Services Available to People with Disabilities Within One-Stops
The Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) is designed to give Americans new opportunities and choices to train for the jobs of the future by modernizing job training to fit the training needs of today's economy. It provides the environment for a national workforce preparation and employment system. WIA establishes the "One-Stop" delivery system as the cornerstone of the workforce investment system. Contained within the WIA are four principles that are to guide the implementation of One-Stop Career Centers: universality; customer choice; integration of services; and accountability for results.
The intent of the WIA is for all services available through a One-Stop Career Center to be accessible to everyone who uses them. For example, it is hoped that people with disabilities will be able to utilize the same information resources and services as their non-disabled peers. Similarly, non-English speaking citizens will be able to access the services without language being a barrier. Through the One-Stop Center, every individual will be able to "obtain job search assistance as well as labor market information about job vacancies, the skills needed for occupations in demand, wages paid, and other relevant employment trends in the local, regional and national economy" (Workforce Investment Act Implementation Taskforce Office, 1998, November 12).
Under the WIA, individuals will be "empowered to obtain the services and skills they need to enhance their employment opportunities" (Workforce Investment Act Implementation Taskforce Office, 1998, November 12). Through self-directed use of available Core Services and being able to choose the qualified training program which best meets their needs, customers of One-Stop Career Centers will have increased control in the planning and implementation of their employment and training programs.
Integration of Services
"Multiple employment and training programs will be integrated at the "street level" through the One-Stop delivery system" (Workforce Investment Act Implementation Taskforce Office, 1998, November 12). Although not all of the 154 employment programs that existed in 1994 have been pulled under the One-Stop umbrella, those that can make the most difference in the lives of the greatest numbers of people have been consolidated. Although attempts have been made at integrating service delivery, the funding mechanisms remain separate for most programs.
Accountability for Results
The WIA specifically identifies performance standards that One-Stop Career Center operators, as well as training service providers, must meet to continue to receive funding. These indicators include job placement rates, earnings, retention in employment, skill gains, and credentials earned (Workforce Investment Act Implementation Taskforce Office, 1998, November 12). The "One-Stop" is the access point for employment-related training services. The underlying notion of the "One-Stop" is integration of the numerous training, education and employment programs, services and governance structures into a single, customer-friendly system. Customers will benefit from a "One-Stop" delivery system, with career centers in their neighborhoods where they can access core employment services and be referred directly to job training, education, or other services. Through the "One-Stop" system, every individual will have access to core employment related services.
With the passage of the WIA, there has been realization that people with disabilities are an untapped resource that can meet the needs of many employers in the current low unemployment economic cycle. One-Stop Career Centers from their inception were never targeted toward meeting the employment needs of individuals with disabilities. One-Stop Centers have, in the past, and currently do serve individuals with disabilities, but only those who can utilize the services created for the general public or for the special populations within a locality. The extent to which people with disabilities are served by One-Stops depends on the extent to which local disability agencies and organizations participate as partners within the One-Stop Center system. This is expected to hold true even with the implementation of One-Stop Centers under the WIA.
For More Information Contact Beth Bader Gilson