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 Disability Program Navigator: Navigator Frequently Asked Questions 

23(Basic/Advanced)  How can I collaborate with the Job Corps in my region and help to ensure that youth with disabilities are aware of these job training programs?

(Updated December 2009 )

DOL -Partner FAQ (s)

The DOL -Partner FAQ s provide DPN s the opportunity to learn more about Department of Labor (DOL) partner programs and how they may collaborate to improve access for individuals with disabilities.  The DOL -Partner FAQ s also offer additional resources and strategies for building partnerships with DOL programs.

You can start by learning more about the history of the Job Corps and what services they have to offer.  Job Corps is a very important partner for the workforce system to promote employment opportunities for youth with disabilities.  It was established in 1964 under the Economic Opportunity Act, but it is currently authorized under the Workforce Investment Act.  It is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive residential education and job training program for at-risk youth, ages 16 through 24 ; however, the upper age limit can be waived for applicants with disabilities.  It combines classroom, practical, and work-based learning experiences to prepare youth for stable, long-term, high-paying jobs. The Job Corps provides eligible youth with academic, career technical and social skills needed to become employable and independent and helps to place them in employment, the military or continuing education. There are currently 123 Centers in 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  Review the web links below to learn more.

Job Corps Centers
[ http://www.jobcorps.gov/centers.aspx ]
All Job Corps Centers are operated by individual contractors--private contractors or federal agencies (Departments of Agriculture and Interior).  The Centers provide students with a drug- and violence-free environment (zero tolerance), housing and dining services, health and wellness services, bi-weekly living allowance, career transition readiness, and transition services including job placement assistance.

Job Corps operates under a five stage career development services system which includes outreach and admissions, career preparation, career development, career transition, and, finally, a career [ http://www.jobcorps.gov/cdss.aspx ].

Job Corps Disability Program
About 18% of Job Corps students have a disability with the most prevalent disability being cognitive (learning) disabilities.  Most students with disabilities have an accommodation plan - often that they bring as part of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) from the school system.  As a residential program, Job Corps provides a wide variety of accommodations including testing, academic/instruction, facility/residential modifications, and modified tools.  Most accommodations are funded through the Center or using community resources.  The Job Corps National Office provides funding for high cost accommodations.

Job Corps and One-Stop Career Centers/DPN s Working Together
Not all Job Corps Centers may know about all of the state and local resources that exist in your community - for example, where to find qualified sign language interpreters, where to purchase adaptive technology, or how to accommodate an individual with mental health disabilities.  This is where your knowledge and skills as a Disability Program Navigator can assist the Job Corps Center and its staff.

Each Center has at lease one disability coordinator, who is responsible for ensuring all students with disabilities are provided services as required by the Job Corps Policies and Requirements Handbook.  The disability coordinator helps to manage the reasonable accommodation process. 
Job Corps Disability Coordinators and Outreach and Admissions staff, along with the Job Corps Center Director, would all be excellent connections to make. When you reach out to a Center, introduce your role by pointing out that you regularly interact with youth with disabilities in the region and would like to become more familiar with the program’s facilities, services and enrollment process. Be prepared to share resources that can help them to effectively serve youth with disabilities and offer to be a resource to their staff and students on disability-related issues. Ask them if they would like to be part of your listserv so you can share resources (i.e. 30 Second Trainings and Tips of the Week etc.). Share that you may facilitate disability awareness trainings for the Center, assist with physical and programmatic accessibility of their facilities and programs, and/or help brainstorm solutions and accommodations to barriers for students with disabilities in their training program and in employment.
After you have made these linkages, disseminate information about the program throughout the disability community.  If there are youth with disabilities interested in learning more, offer to bridge the connection to the Job Corps Center.  If you refer an individual to the Job Corps and they are unsure of how to accommodate the student, this would present the opportunity to directly assist with accessibility of the program and help them to better understand the wide range of reasonable accommodations that can be implemented.  In addition, invite the Job Corps Disability Coordinator to any committees that you are involved with that relate to youth with disabilities. Below are additional ways that you may build partnerships with your local Job Corps programs.

  • Participate on Job Corps’ Community Services Boards (CSB).  The CSB serves as a liaison between the Center and the surrounding communities and meets regularly to consider issues of mutual interest to the Center and the community.
  • Attempt to participate on Job Corps’ Interdisciplinary Teams to aide in transition planning for students with disabilities moving from career development to career transition (i.e., those students who are preparing to separate from the program).
  • Contact the Job Corps Disability Coordinator. Their roles include:
    • Establishing and developing meaningful relationships and networks with local and distant employers, applicable One-Stop Career Centers and other Workforce Investment Act (WIA) partners to promote and provide job opportunities for graduates.
    • Establishing and developing meaningful relationships with members of the local community to keep them informed about the Center and to consider areas of mutual interest to the Center and the community.
    • Coordinating training for Job Corps staff in areas related to disability, including issues of disclosure, self-advocacy/self-determination, and transition planning.
  • Promote Job Corps as a vocational training option throughout the One-Stop Career Centers and the local workforce investment areas by teaming up with a Job Corps representative and making joint presentations in schools and at job fairs.

 


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.