LEADOn! Article

Release of Guided Group Discovery Materials as a Universal Design to Promote Employment Outcomes


The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the LEAD Center recently released materials and resources for use by workforce professionals to implement Guided Group Discovery (GGD), most effectively used through cross-system partnerships. Guided Group Discovery is a set of strategies that can benefit any job seeker who faces barriers to employment. GGD is a universal design approach used in public and private workforce development programs (e.g., American Job Centers, community rehabilitation providers, schools, etc.) to enable youth and adults with disabilities, and others, to secure and maintain employment. GGD is most effective when sessions are co-facilitated by multiple partners. These strategies serve as an alternative assessment tool that identifies the strengths and ideal conditions of employment for job seekers with and without disabilities, resulting in a “blueprint” to guide job development. Additionally, the GGD process assists job seekers in identifying employment that would be a good fit both for them and employers. Discovery is the cornerstone of customized employment, which increasingly is being used as a universal design approach by workforce development professionals and their partners.

The process of Guided Group Discovery results in a positive written description of each job seeker that provides insight into the settings and circumstances in which he or she is most likely to be successful. This information becomes part of a person’s Blueprint for Employment, which guides their employment planning process to match people and businesses to meet the needs of both.

LEAD Center has supported pilot projects implementing Guided Group Discovery in American Job Centers (also known as One-Stop Career Centers) in collaboration with a variety of partners, including vocational rehabilitation, developmental disabilities, behavioral health, Centers for Independent Living, homeless services providers, school systems, and others. By facilitating groups with partners, job seekers can get support from multiple systems, and agencies can leverage each other’s resources.

To support these efforts, LEAD Center developed a Guided Group Discovery Facilitator Guide, which is designed to train people to facilitate Guided Group Discovery sessions with youth and/or adults with disabilities, and/or others who experience barriers to employment, as well as a Participant Workbook and a PowerPoint presentation, which can be used to train additional facilitators. A Guided Group Discovery Online Workbook has recently been added to this suite of materials. This user-friendly tool allows youth and adults to create a personalized Blueprint for Employment. Each participant receives a private link that allows them to add to, edit, or review their information at any time. The Workbook can also be printed out to review with counselors, teachers, and others.

A recorded webinar, Guided Group Discovery: Paving the Way to Employment, has also been archived, including a transcript of the webinar. The webinar includes information about the many pilot projects in which Guided Group Discovery has been used and information directly from implementers from the public workforce system and a variety of partners.