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LEAD On! Quarterly Newsletter - September 2018

LEAD On! Quarterly Newsletter - September 2018 Newsletter

September 26, 2018

On August 8 and 9, 2018, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) hosted Employment First Federal Briefings on School-to-Work Transition, Provider Transformation, Interagency Coordination, and Mental Health practices that have been shown to promote competitive integrated employment (CIE) for youth and adults with disabilities. Fifteen federal agencies attended the briefing, including representatives from the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, and Justice, the National Council on Disability, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Social Security Administration.

The Federal Briefing spotlighted a statewide project in Oregon supported by the LEAD Center, which introduced Guided Group Discovery (GGD) into six schools in different parts of the state. Guided Group Discovery enables youth in transition to identify people who can support their job search; their skills, interests, and conditions of employment; and their “elevator pitch,” which highlights what they have to offer an employer.

Presenters from Oregon included Keith Ozols, Workforce and Youth Manager with the Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation; Kari Kingsolver, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in Grants Pass, Oregon; and Josh Barbour, Transition Network Facilitator from the Linn Benton Lincoln Education Service District. The Education system and state VR agency have decided to continue this GGD project in the 2018-19 School Year and is expanding the project to include additional school districts beyond the six districts initially included.

For more information on the Oregon GGD project, read the article on Oregon in this newsletter. Visit the Federal Briefing webpage for more information, including presentation materials, Top Ten Takeaway’s for each panel presentation, agendas, and speaker information related to the Federal Briefing topics of School-to-Work Transition, Provider Transformation, Interagency Coordination, and Mental Health practices to support employment outcomes.

As LEAD Center finishes its sixth year, we are proud of our many accomplishments. We designed LEAD Center’s activities to improve competitive integrated employment (CIE), economic self-sufficiency for youth and adults with disabilities, and inclusive practices across multiple partner systems of the public workforce system. Read on to learn about our resources, knowledge translation activities, and support to states in implementing the requirements of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), leveraging resources across systems, and creating partnerships that lead to improved employment outcomes for people with disabilities.

In Year 6, the LEAD Center:

