The LEAD Center completed its inaugural year on September 30, 2013, working in close collaboration with its funding agency, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), to advance sustainable individual and systems-level change resulting in improved, competitive integrated employment and economic self-sufficiency outcomes for individuals across the spectrum of disability. Through partnerships with a dynamic collaborative of disability, workforce and economic empowerment organizations, the LEAD Center staff exceeded expectations by delivering on a comprehensive, high-impact workplan focused on promoting leadership, economic advancement and employment for people with disabilities. Major accomplishments of Year One include:
· Established partnerships with seven national organizations across different projects, 13 subject matter experts, and 16 knowledge transfer dissemination partners.
· Identified systems issues and developed policy recommendations and tools to improve integrated service delivery, employment and economic advancement outcomes for adults with disabilities.
· Hosted the first National Policy Roundtable on July 17 and 18 in Washington, D.C.. The Policy Roundtable brought together federal agency leaders, state and local agency policymakers and practitioners, and subject matter experts on cross-system collaboration to build a progressive vision that promotes the effective leveraging of resources, through blending and braiding, across multiple systems to improve employment and socioeconomic advancement of individuals with disabilities. Recommendations from roundtable participants will be shared with appropriate federal and state agencies to encourage greater flexibility in cost sharing among multiple agencies to address all of the employment-related needs of jobseekers with disabilities.
· Organized the first Knowledge Translation Annual Consortium meeting to explore the creation of a national consortium of federally funded disability employment-related Training and Technical Assistance Centers to increase collaboration and information sharing to improve employment and economic outcomes of people with disabilities.
· Launched the LEAD Center Website – www.LEADCenter.org – featuring the latest news from the LEAD Center, a resource center, blogs, social media engagement, calendar of events, an overview of the LEAD Center’s 2013 webinar series including webinar registration and links to archives and more.
· Generated more than 2.1 million monitored impressions through traditional, online and social media during its first year, helping increase engagement with and interest in the LEAD Center.
· Provided training to 3,185 participants via online and on-the-ground training events.
· Developed a strategic plan to test both integrating financial capability services for people with disabilities into municipal social service agencies in two cities to identify best practices and also the design of a strategic approach for integrating financial capability services in workforce centers across the country.
· Researched a national employer’s return-to-work and workplace flexibility policies at both its corporate and regional levels. The resulting data will be used to develop model policies and practices for enabling workers with disabilities to remain in or return to the workforce.
· Completed a survey of United States Business Leadership Network (USBLN) corporate members to identify policies and practices related to workplace flexibility and mature workers.
· Completed a Secret Shopper demonstration pilot, collecting data from secret shoppers/job seekers with hidden disabilities to better understand gaps in American Job Center (AJC) service delivery for this population. Information from the pilot will be used to develop educational materials on serving customers with hidden disabilities to be disseminated to all AJCs.
· Conducted Centers for Independent Living (CIL) Pilot in five CILs to foster greater partnership between CILs and AJCs and to increase utilization of AJC services by CIL customers seeking employment.
To hear more about the LEAD Center’s first year, listen to the LEAD Center Inaugural Year in Review webinar held on October 23, available through the LEAD Center webinar archive.