Promoting Employment and Economic Advancement: A Toolkit for CILs and AJCs

| Tool/Manual

This toolkit is dedicated to our friends and colleagues, Speed Davis and Jamie Kendall. Their work to promote independent living, disability rights and full inclusion is the noble legacy they leave behind and from which future generations will long benefit.

The Promoting Employment and Economic Advancement: A Toolkit for CILs and AJCs is a collection of resources for Centers for Independent Living (CIL) and American Job Centers (AJC) to deepen their understanding of each other’s services and structure to improve the lives of job seekers with disabilities through employment. The checklists, guides, and fact sheets in the toolkit leverage CILs’ knowledge and skills on disability issues and community resources and AJCs’ training and employment services to maximize the talents and skills of both partners and create a win-win-win for CILs, AJCs, and for job seekers with disabilities.

CILs and AJCs share a mission to improve the lives of job seekers with disabilities, but job seekers with disabilities often do not consider AJCs to be resources for their job search. Rather, they turn to other entities, such as going directly to their vocational rehabilitation agency, accepting facility-based work, or remaining unemployed.

In the summer of 2013, the LEAD Center conducted a pilot project involving five CILs and 16 AJCs. Each CIL increased their understanding of the services offered by their local AJCs and provided free disability awareness and technical assistance to AJC staff, as requested, to build the capacity of AJC staff to serve job seekers across the spectrum of disability. CILs educated job seekers with disabilities about what to expect when they entered an AJC and how to advocate for themselves with the staff of the AJC to obtain the services and supports they needed individually to pursue their goal of integrated employment. Job seekers received coaching from the CIL as they participated in the activities of the AJC and completed a questionnaire when they exited the AJC services.

During the course of the pilot, the CILs worked with the LEAD Center to develop tools that could be used by other CILs and AJCs. Those tools have been collected in this toolkit. The checklists, guides, and fact sheets are thorough and easy to read.

The following tools are currently available in the toolkit:

  1. Centers for Independent Living Guide to American Job Centers: Improving Services for Job Seekers with Disabilities
  2. Effective Communication: Disability Awareness and Etiquette Guide
  3. Accessing American Job Center Services Checklist
  4. Frequently Asked Questions: Using Customized Employment’s Discovery and Group Discovery Models to Promote Job Seeker Success in American Job Centers
  5. Common Acronyms and Glossary of Terms and Definitions

Additional documents will be added to the toolkit as they become available, so check back often.