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Advancing the Ideals of National Disability Employment Awareness Month

As we head into the final week of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), much progress has been in the disability employment movement. Momentum is obviously on our side. But, that does not mean the road ahead will be easy or as fast as all of us would like. Although, we do have much to celebrate this NDEAM.

In particular, finally, after more than a decade in the making, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The Act represents an important bipartisan effort to improve federal workforce development programs and provide new opportunities to advance economic self-sufficiency for millions of Americans with and without disabilities. WIOA will help workers attain skills for 21st Century jobs, provide supports to people with disabilities to enter and remain in competitive, integrated job settings, and foster the modern workforce that evolving American businesses rely on to compete.

Here at the LEAD Center, we are working tirelessly to advance innovative employment outcomes and greater financial stability for Americans with disabilities. It is in that spirit, we believe WIOA will transform the delivery of services to better assist individuals with disabilities find and secure employment – serving as a launching platform to even brighter economic futures.

With such a sweeping piece of legislation, there is bound to be questions on the law itself and implementation. To help, the LEAD Center has created a summary of the major provisions in the legislation pertaining to workforce development and vocational rehabilitation systems of particular applicability to individuals with disabilities.

In 2015, LEAD Center will create information materials and work cooperatively with selected cities, American Job Centers (AJC), and community partners to integrate financial capability supports and services into the menu of supports available to all job seekers at AJCs.

There are strategies, tools, and resources to bring to the customer in the AJC to connect financial capability development with career pathway goals. What could be a part of AJC services and supports? Join with us to start the conversation and build the solution. A possible list of activities includes:

  • Offer financial education classes
  • Guide customers with a resource map of community financial capability resources
  • Become a VITA site and connect customers to MyFreeTaxes
  • Add Money Smart to Resource room computers.
  • Change traditional needs assessment on employment to incorporate a financial health assessment
  • Add financial goals to individual plans for employment
  • Bring financial coaches and counselor to meet with One-Stop (AJC) customers.

WIOA can bring community resources together. Will you be part of the solution?

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