The Playlists: Disability Resources for WIOA Practitioners is a recently released set of 10, high quality 'playlists', each offering a selected set of links to tool kits, reports, online courses, and videos on topics related to improving services to individuals with disabilities, a critical goal of WIOA partners and practitioners.
• Playlist 1: Guidance for WIOA Programs, Service Providers, and Practitioners Working with Individuals with Disabilities
• Playlist 2: Including Individuals with Disabilities in Outreach and Recruitment
• Playlist 3: Disability Etiquette—Effective Communication with Individuals with Disabilities
• Playlist 4: Physical Access for Individuals with Disabilities
• Playlist 5: Technology Access for Individuals with Disabilities
• Playlist 6: Employer Engagement Strategies to Recruit and Retain Individuals with Disabilities
• Playlist 7: Individuals with Disabilities—Partnerships to Support Education,Training, and Employment
• Playlist 8: Legislation Relevant to Individuals with Disabilities
• Playlist 9: Guidance for Employers and WIOA-Related Service Providers Working with Students with Disabilities
• Playlist 10: Guidance for Employers and WIOA-Related Service Providers Working with Veterans with Disabilities
Collectively, these playlists provide a wealth of technical assistance resources to help adult educators, workforce development, and related service agency providers to collaborate on high-quality services for individuals with disabilities. Take some time to get familiar with these playlists, share your discoveries, and questions, and let us know what you think!
Disabilities and Equitable Outcomes Moderator
This week, the National Meeting for Adult Education State Directors held a session on the playlists, where participants shared how they are using, or planning to use, the playlists to generate greater collaboration between Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and adult education. Below are participants' suggestions for how the Disabilities and Equitable Outcomes Community can help to support states using these lists.
1. Given the reliance on technology to provide many types of instructional accommodations, participants asked for training on some features in Google, (https://www.google.com/accessibility/products-features.html), and/or other web and software applications.
2. Given the focus on employment under WIOA, participants asked for some examples of career pathways programs supporting persons with disabilities in the workforce. ExploreVR offers several upcoming webinars that will highlight examples from states using VR to promote sustainable employment for persons with disabilities. The ExploreVR site also provides research briefs and articles on other programs.
3. Finally, participants also suggested that having some VR-led webinars to clarify their role in working with consumers, and setting up referrals through adult education programs.
How do these ideas sound to you? What would help you to improve outcomes for your learners with disabilities? I welcome your input, as I keep exploring ways to support our work here in collaborating with partners under WIOA.
Disabilities and Equitable Outcomes
A participant at the State Directors' Meeting session discussing the Playlists asked a question that I forwarded to Dr. Juliana Taymans. Dr. Taymans is lead author of the Playlists, and a Professor of Special Education and Disability Studies at The George Washington University, in Washington, D.C.
The participant asked if the Playlist 2: Including Individuals with Disabilities in Outreach and Recruitment included any resources on peer-to-peer engagement. I thought this was an important area for consideration, and have asked Dr. Taymans to share her knowledge on what works as far as individuals with disabilities being included in the outreach and recruitment process of other adults with disabilities in adult education and career pathways programs.
Please stay tuned for Dr. Tayman's response, and feel free to share your experience in outreach and recruitment in your programs.
Disabilities and Equitable Outcomes Moderator
One of the comprehensive web-sites listed on the Disability Playlists is the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) – http://www.askearn.org/. EARN's resource on Employee Resource Groups is a good initial overview of what many businesses are doing to promote peer-to-peer engagement - http://www.askearn.org/wp-content/uploads/docs/askearn_employeeresourcegroup_factsheet.pdf.
Thanks, Dr. Taymans, for pointing out EARN's resource on Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). According to EARN, ERGs are "internal organizational structures within individual businesses designed to address the unique needs and issues of today’s diverse workforce. Also known as Affinity Groups or Business Resource Groups (BRGs), they are found in 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies".EARN goes on to explain that ERGs are usually open to all, and are often created for a variety of groups with common interests, including, individuals with disabilities. In the case of people with disabilities, there are four common types of ERGs—employees who are born with or who have acquired disabilities, maturing employees with age-related disabilities, veterans with service-connected disabilities, and employees who have children with disabilities, or are caregivers to adults with disabilities. I wonder what opportunities there may be for collaboration between disability-related ERGs, and adult education programs, under WIOA. Has anyone worked with learners who have participated in an employer's disability-related ERG? Or, has your program ever looked into collaborating with area employers' ERG programs to recruit workers with disabilities into your adult education programs? Mike Cruse Disabilities and Equitable Outcomes Moderator firstname.lastname@example.org
It was great to see all the various resources disability professionals had to self organize and piece together for years, organized into one set of resources. Thank you Dr. Taymans and colleagues. Michael, I think that business might have some reservations concerning internal groups in their organizations connecting formally with adult ed programs. I could see adult ed being involved with the company if the group identified a company issue that adult ed specifically addressed and it was referred to the company HR or training component. I could easily see adult ed programs reaching out to the administration of the company to be an external resource to the group or any employee who might need adult ed services. Adult ed has significant resources to offer companies under WIOA particularly in the area of AWD specialized skills training. The link below from FLDOE post secondary specialized vocational training basic and advanced can be designed to work with most industries to supply companies with skilled employees.
Thanks for sharing this resource, Dr. Taymans! It made me wonder how these resource groups might function in adult education settings, especially in outreach and recruitment. I was particularly curious about the four types of resource groups they mentioned for people with disabilities: disabilities of those who who were born with or acquired them, age-related disabilities, service-related disabilities, and parents and families of children with disabilities. How do others in this discussion community think resource groups would recruit and engage peers ?
One of the greatest supports we can provide our professional peers is connection, a feeling of not being alone and shared experience. This is the same for our learners; building a support system of shared experiences and is critical to their engagement. There is power in knowing that someone else is 'walking in your shoes.' The engagement comes from the relationships and sense of community being built.