  1. Advanced Customized Employment. LEAD Center continued to support the implementation of Guided Group Discovery and Self-Guided Discovery in a variety of locations. We released the Self-Guided Discovery Facilitator Guide with a webinar on Self-Guided Discovery: Helping People Discover their Own Path to Employment. We also added to the Guided Group Discovery (GGD) and Self-Guided Discovery (SGD) materials by creating an online GGD Participant Workbook. This online workbook enables youth and adults to easily update their Discovery information and share it between systems. Discovery manuals, workbooks, facilitator guides, and archived webinars are the most downloaded materials on the LEAD Center website.
  2. Promoted Youth Employment using Guided Group Discovery. LEAD Center launched a statewide Guided Group Discovery (GGD) project with transitioning youth in Oregon and supported a variety of employment projects with transitioning youth with significant disabilities in Philadelphia. The Oregon project trained facilitators from vocational rehabilitation (VR), schools, and workforce systems to work with youth in transition using the LEAD Center Discovery materials. Oregon school and VR staff implemented GGD in six different school districts in different parts of the state. Youth in most of the sites also connected with their local American Job Center (AJC). In Philadelphia, GGD was implemented in five sites, including schools, programs for adjudicated youth, and an afterschool program. These two projects have resulted in the development of a youth-focused version of GGD materials and supplementary GGD activities designed to engage youth in their transition to competitive integrated employment.
  3. Supported Equal Opportunity in the Workforce System through the AJC Certification Process and Section 188 Implementation. In order to increase knowledge of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s (WIOA’s) disability-related nondiscrimination and equal opportunity requirements in Section 188 and AJC Certification, LEAD Center collaborated with the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) Technical Assistance Center to offer a training series for state and local workforce partners. This three-part webinar series focused on the intersection between WIOA’s disability-related provisions, Section 188’s Equal Opportunity regulations, and AJC Certification requirements, especially as they relate to programmatic accessibility; the role of core WIOA partners; replicable strategies; and action steps taken by multiple states to implement effective AJC Certification processes, using Section 188 as the framework. Virginia, Missouri, and California shared their experiences, strategies, challenges and action plans through which they created partnerships and implemented equal opportunity policies and practices in their regions/states. Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the webinar series and related resources are archived on the LEAD Center website. A brief on the promising practices from the webinar series will be issued in October. Sign up for LEAD Center’s mailing list to be notified when it is issued.
  4. Collaborated on an Expanded Section 188 Disability Reference Guide. LEAD Center collaborated with leaders in the Department of Labor’s Civil Rights Center, Employment and Training Administration, and Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to update and expand the Promising Practices in Achieving Universal Access and Equal Opportunity: A Section 188 Disability Reference Guide, following the release of the final regulations on the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA’s Section 188). The updated Disability Reference Guide, which is expected to be released in October, includes descriptions of, and links to, the current regulations and extensive descriptions of how workforce systems/programs throughout the country are complying with the different requirements of Section 188. Sign up for LEAD Center’s mailing list to be notified when it is issued.
  5. Supported Career Pathways Partners in Creating Inclusive Career Pathways. LEAD Center joined with the Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC) and, more recently, the Southeast ADA Center to support a national Inclusive Career Pathways Community of Practice. The Community of Practice (CoP) meets every other month, using a webinar platform. Topics have included Career Pathways: Introducing Entrepreneurship and Small Business Concepts for Youth with Disabilities, Building Employment Opportunities through Inclusive Career Pathways, and more. Membership in the CoP is not required for attendance. To view past webinars and/or sign up to join the CoP, register on the WINTAC website. LEAD Center also created an Inclusive Career Pathways Desktop Guide: Information and Resources to Support Inclusive Programs and Services. Released in late September, the Guide is designed to assist workforce professionals and WIOA partners in locating information and resources to support inclusive practices in their programs and services.
  6. Supported Cross-Partner Systems Change to Promote Financial Capability for People with Disabilities in Louisville, KY. LEAD Center continued to support cross-systems partnerships in Louisville to increase inclusion of people with disabilities in financial capability programs implemented city-wide by both city and private programs. LEAD Center has supported the expanding work of LADDER (Louisville Alliance for Development through Diversity Empowerment and Resources) since its inception in 2014. LADDER, a collaborative of community-based organizations, workforce services, and financial institutions led by the Louisville Metro Government’s Office of Resilience and Community Services, supports opportunities to integrate financial empowerment in workforce development systems to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities. During the past year, LADDER alliance members from the Office of Resilience and Community Services, Center for Accessible Living, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, and the KY Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) collaborated on a highly successful new matched savings and loan pilot program designed to assist Louisvillians with disabilities to improve their savings habits and make more informed decisions about their finances. This program, LADDER Asset Building Strategies (LABS), has had very positive results in assisting people to become banked, develop healthy saving habits and set/pursue financial goals with confidence. LEAD Center’s work to foster pathways to economic advancement for people with disabilities, including LADDER, is highlighted in the Financial Literacy & Capability section of LEAD Center’s website.
  7. Advanced Financial Inclusion and Economic Advancement. LEAD Center staff supported a Financial Inclusion Team (FIT) Community of Practice (CoP) to build upon and expand the work done in Louisville. FIT is a peer-to-peer support network that focuses on strategies to support people with disabilities to improve their financial well-being. FIT includes diverse organizations from across the country that share a common interest in the integration of financial capability strategies within their organization, system, and/or city. One of the major achievements of the FIT Community of Practice was piloting innovative programs that integrate a Financial Well-Being Assessment into their service delivery practices. Through FIT, LEAD Center developed a number of resources, including briefs on Federal Regulations that Support the Integration of Economic Advancement Strategies within Disability Employment Services; Integrating Financial Capability and Asset Building Strategies into the Public Workforce Development System; Frequently Asked Questions under WIOA; and more. To view all of the resources, visit the Financial Literacy & Capability section of LEAD Center’s website.
  8. Provided Knowledge Translation and Capacity Building to the Field to Support Employment and Economic Self-Sufficiency Outcomes. In addition to briefs and webinars noted in other sections of this document, LEAD Center presented and exhibited at numerous national and regional conferences to public and community workforce professionals, disability services providers, and financial capability associations. Topics included WIOA implementation from a disability perspective; promoting inclusive career pathways; promoting equal opportunity in the workforce system using the Promising Practices in Achieving Universal Access and Equal Opportunity: A Section 188 Disability Reference Guide; implementing Guided Group Discovery and Self-Guided Discovery to achieve employment outcomes for youth and adults with disabilities; financial literacy and financial capability; creating cross-system partners; and more. LEAD Center staff also developed four self-paced online courses on Customized Employment, Guided Group Discovery, and Financial Literacy.
  9. Released Policy Briefs to Advance Employment Outcomes. LEAD Center released policy briefs on a variety of topics, including strategies to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities, and promising practices that promote the successful inclusion of people with disabilities into WIOA implementation. Briefs included a Neurodiversity Brief: Building an Accessible Workforce Development System: Recommendations to American Job Centers on Supporting Autistic People and Others with Disabilities to Promote Successful Employment; Reviewing and Updating your WIOA Unified or Combined State Plan from a Disability Perspective; Five Ways You Can Help Expand Opportunities for Competitive Integrated Employment in Your Community; and more.
  10. Used the LEAD Center Website to Enable Workforce, Disability, and Financial Professionals to Stay Up-to-Date on Current Resources. LEAD Center’s website includes a wealth of up-to-date information to support the work of workforce, disability, and financial professionals. In addition to the four major sections in the website, which include WIOA/Workforce Development, Customized Employment, Financial Literacy & Capability, and Cross-System Collaboration, the website hosts a Knowledge Translation (KT) Consortium. The Knowledge Translation Consortium brings together federally-funded Training and Technical Assistance Centers, each with their own unique mission addressing different aspects of employment, career readiness and development, transition, and accessibility for youth and adults with disabilities. Consortium members come together to share information on each Center's focus and KT activities. For workforce and disability professionals, a website page provides information and links to more than 25 training and technical assistance centers with resources and information related to improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Additionally, the LEAD Center website also hosts the web portal for DRIVE, Data and Resources to Inspire a Vision of Employment, in partnership with ODEP’s Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP). DRIVE provides comprehensive up-to-date national and state-specific data and other resources specific to employment and disability, WIOA implementation, state-specific policies and initiatives to promote disability employment, and more.

