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Massachusetts Launches the Disability Program Navigator Initiative

MassWorks 1

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Originally published: 3/2004

Suggested audiences:

Focusing on the integration of disability, workforce development, & employment services


From the Coordinator

Welcome to MassWorks, our initiative for disability, workforce development, and employment professionals in Massachusetts. All too often, it seems, we work towards the same goals from different sides. With the many day-to day demands of our jobs, it's easy to miss opportunities to share ideas and resources across agencies. The aim of MassWorks is to bring information to workforce and disability professionals who have the goal of improving employment outcomes for Mass. residents with disabilities.

While ICI works with staff around the state, future issues of this newsletter will highlight new, interesting resources for workforce and disability professionals. Please feel free to contact us with your suggestions, success stories, and events that may be of interest to our readers.

- Cindy Thomas
Project Coordinator, MassWorks, Institute for Community Inclusion


Training Opportunities

Although it's too late to sign up for the New England Job Development Training Program, you can still take individual sessions. Winter opportunities include seminars on networking, accommodations for people with non-apparent disabilities, and job creation. Designed for entry-level to middle management employment professionals, these classes will expand your skills in delivering quality employment services to individuals with disabilities. Prices include breakfast, lunch, and all training materials. For more information, contact Drew Glazier.


A Look Back at the Mission: Employment Conference

The MassWorks Mission: Employment conference in June was a roaring success. Over 400 people attended, and we had to turn registrants away. Said one participant, "Mission: Employment was the best conference I ever attended and the first chance I have ever had to learn so much about employment in one place." Highlighting the strength of the state's commitment to the mission of improving employment outcomes for Mass. residents with disabilities, the heads of four major state disability/employment agencies spoke: Gerald Morrissey (Office of Disabilities and Community Services), Jane Edmonds (Department of Workforce Development), Elizabeth Childs, MD (Department of Mental Health), and Elmer Bartels (Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission). Pencil in a follow-up conference in 2006!


Massachusetts Launches the Disability Program Navigator Initiative

In July 2003 Massachusetts was one of fourteen states awarded funds to hire Disability Program Navigators to work in the state's 32 One-Stop Career Centers. Funded jointly by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Social Security Administration, this initiative is designed to help individuals with disabilities access the services and supports they need to reach their employment goals within the One-Stop system.

"We must do whatever we can to level the playing field to ensure that individuals with disabilities can access One-Stop Career Center services," said Jane C. Edmonds, Director of the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development. Founded on a principle of universal access, One-Stop Career Centers are required to serve all job seekers, including people with disabilities. One-Stop Career Centers also help employers with their recruitment needs.

The Disability Program Navigator initiative is designed to strengthen connections between disability resources and Career Centers. "The Navigator is a valuable position for our center," says Rosemary Chandler, Director of the Career Center of North Central Massachusetts. "Our Navigator, Donna, is cultivating and solidifying relationships with the key disability partners while promoting our services and resources."

The Mass. Department of Workforce Development/Division of Career Services is awarding funds to local workforce boards, which hire the Navigators. As of January 2004, 12 Navigators had come on board.

Working within Career Centers, Navigators will:

For job seekers, the Navigator will be an additional support person within the workforce development system who can help them to access services and overcome barriers. The Navigator will collaborate with disability agencies and providers, working to strengthen the link between that network and the Career Centers. The Navigator will be an important resource for Career Center staff as well. Says Rosemary, "Donna is a mentor for Career Center staff. She is developing a series of trainings for staff to improve their comfort level when working with customers who have disabilities. Our Navigator works full-time at the center so she is available to answer staff questions as they arise." With all segments of the workforce, employment, and disability systems experiencing demands for more services with fewer resources, the Navigator initiative provides an exciting opportunity to improve coordination and help individuals achieve better employment outcomes.


Disability Program NAVIGATORS

(Updated 6/05)

We encourage you to contact your area Navigator to learn more about how you can work together to improve employment outcomes for the individuals with disabilities in your community.

