Section 188: A Blueprint for Improving Access & Equal Opportunity
In July 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor issued the Promising Practices in Achieving Universal Access and Equal Opportunity: A Section 188 Disability Reference Guide. Authored by the LEAD Center, with input and guidance from multiple federal agencies, this Guide provides updated information and examples to help American Job Centers (AJCs) meet the nondiscrimination and accessibility requirements for individuals with disabilities in Section 188 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. It serves as a practical resource for improving and promoting equal opportunity and access to services for job seekers with and without disabilities in the workforce system.
With demonstrated success in expanding universal access through application of the Section 188 Guide, the State of Missouri approached LEAD to serve as a 188 Pilot Project. In collaboration with the MO State Equal Opportunity Officer, the LEAD Center helped to develop surveys to capture real-time perspectives of AJC customers (both job seekers and employers). Topics in the questionnaire for customers related to the accessibility and overall environment of the AJC, disability disclosure and accommodations, and supports/resources available. For employers, survey questions related to their diversity policies, resources available such as employee resource groups, and accommodation procedures for applicants and employees. All responses were collected at the end of November 2015, and results will help the MO workforce system to plan and implement changes and improvements to ensure individuals with disabilities have access to the array of services and programs of AJCs throughout the state. Information gleaned from employers will help to improve MO workforce services on hiring and accommodating a diverse workforce that includes people with disabilities.
Join LEAD Center for a webinar in January 2016 to learn more on how MO state workforce will use the Section 188 Guide and survey responses as a blueprint for improving access and equal opportunity. Details will be announced early next year.