The LEAD Center recently released the brief, Building an Accessible Workforce Development System: Recommendations to American Job Centers on Supporting Autistic People and Others with Disabilities to Promote Successful Employment. This brief discusses actions that American Job Center (AJC) staff and employers can take to make services and workplaces more accessible to autistic people and others with psychosocial, cognitive, intellectual, and developmental disabilities (DD); this brief supports the creation of a skilled neurodiverse workforce.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) emphasizes the role of America’s Job Centers in promoting equal opportunity and increasing access for job seekers with barriers to employment, including people with disabilities.

AJCs are a place in which job seekers can access many employment support services, including assistance to job seekers with disabilities who experience high rates of unemployment and underemployment.

People with psychosocial, cognitive, intellectual, and/or developmental disabilities have the potential to become highly successful employees when they receive needed supports and services. The brief includes recommendations for AJCs in promoting the employment of people with disabilities. These recommendations include:

  • Work with employers to help support accommodations for employees with disabilities (e.g., collaborate with organizations from the disability community, use working interviews, advance Customized Employment (CE) for specific AJC customers who can benefit an employer); 
  • Hire people with disabilities as employees; 
  • Partner with self-advocacy and independent living organizations with years of experience supporting people with disabilities in the workforce; 
  • Adapt intake procedures and ensure that trainings and services are fully accessible to people with different disabilities (e.g., offer workshops online and in-person, support people who use augmentative and alternative communication devices, offer one-on-one assistance); and 
  • Ensure that job listings, job fairs, apprenticeships, and internships AJCs promote do not contain language or requirements that unfairly screen out people with psychosocial and developmental disabilities.

