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Oregon Guided Group Discovery Project

September 27, 2017

Guided Group Discovery (GGD) curriculum materials, developed by the LEAD Center, offer American Job Centers (AJC) and partner agencies a tool to assist job seekers with disabilities to obtain customized employment through a collaborative model. Guided Group Discovery is a set of strategies that can benefit any job seeker who faces barriers to employment. Typically, GGD consists of five to six weekly one-to-two hour sessions, co-facilitated by AJC staff and partner agencies to assist job seekers in developing a “Blueprint for Employment.” The Employment Blueprint, developed over the five to six week course, helps job seekers identify their interests, skills and contributions, conditions for success, support network, potential employers who need what they have to offer, and next steps. The Blueprint information is used to target specific job opportunities that “fit” the job seeker and also benefit the employer. Job seekers are encouraged to use their support team and take responsibility for action steps throughout the process.

In Oregon, the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Services held its first Train the Trainer workshop to train statewide Transition Network Facilitators (TNF) on the Guided Group Discovery process in order to meet some of the Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) requirements of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The Oregon Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Services Transition Network Facilitators play an important role in supporting teams involved in transition services throughout Oregon. Through this project, TNF will learn to facilitate GGD and, as a result, will recruit and train teams in their respective regions, consisting of Youth Transition Program (YTP) Specialists, Transition Specialists, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, and Workforce Talent Development Specialists, with the goal of supporting them to implement GGD with small groups of transition-age youth.

Keith Ozols, Workforce Youth Manager at the Oregon Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, said they are “excited to be a part of this.” The LEAD Center will support teams during the implementation phase through on-site and off-site technical assistance, providing materials, assisting with compiling data and success stories, and developing strategies for capacity building and scaling GGD implementation throughout the state.

Transition Network Facilitators (TNFs) participating in the training will also assist the LEAD Center in adapting the Guided Group Discovery exercises to be more youth-oriented (e.g.,  changing examples to be relevant to youth with little or no work history or experience). Recommendations from the Transition Network Facilitators will be incorporated into the pilot GGD sessions during the 2017-2018 school year and made available to others through electronic links posted on the LEAD Center website. Mr. Ozols said the two-day training workshop, held in August, was, “Well received by the staff that are going to be trainers. They think it can work well in both rural and urban settings.”

Expectations for teams and participants implementing Guided Group Discovery will include:

1.    Co-facilitation of GGD sessions between schools, Workforce, Vocational Rehabilitation, and other agencies as needed (e.g., Community Rehabilitation Programs, Corrections, Mental Health).
2.    Development of an agreed-upon process for data sharing. (The State of Oregon is working on an MOU, but teams may need a local interagency agreement and consents for release of information.)
3.    Enrolling or co-enrolling participants of GGD sessions in key programs (school, Workforce, Vocational Rehabilitation via Pre-ETS data tracking).
4.    Asking youth for their voluntary agreement to participate in follow-up so that TNFs can follow up directly with participants (if under age 18, will need parent permission).
5.    Transition Network Facilitators collecting data on outcomes for participants of Guided Group Discovery.

Guided Group Discovery materials include a Facilitator Manual, an accompanying PowerPoint slide deck (Introduction and Course), and a Participant Workbook. Please visit the LEAD Center website to download the materials and for additional information.