BerkshireWorks One-Stop Career Center: Pittsfield
Amy Koenig
413-499-2220 x214 - akoenig@detma.org

Career Center of Lowell
Robert McKintosh
978-458-2503 - robert.mckintosh@cclowell.org

Career Center of North Central Massachusetts: Leominster, Gardner
Donna Thibault (acting)
978-534-1481 - dthibault@detma.org

Career Opportunities Hyannis, Career Opportunities Orleans
Dennis Gonsalves
508-862-6600 - dgonsalves@detma.org

Career Source, Cambridge
Jennifer Hinde
781-932-5500 - jhinde@detma.org

CareerPoint Career Center: Holyoke
Leslie Dehey (acting)
413-532-4900 - ldehey@careerpoint.ma.org

Career Works, Brockton
Bruce Wright
508-513-3400 - bwright@donahue.umassp.edu

Employment & Training Resources: Metro South/West Career Centers (Marlborough, Norwood, Newtonville)
Benjamin Sawyer
781-769-4120, 508-786-0928 - bsawyer@detma.org

Franklin Hampshire Career Center: Greenfield
Deb Sullivan (acting) - dsullivan@detma.org
Ted Owczarski (acting) - towczarski@detma.org
413-774-4361

FutureWorks Career Center: Springfield
Richard Berrena (acting)
413-858-2800 - rberrena@futureworks-now.com

Greater New Bedford Career Center, Wareham Career Center
Liza Tobojka - etobojka@detma.org
508-990-4000

JobNet, Boston
Dwaign Tyndal
617-423-3755 - dwaign.tyndal@bostonpic.org

North Shore Career Center: Salem, Gloucester, Lynn
Sandra Efstratiou
978-825-7200 - seftstratiou@detma.org

Plymouth Career Center, Quincy Career Center
Thelma Williams
617-745-4000 - twilliams@southcoastalwib.org

Taunton Career Center, Attleboro Career Center, Fall River Career Center
Jamie Robinson
508-730-5063 - jrobinson@bristolwib.org

ValleyWorks Career Center: Lawrence, Haverhill
Karin George
978-722-7000 - kgeorge@detma.org


RESOURCES

Find your local One-Stop Career Center: www.detma.org/DETOfficeList.asp

U.S. Department of Labor fact sheet on the Disability Program Navigator initiative: www.doleta.gov/usworkforce/whatsnew/navigator-fact-sheet.pdf

ICI publications on One-Stops and disability: www.onestops.info


EVENTS

3/9: Social Security Work Incentives training. Boston Center for Independent Living. RSVP to aforman@bostoncil.org or 617/338-6665 x217

4/1: "Working Connections" Massachusetts Association for Persons in Supported Employment conference. Marlborough, MA, www.mapse.org

4/7: MassHealth information session. Boston Center for Independent Living. RSVP to aforman@bostoncil.org or 617/338-6665 x217


NEW PROJECTS AND INITIATIVES

The Mass. Department of Workforce Development has been awarded the Massachusetts Partnership for Youth in Employment State Alignment grant by the Office of Disability and Employment Policy (U.S. Department of Labor). The project will conduct statewide resource mapping and help local areas access resources for youth with disabilities to succeed in postsecondary education or employment. Contact Deb Hart at ICI for information.

The Center for Health Policy Research/UMass Medical School and the Institute for Community Inclusion/UMass Boston in collaboration with the Mass. Executive Office of Health and Human Services has been awarded the Medicaid and Comprehensive Employment Opportunities Infrastructure grant from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The grant will focus on state services and employment for people with disabilities.


For more information, contact:
Cindy Thomas
Project Coordinator
MassWorks/Institute for Community Inclusion
UMass Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, Massachusetts 02125
(617) 287-4312 (v)
(617) 287-4350 (TTY)
cindy.thomas@umb.edu

MassWorks is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, under agreement number No. WI-13385-03-60. The opinions contained in this publication are those of the Institute for Community Inclusion and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Thie MassWorks newsletter will be made available in alternate formats upon request.

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