Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Person-Centered Employment Planning Teams: A Demonstration Project to Enhance Employment and Training Outcomes for Persons with Disabilities Accessing the One-Stop Career Center System

Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Person-Centered Employment Planning Teams: A Demonstration Project to Enhance Employment and Training Outcomes for Persons with Disabilities Accessing the One-Stop Career Center System

Article excerpt

The One-Stop Career Center, more commonly known within the lay community as the Unemployment Office has been significantly re-engineered over the past 10 years in an effort to provide all Americans with a seamless continuum of employment and training services delivered by state, county and local agencies (GAO, 2003; Kogan, Dickinson, Fedrau, Midling & Wolff, 1997). The 1998 Workforce Investment Act (WIA) (PL: 105-220, 29 USC 2801) is the federal legislation responsible for this change. In essence, WIA mandated that all federal, state and county employment and training services be co-located and overseen by a Workforce Investment Board (WIB), a newly created administrative entity designed to help integrate previously disparate employment and training programs (Hoff, 2000). The intent of the WIA legislation was to reduce redundancies, inefficiencies and costs in order to provide easy access to employment and training services (Kogan). As would be expected, implementation of the WIA mandate has resulted in challenges to each of the independent entities that now comprise the One-Stop system (Berkowitz & Rosa, 2002; Gervey, Costello, & Gao, 2007; Gervey, Gao, & Rizzo, 2004). In addition to relocating and sorting out new working relationships with mandated partners, staff in the newly created One-Stop Career Centers is increasingly called upon to serve individuals previously underserved by the former employment and training system (Nilsen, 2002). For example, the State Employment Service (ES), a mandated partner of the One-Stop system is now expected to serve persons with little to no employment history (e.g., persons with disabilities, TANF and GA recipients). The ES was originally designed to serve a high volume of recently laid-off or dislocated workers within a program-driven, self-directed, self-service environment. It was not designed to work with individuals requiring a great deal of individualized, intensive, on-going assistance. Yet, under new Federal mandates, the One-Stop system, including the ES, is increasingly expected to serve persons with more significant barriers to employment and training, for example persons with severe psychiatric disabilities (Timmons, Fesko, & Cohen, 2004; Gervey, et al., 2004). In the former fragmented system, individuals with severe psychiatric disabilities would be served almost exclusively by the State Vocational Rehabilitation Program (VR), the arm of the federal employment and training system that specializes in serving persons with significant disabilities. In recognition of the need to re-engineer the One-Stop Center system to better serve persons with disabilities, the United States Department of Labor (US-DOL) through its Office of Demonstration Employment Programs (ODEP) and Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has been providing demonstration and systems change grant funds to States and County Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) (USDOL-ODEP Federal Register Notice, 2002; USDOLETA Federal Register Notice, 2002).

The Person-Centered Employment Planning Team (PCEPT) demonstration project, funded in part by the USDOL-ETA and the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, was designed to examine how the One-Stop System could deliver integrated, seamless, individualized and professional care to persons with disabilities entering the One-Stop Center.

Person-centered planning puts the person at the center of treatment planning (Marrone, Hoff, & Helm, 1997). The person-centered planning approach to working with persons with disabilities is an outgrowth of the consumer rights and consumerism movement of the 1990's and is consistent with the consumer-driven orientation espoused by the WIA legislation (O'Brien & O'Brien, 2002). Ostensibly, the person-centered planning process encourages the inclusion of all parties (agencies and individuals) involved in helping persons with disabilities meet their desired goals (Freeman, et al., 2005). …

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