Read the Neurodiversity Brief.

LEAD Center released the brief, Five Ways You Can Help Expand Opportunities for Competitive Integrated Employment in Your Community, authored by Alison Barkoff from the Center for Public Representation. This brief can be shared with others who are interested in advancing employment for youth and adults with disabilities. It highlights recent federal and state policies that advance opportunities for Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE), such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Settings Rule, and state Employment First policies. These policies provide important opportunities for people with disabilities, their families, providers, and other stakeholders to work together in their states and local communities to expand CIE. The brief also provides suggested action steps, as well as links to useful resources.

The brief contains five sections: (1) WIOA implementation in your state, (2) implementation of the HCBS Settings Rule in your state, (3) improving the transition of students with disabilities to employment, (4) state policies to increase CIE and make Employment First a reality, and (5) keeping up-to-date on federal legislation and regulations influencing CIE. Each section ends with ideas for actions and activities in which you can become involved. These suggestions are followed by a list of resources for that section, including promising practices, important data from your state, and links to national organizations working to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities.

The official theme of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Disability Employment Policy’s (ODEP) National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) this October is “America’s Workforce: Empowering All.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a nationwide campaign observed each October that raises awareness about disability employment issues, celebrates the skills and talents of workers with disabilities, and educates about the value of a diverse workforce.

ODEP offers a range of resources to help organizations plan NDEAM observances, including official posters in English and Spanish, as well as sample articles, a press release, a proclamation, and social media content.

NDEAM dates back to 1945, when Congress declared the first week in October "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." The word "physically" was deleted in 1962 to acknowledge individuals across the spectrum of disabilities. The week was expanded to a month by Congress in 1988 and its name changed to National Disability Employment Awareness Month. When ODEP was created in 2001, it was given responsibility for NDEAM, including the selection of its annual theme.

“A workforce that empowers everyone is good for job seekers as well as job creators,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Over the past year, the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities has significantly declined. Continued steady job creation will provide even more opportunities for all Americans to get hired and provide for their families.”

The theme of NDEAM can and should continue beyond October. The Department of Labor lists 10 ideas that employers can use to promote a disability-friendly workplace throughout the year. Visit the DOL webpage and learn how to keep the momentum going.

For more information about NDEAM, and specific ideas on how different types of organizations can participate in the month-long observance, visit the National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2018 webpage.

As fall begins and students are returning to school, LEAD Center has already met with the transition network facilitators at our Oregon Guided Group Discovery pilot sites. Sites are gearing up to offer Guided Group Discovery (GGD) again at their schools, and the project will be expanding to additional schools during the school year. LEAD Center is collecting data from the pilot sites regarding students’ use of their employment blueprint, if they have secured employment over the summer break, and how they used the tools they learned during last year’s Guided Group Discovery classes.

All students were given a pre-test and post-test to measure their knowledge on topics such as knowing the services for which they are eligible and their comfort level on job interviews. LEAD Center also tracked individual responses as to how well students felt the Guided Group Discovery process worked for them. Students reported an increase in their knowledge of Vocational Rehabilitation, WorkSource, and Community Developmental Disability programs, as well as programs for mental health, work incentives and benefits counseling, Centers for Independent Living, etc.

Students reported that the most important things they learned were how to develop a networking pitch, conduct an informational interview, and identify their conditions of employment. One youth used his networking pitch to secure a part-time job before the end of the school year. Students reported an increased knowledge of their own skills and abilities, positive personality traits, interests, as well as disability disclosure, and requesting accommodations.

Below are just a few comments from some of the youth participants in answer to the question, “What did you find most useful?”

