[Excerpt] The Collaboration Brief series is intended to assist both generic and disability-specific agencies to work collaboratively and enhance their capacity to serve individuals with disabilities. To help agencies become familiar with their mandated and non-mandated partners, these briefs provide information that will contribute to better understanding of the goals, eligibility criteria, and policy parameters of the respective generic and disability-specific agencies; the development of expanded and improved collaborative relationships; and the coordination of resources, services, and supports. These briefs are consistent with and reflect the overarching goal of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)— to develop a seamless workforce investment system that includes multiple agencies and programs.
The series includes briefs on the One-Stop Career Centers established under Title I of the WIA and the one disability-related mandatory partner participating in the workforce investment system (vocational rehabilitation agencies). In addition, the series includes employment-related services and supports provided by other federal, state, and local agencies and programs serving people with significant disabilities, including Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Special Education. Further, the series explains the potential role the Medicaid program can play in supporting employment and the work incentive provisions in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs, and describes the Ticket to Work Program operated by the Social Security Administration.
Each brief provides information on the purpose of the program, eligibility for benefits or services, funding sources, administrative structure, and resources provided to support jobseekers and employers. Further, the briefs provide considerations for assessing the respective programs in each state and suggestions for the development of collaborative relationships.
The concepts and strategies of Customized Employment—a dynamic set of assessment and job development tools—will be used to contextualize the collaborative strategies discussed in each brief. Most importantly, the briefs show that no agency is alone or limited to their own resources in serving people with significant disabilities; this series should be used as a source for the basic information upon which cross-system partnerships are built. Collaborative relationships between One-Stop Career Centers, Vocational Rehabilitation, community provider organizations, and other systems that provide benefits and services will create new employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities.