Kansas Workforce System Creates Partnership to Promote Employment
On January 22nd, experts from LEAD Center presented at the 14th Annual Kansas Workforce Summit. The theme was Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders in a Rapidly Changing Workplace.
Michael Morris, LEAD Center’s Public Policy Team Co-Lead and Lisa Mills, Subject Matter Expert, presented on Federal Policy Changes: Opportunities for People with Disabilities. This session, which was co-facilitated by Stephen Hall from Griffin Hammis Associates, discussed WIOA, Section 503 and other Federal policies that have recently aligned to support employment for people with disabilities. They also designed and co-facilitated a session focused on Building Consensus on Priority Goals and Strategies for Increasing Integrated Employment Outcomes in Kansas: Strategies for Collaboration and Coordination of Efforts within Kansas. This half-day session created an opportunity for open dialogue on promoting employment outcomes for youth and adults with disabilities. The session was attended by more than 60 stakeholders, representing state agencies and community partners.
The LEAD Center’s engagement was lauded in the Kansas Employment First Oversight Commission’s 2015 Report to the Governor and Kansas Legislature. The report notes that, “The Commission recommends state government embrace an effective systems change planning process regarding Employment First, where disability stakeholders are key partners in driving positive changes. The Commission notes that positive efforts are already underway that make this systems change effort possible, including: The positive involvement of the LEAD Center with key state governmental leadership in the Brownback Administration. The Commission commends the Governor and his Administration their active engagement with the LEAD Center in this effort.”
In addition, LEAD Center Customized Employment Subject Matter Experts are launching a multi-site pilot project in Kansas to promote Group Discovery, in partnership with American Job Centers and vocational rehabilitation agencies, as strategy to promote employment outcomes for youth and adults with disabilities. SMEs have developed and revised Group Discovery materials and approaches, a streamlined training for facilitators and a Blueprint for Employment, which focuses job seekers, their staff and support network on creating a job search plan. Group Discovery materials and training will be evaluated by job seekers and others involved in the process. They will be available through LEAD Center following the completion of the pilot projects.