  • Discussion about job opportunities and getting teachers’ feedback.
  • Skills, interests, tasks, and positive personality traits.
  • How to have an interview.
  • Who we could ask for help when we look for a job.

LEAD Center offers a suite of materials on Guided Group Discovery including a Facilitator Manual, an accompanying PowerPoint slide deck (Introduction and Course), and a Participant Workbook. There is also an Online Participant Workbook, which can be completed using any browser. This user-friendly tool allows youth and adults to create a personalized Blueprint for Employment. Each participant receives a private link that allows them to add to, edit, or review their information at any time. The Workbook can also be printed out or downloaded to review with counselors, teachers, and others.

A Self-Guided Discovery Facilitator’s Guide is also available and can be downloaded from the LEAD Center website. We encourage you to visit the website, where you will find extensive additional resources on Customized Employment. There also are archived webinars on Customized Employment, Guided Group Discovery, and Self-Guided Discovery.

The LEAD Center just launched self-paced trainings on popular topics, including Customized Employment, Guided Group Discovery, and Financial Literacy. Participants can learn at their own pace, test their knowledge around key concepts, and obtain a completion certificate for each course. If you do not already have an account, register now on the NDI Online Classroom to access the LEAD Center courses and take advantage of this new training opportunity.

  • Customized Employment: Moving Beyond the Basics – Build your understanding of Customized Employment and your ability to use this innovative proven employment practice with people you serve. This training explores how to use information gathered during Discovery to connect job seekers to a vast array of employment opportunities using an alternative approach to job development that is effective for a variety of job seekers with barriers to employment, including job seekers with disabilities.
  • Customized Employment: Success Through Partnerships – Continue to build your understanding of Customized Employment and learn about people who are involved in implementing WIOA, directly or as a partner. This training highlights successful implementation of Customized Employment practices, including Guided Group Discovery and Self-Guided Discovery, in different parts of the country and provides resources to assist in replicating Customized Employment approaches.
  • Guided Group Discovery: Paving the Way to Employment – This course shares materials you can use to implement Guided Group Discovery through cross-system partnerships. You will learn about the many pilot projects in which Guided Group Discovery has been used, and hear from implementers from the public workforce system, their disability partners, and someone who has benefitted from the process. This course also discusses possible applications for youth and adults with disabilities, veterans, and people involved in the justice system who are seeking employment.
  • Financial Literacy and the Workforce Development System – This training features representatives from the Department of Labor (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), the City of Louisville’s Metro Community Services workgroup on Workforce and Financial Empowerment, and DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA). Presenters share financial literacy tools and resources to integrate within your workforce development services to equip the individuals you serve with the financial knowledge they need to improve their employment and economic advancement outcomes.

The LEAD Center continues to support the expanding work of the Louisville Alliance for Development through Diversity, Empowerment, and Resources (LADDER), led by the Louisville Metro Government's Office of Resilience and Community Services in the Office of the Mayor. LADDER works with agencies and provider organizations that embrace, integrate, and value a financial empowerment approach in service delivery. They also include employers supportive of employee financial health. LADDER partners are committed to the financial inclusion and empowerment of people with disabilities so that employers, programs, and services can help build a brighter economic future for all low- and moderate-income residents, including people with disabilities, in the Louisville area. Join the LEAD Center mailing list and/or visit the Financial Literacy and Capability section of LEAD Center’s website for information on past and future LADDER initiatives.

The LEAD Center sponsored an exhibit booth at the 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living, themed Mobilize: Resistance through Action. The theme was befitting of a conference that included a group of hundreds of people with disabilities marching through the rainy streets of Washington, D.C., to the Capitol building in the name of disability rights. LEAD Center offered information and resources that facilitate the type of action that is at the heart of the LEAD Center’s mission – to advance sustainable individual and systems-level change that results in improved, competitive, integrated employment and economic self-sufficiency outcomes for individuals across the spectrum of disability.

