet with you for consultation and to meet with you and their customers. This will send a clear message about your role as a consultant, demonstrate your availability to answer questions and model how to work with customers with a broad range of disabilities.

Keep in mind that the One-Stop environment can be extremely busy and staff are expected to be flexible and willing to help out when needed.  For example, there may be a large lay-off in your area and as a result, people may be lined up in the waiting room to see if they meet eligibility for training, or there may be an employer recruitment in which hundreds of job seekers stream into your centers needing assistance with the application process. This means that you too will have to be flexible and may be referred a customer who needs immediate assistance without a staff person available to join you.  As long as staff knows that these types of referrals are not the norm and that you pass on any information you provided to the customer to staff at a later time, this one-on-one interaction is understandable. Recognizing any patterns of when staff tends to refer individuals solely to you can provide insight on the specific areas that need to be evaluated more closely.  For example, if staff tends to refer individuals to you when customers are receiving SSI/SSDI, they do not have a clear understanding of how and when to make referrals to the Community Work Incentive Coordinator (CWIC) [Benefits Planner]. If staff refers individuals with mental health disabilities to you for more resources, they may need more information and training in this area. Understanding and recognizing the referral patterns of your staff can help you decide an appropriate training course for staff. If you notice the “drop and run” starts to become the norm you will need to gently remind staff of your role and again offer to meet with staff with the customer so as to provide an opportunity to model the appropriate action and as an opportunity to provide knowledge transfer to your staff.


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.