LEAD Center Presents at NASWA Meeting on Equal Opportunity in the Workforce System
Michael Morris, co-chair of the LEAD Center Public Policy Team, and Bobby Silverstein, LEAD Center Subject Matter Expert, presented on October 30th at the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) conference on Equal Opportunity in the Workforce System to local Equal Opportunity (EO) officers and senior staff from 32 states. LEAD Center’s presentation focused on preliminary findings from research on state workforce investment board experiences in meeting the requirements of Section 188 of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Section 188 is used to address how WIA grant recipients (which includes American Job Centers) are complying with and implementing, the applicable federal non-discrimination requirements for persons with disabilities.
During the past year, LEAD Center has been building a partnership with NASWA and its Equal Opportunity (EO) Committee with representatives from more than 30 states. Don Wehbey, the NASWA EO Committee Liaison and NASWA’s Labor Market Information Director, helped LEAD identify EO officers in selected states to be interviewed about their Section 188 activities and Methods of Administration (MOA) of equal opportunity requirements. State and local WIA plans must describe how best to provide physical, communication and program access to effectively serve individuals with disabilities without discrimination.
The NASWA conference provided LEAD Center presenters the opportunity to highlight promising practices identified for state and local EO officers. The focus of practices being implemented by AJCs included marketing and outreach strategies, partnerships with the disability community, cross-system collaboration, staff training approaches, registration and orientation, collection and analysis of data, individualized resource mapping, person-centered employment planning and monitoring. Also highlighted at this conference were continuous improvement related to providing customized employment services including using discovery at an individual and group level, the tie-in between employment services and building individual financial capability and involvement in the Social Security Administration’s Ticket-to-Work program.
LEAD Center experts will continue to work with NASWA and the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL), Employment and Training Administration (ETA), Civil Rights Center and ODEP to create an online Community of Practice and build the capacity of the workforce investment system at a state and local level to serve effectively job seekers with disabilities.