The conference, hosted by the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), attracted more than 1,000 attendees from across the United States and from as far away as Japan. The LEAD Center was on hand to provide information on LEAD Center projects and initiatives to a diverse group of stakeholders ranging from grassroots advocates, to staff and directors from Centers for Independent Living (CILs). One resource LEAD Center shared at the conference was Promoting Employment and Economic Advancement: A Toolkit for CILs and AJCs. The actionable checklists, guides, and fact sheets in the toolkit leverage CIL’s knowledge and skills on disability issues and community resources and AJCs training and employment services. The toolkit reflects the talents and skills of both partners to create a win-win-win for CILs, AJCs, and job seekers with disabilities. The following tools are currently available in the toolkit:

  1. Centers for Independent Living Guide to American Job Centers: Improving Services for Job Seekers with Disabilities
  2. Effective Communication: Disability Awareness and Etiquette Guide
  3. Accessing American Job Center Services Checklist
  4. Frequently Asked Questions: Using Customized Employment’s Discovery and Group Discovery Models to Promote Job Seeker Success in American Job Centers
  5. Common Acronyms and Glossary of Terms and Definitions

The LEAD Center also had a strong presence at this year’s 29th Annual National APSE conference in Orlando, FL. This year’s conference theme, Imagination Drives Transformation, brought together close to 900 people from across the country, as well as from Australia, Canada, Singapore, and Puerto Rico.  

The LEAD Center sponsored an exhibit booth at the conference, where various materials and resources were distributed. These included Guided Group Discovery and Self-Guided Discovery materials, information about the ABLE Act and Employment, and information on WIOA from a disability perspective, including a focus on Section 188’s Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity provisions. LEAD Center staff presented several sessions, including two preconference sessions. The first pre-conference session, Customized Employment and Discovery: New Approaches and Partnerships for Success, provided information on Guided Group Discovery (GGD) and Self-Guided Discovery strategies to support customized employment outcomes. The second pre-conference session, Let’s Talk Money:  Financial Independence for People with Disabilities Is Possible, gave participants an overview of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), including the impact of work on SSDI and SSI Benefits, the interplay of public benefits and financial capability strategies, and resources for assistance.

Other concurrent sessions included:

  1. Partnerships for Success: Demystifying Customized Employment for Employers, in which participants gained an understanding of the customized employment process and discussed the benefits of customized employment to employers;
  2. Promising Practices that Promote Effective Collaboration between Workforce & Disability Partners, in which participants learned how workforce and disability partners are improving access in the workforce system using WIOA's equal opportunity regulations as the framework, where to find promising practices in achieving universal access and equal opportunity, and how cross-systems committees are redefining roles to implement WIOA policies and practices that boost employment outcomes for people with disabilities. This session included examples of how state agencies that serve people with disabilities are working with workforce centers to increase employment outcomes for mutual customers;
  3. The ABLE Act: A Tool for Financial Stability and Employment Outcomes, which gave participants information on ABLE Act basics, the 2018 changes to ABLE, and how working and using an ABLE account can help one’s financial stability; and
  4. Financial Education to Financial Inclusion: Bridging the Gap for People with Disabilities, which provided participants with resources and strategies to promote financial education for people with disabilities, especially for people seeking employment and for people already employed.

What is SETA?

The Sacramento Employment & Training Agency (SETA), an agency that works in the City and County of Sacramento, was formed in 1978. From its inception, SETA has been an effective force in connecting people to jobs, business owners to quality employees, education and nutrition to children, assistance to refugees, and hope to many Sacramento area residents.  

How is SETA involved in assisting people with disabilities in finding employment?

Through its network of Sacramento Works One Stop Career Centers, SETA provides universal access to all job seekers utilizing Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding. In addition to job center services, SETA has operated a number of discretionary grants that have allowed additional opportunities for individuals with disabilities seeking employment.  

