Ready and Able: Enhancing the One-Stop System in Kansas to Increase the Employment of People with Disabilities
University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning, Division of Adult Studies
Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns with
Local Workforce Investment Board for Local Area II/Heartland Works
The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration
June 2002 – June 2004
Despite a large and growing population of people with disabilities in northeast Kansas, few people with disabilities who are eligible to work are currently employed. One of the reasons for this disparity seems to be the lack of easily accessible, specific, and tailored career resources for people with disabilities. In an effort to help improve upon this possibility, the Division of Adult Studies worked to enhance services and products available to persons with disabilities in the Workforce Centers in Manhattan, Topeka, Junction City, Atchison, and Lawrence. This project focused on establishing a comprehensive web resource appropriate to the needs of persons with disabilities who are looking for work as well as to the Workforce Center staff who are serving those same persons. Grant activities also provided for targeted training of Workforce Center staff to improve service delivery for persons with disabilities and facilitating the use of appropriate assistive technology by Workforce Center staff.
Elements of this comprehensive strategy include:
Website Development – Development of a comprehensive website for Area II Workforce Center customers, staff, and employers. The Disability Resources website includes sections on:
- Information and resources for defining disabilities, understanding disability benefits and policy, and basics to working with people with disabilities
- Information, resources, and tools for using assistive technology available in the Workforce Centers (specific to Region II in Kansas)
- An online Community Resource Directory that is database of the area’s agencies and services that is searchable by location, keyword, or categories of need
- An outline of the Adult Learning Disabilities Screening Tool
- A Resource Checklist, a survey designed to help customers locate resources and agencies in their community that can help with their specific needs
- Information for prospective employers, including the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, tax incentives, and accommodation issues
- Career development information and links to help customers, as well as, staff provide more targeted help for people with disabilities
- A website “Quick Reference Guide” for all Workforce Center staff
Staff Development – Training for Workforce Center staff on:
- Using the Disability Resources website to assist customers
- Use of various adaptive technology equipment on the assessable workstations in their center
- Information and etiquette for working with customers with disabilities
- Basic career counseling skills.
Recruitment – Development and implementation of a recruitment strategy targeting persons with disabilities and their advocates and referral agencies to access Workforce Centers.
Marketing – Development and implementation of a marketing strategy that targets generic community services and especially employers to take advantage of the Workforce Center as an employment and training center.
Education - Facilitate a symposium for all Kansas Workforce Center administrators and their teams of invited partners to demonstrate the viability of the Disability Resources website and present information on new programs and resources available for serving the employment needs of persons with disabilities.
Richard Johnson, Project Coordintor
Website: Disability Resources