Disability Program Navigator (DPN) Initiative: Final Report

Posted by randee chafkin - On February 05, 2011 (EST)

With the passage of the Workforce investment Act (WIA) in 1998 came a powerful message that the training and employment needs of a diverse population of job seekers and employers would be met within a single, universal One-Stop Career Center system. As a key principle of WIA, universal access offers the promise of a welcoming, integrated and user-friendly system where job seekers of all ages from various racial, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and with a range of education and work experiences, can reach their training and career goals. For job seekers, including those with disabilities, who encounter any number of challenges to employment, the One-Stop Career Center system provides equal access, participation and opportunity.

To contribute to the groundwork established by WIA legislation, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (DOL/ETA) directed funds through the Work Incentive Grant (WIG) projects and the Disability Program Navigator (DPN) initiative. Both initiatives supported policy development and systems change activities within the One-Stop Career Center system to improve access and meaningful participation of job seekers, including those with disabilities and multiple challenges to employment.

Through a variety of innovative strategies and approaches, Disability Program Navigators (DPNs/Navigators) helped to expand the capacity of the public workforce system to effectively serve and accommodate a more diversified population of job seekers. As a result of these varied approaches, DPNs impacted the career advancement and self-sufficiency of a diverse population of job seekers, including those with disabilities, veterans, transitional youth, individuals who are homeless, ex-offenders and many other job seekers who are considered underserved and/or at-risk.

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