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LEAD Center Hosts First Annual Policy Roundtable on Blending and Braiding Resources

July 19, 2013

The LEAD Center, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), held its first national policy roundtable at the Bureau of Labor Statistics from July 17-18.

More than 40 leaders with and without disabilities from federal and state agencies, nonprofit organizations and trade associations came together in Washington, D.C. for the roundtable entitled “Making Collaboration Real:  Building a Progressive Vision for a Policy and Service Delivery Framework that Promotes Effective Leveraging of Resources to Improve Employment & Socioeconomic Advancement of Youth and Adults with Disabilities.” Participants discussed how public resources across different government systems could best be aligned to improve employment services ands supports for people with disabilities. The practice, also known as blending and braiding of resources, is a core tenet of the LEAD Center’s work to advance sustainable individual and systems level change to improve competitive, integrated employment and economic self-sufficiency for all people across the spectrum of disability.

“We’re counting on the knowledge and experiences of those gathered here today to help us identify ways that government can replicate and sustain innovative resource integration to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez, who delivered opening remarks.

Roundtable participants assigned to small groups discussed and developed recommendations directed to creating solutions that could be used at the local, state and federal level on blending and braiding resources across systems. The recommendations were presented and well received by a federal agency reactor panel that included representatives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and the Administration on Community Living.

The LEAD Center will continue to work with ODEP, the participants and agencies present at the policy roundtable, as well as other stakeholder groups to continue the national dialogue on the blending and braiding of resources and to explore opportunities to amend policy barriers, improve collaboration across systems, and scale blending and braiding best practices to advance employment and economic self-sufficiency outcomes for people with disabilities.