The SETA Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) allowed SETA to build the capacity of Sacramento Works staff to serve job seekers with disabilities through specialized training opportunities for staff and reviews of physical and programmatic access. The program and system-level staff formed a Disability Services Workgroup, whose members are Disability Services Navigators. The workgroup meets at least quarterly to discuss challenges, strategies, and best practices, and to receive specialized training. Key strategies of DEI include developing partnerships with local and regional service providers, as well as creating Integrated Resource Teams (IRTs) to coordinate service delivery with partners. Under DEI, SETA worked closely with partners such as the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), the Alta Regional Center, Crossroads Diversified Inc., Adult Education, and the Los Rios Community College District.

The SETA Disability Employment Accelerator (DEA) creates linkages and engages businesses in high growth industries. This program is designed to improve outcomes for job seekers with disabilities through vocational training, employer engagement, and earn-and-learn service delivery models. Under DEA, SETA works closely with employers to develop on-the-job training and other earn-and-learn opportunities for job seekers with disabilities, while continuing to partner with key service providers in the community and expanding on the IRT model of service delivery.

SETA also operates a Ticket to Work (TTW) program aimed at helping people receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) to obtain a job or stay employed. SETA is authorized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to serve as an Employment Network (EN) to provide services to SSI and SSDI recipients to help them transition from benefits to self-sufficiency through employment.

Where Can I Learn More?

Information on SETA services can be found at or  For information on services for individuals with disabilities, contact

Michelle O'Camb and Jennifer FischerMichelle O’Camb serves as a Workforce Development Manager for the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA), alongside colleague Jennifer Fischer, Workforce Development Analyst Supervisor. Together, O’Camb and Fischer oversee a number of programs including the formula-funded Refugee Supportive Services (RSS) Grant, the English Language Learner (ELL) Navigator Pilot Program, the Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) and Disability Employment Accelerator (DEA) grants, and the Ticket to Work Program. O’Camb, who has been with SETA for more than 32 years, also oversees the Contracts, Monitoring, and Performance units. Her broad responsibilities as a Workforce Manager uniquely positioned her to impact positive systems change and increased physical and programmatic access in job centers for people with disabilities throughout Sacramento County.  

The number and variety of programs in O’Camb’s and Fischer’s purview has also afforded SETA some very unique collaboration opportunities between programs and partners. Some of their proudest accomplishments include the creation and implementation of a staff and partnership-development training curriculum on Integrated Resource Teams (IRTs), and the implementation of the IRT strategy throughout the job center system. Some of the most interesting and impactful IRTs have been those that have brought in case managers from the ELL Navigator Pilot, DEA, and supported employment partners to help place refugees with developmental and other disabilities in jobs. Outcomes for each unique client are improved by combining the resources from multiple programs and partners, with the most important of those resources being the staff knowledge and expertise of programs, services, and target populations. For example, the acculturation expertise of ELL navigators, the workplace accommodation and disability resources expertise of DEA Disability Services Navigators, and funding for On-the-Job Training (OJT) from the DEA program come together to provide a unique menu of services based on a customer’s unique needs and circumstances.

The LEAD Center wants to learn more about how you use the resources on our website so that we can continue to improve what we offer. We ask that you fill out a very brief feedback form, which should only take five (5) minutes or less to complete. Also, if you would be willing to speak to us over the phone to discuss the resources you use, how you are using them, and any additional needs you might have, please provide your name and email address at the beginning of the form so that we may contact you. We promise to take no more than five to 10 minutes of your time. Thank you for your consideration and feedback!

Take the LEAD Center Website Survey.

1. Complying with Section 511: Approaches that Promote Competitive Integrated Employment for Youth and Adults

2. Neurodiversity Brief: Building an Accessible Workforce Development System: Recommendations to American Job Centers on Supporting Autistic People and Others with Disabilities to Promote Successful Employment

3. Blog: What the ADA Means to Our Family

4. Business 30-Second Training Series and Resource Guide

5. Workplace Education Videos: South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation 

6. FDIC Youth Employment Resource Center

7. Employment First Community of Practice: U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy

8. Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

Please note: The PDF generated using this link is not 508-compliant and is provided as a courtesy for those who wish to print the material. For a fully accessible version of this newsletter, please read the web-based version.