One-Stop Shopping and Vocational Rehabilitation

One-Stop Shopping and Vocational Rehabilitation

Ray Glazier

In the 9 years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-336), the nineties boom in the American economy has not yet translated into the expected growth in employment of persons with disabilities (Glazier, 1998). Americans with Disabilities have repeatedly and consistently told pollsters they want to work. However, figures from the Current Population Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Health Interview Survey and Department of Labor (DOL) statistics all show that the overall employment trend for persons with disabilities is flat; that is, employment has not really increased over the years 1990 through 1995, for which statistics are now available, although there is a small but significant increase in the period 1991-1994 for persons with severe functional limitations (Stoddard, Jans, Ripple, & Kraus; 1998). More than half of employed adults told the 1994 National Organization on Disability/Harris Survey of Americans with Disabilities that they found their jobs through personal contacts, suggesting that job-oriented government programs are not having optimal impact on the population of people with disabilities (Ibid., p. 40).

The Social Security Administration, having for years experienced great difficulty in returning disabled beneficiaries to work, initiated the Project NetWork demonstration in 1991 to test alternative methods of providing case-managed rehabilitation and employment services to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicants and recipients (Leiter, Wood & Bell, 1979). The initial process evaluation of Project NetWork by Abt Associates Inc. found that operationally it was “feasible to expand access to vocational rehabilitation (VR) services to a broad spectrum of SSA beneficiaries” (Ibid., p. 29). The study also found that “roughly similar results are achieved, in terms of client intake and provision of services, when case management services are provided by SSA staff, contracted out to state VR agencies or contracted with private VR providers” (Ibid.). The five Client Profiles used to illustrate Abt’s process evaluation findings (see Ibid.) show clearly the difficulties persons with disabilities face in navigating the too often fragmented non-system of employment and related support services theoretically available to them. In fact, observers like Oi (1996) fault the lack of coordination of services as a major factor in the dim employment picture of Americans with disabilities.

DOL’s One-Stop Career Centers initiative was launched in July 1994 with funding for states to plan, develop and implement one-stop career center systems; the objective was to provide the full range of employment and training services in a coordinated information and service delivery system for individuals seeking jobs and for employers seeking workers. One-Stop center systems generally provide the following core services: assistance in filing initial unemployment insurance claims, job search assistance, employment counseling, job information and referral to jobs, and information on education and training programs and services. Each One-Stop system is a working partnership of collaborating agencies and organizations: The Employment Service, Unemployment Insurance, vocational education, community colleges, vocational rehabilitation, and local nonprofit and for-profit organizations. All but three states and U.S. territories had One-Stop funding by 1998 from the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration; applications were then still being processed from Guam, Nebraska and North Dakota.

Among the tools employed by One-Stop Career Centers are four national electronic databases:

* America’s Job Bank lists more than 500,000 job listings nationwide.

* America’s Talent Bank is a computerized collection of resumes being piloted in seven states.

* America’s Labor Market Information System contains short-term and localized occupational projections.

* Occupational Information Network (O*NET) gives up-to-date details on which skills and qualifications are needed for specified jobs; it is being piloted in five states.

Vocational rehabilitation is intended to be a key player in One-Stop Career Center systems. To help ensure universal access to One-Stop Centers, DOL had appointed the late Rick Douglas, formerly executive director of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, as director of its Disability Initiative. Douglas counseled One-Stop Centers to partner with organizations of the disability community and nonprofit agencies serving them, like Centers for Independent Living, United Cerebral Palsy, Goodwill, and disability-specific associations, as well as state and local VR agencies. We contacted DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) for examples of One-Stop efforts to ensure access for persons with disabilities and linkages with VR agencies (please see below).

The Federal Workforce Investment Act mandates that the One-Stop delivery system become the single point of access for employment and training services. Section 121(b)(1)(B)(iv) of the Workforce Investment Act requires that programs authorized under Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 be One-Stop partners. This should be viewed as an opportunity to become fully involved in the One-Stop system at the local level in each state. Although the law does not describe what the partnership will entail in detail, it requires a memorandum of understanding between partners and the local One-Stop (Workforce Investment) board, which should describe the services, the funding for those services and how referrals to those services will occur. Rehabilitation programs now have an opportunity to access the full range of available One-Stop services for the use of their clients, as well as become an access point for other people who may need One-Stop services. While this may add some responsibilities, it should also add services.

In an effort to get a picture of One-Stop linkages with VR around the country, the authors undertook a small, nonrandom telephone interview survey of key informants in six states recommended by the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration: California, Indiana, Iowa, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. We found One-Stop Career Centers that varied considerably in the nature of partnership, from four local and state agencies to as many as 40 participating nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Facilities ranged from a strip mall with partners located side by side with separate entrances to a reconfigured state agency building, to a new facility specially designed for the collaborative effort with a central entrance and shared resource room, to a central facility with electronically linked branch offices in outlying areas. Some One-Stop Career Centers were in densely populated metropolitan areas; others served large rural areas with dispersed populations, and still others were in suburban locations.

More importantly, the degree of VR integration into One-Stop Career Center systems varied a great deal in nature and quality. Overall, the One-Stop shopping concept relies heavily on Internet electronic databases and linkages to facilitate employer job postings, job searches and job-seeker resume development and postings. In many cases, as in the Massachusetts Disability Employment Pilot Project, Internet job databases expand the horizons of VR community service providers as an adjunct to more traditional job development outreach efforts. Access to these databases and systems enhanced the work of VR counselors on behalf of consumers with disabilities to some extent, regardless of the physical proximity of location relative to mainline employment and training service agencies.

However, the benefit to persons with disabilities seeking employment seemed to be greatest when they could simply go down the hall to use an Employment Services computer work station, assuming it was accessible (see below). Conversely, the ADA mandate of universal accessibility of programs was more readily impressed upon mainstream agencies when facilities were co-located and the needs of VR consumers were immediately and obviously apparent to other agencies. VR counselors were better able to help their consumers feel less “different” by accompanying them to appointments with other agencies in the same facility, while mainstream employment counselors who detected a client’s disability could more readily get help from onsite VR staff with problems of accommodation and specialized services like job coaching or other supportive employment measures.

We found that a good number of One-Stop Career Center systems felt hampered by separate funding streams and confidentiality concerns that hindered information sharing. In one instance, VR staff had insisted on a separate, isolated work area in the design phase of a newly constructed One-Stop facility; they were perceived as purposefully insulated from other agencies in the new facility. Not only was there no effective partnership or true collaboration, but the separateness carried over into after-hours activities and social contacts. The VR isolation in this single instance seemed to be rooted in an institutional belief that only VR staff can understand and work with consumers with disabilities and justified to others as “protecting” them from people who are difficult to serve. The mandate for VR integration contained in the recently enacted Workforce Investment Act is expected to change this situation; interagency meetings are already underway to break down barriers at the site discussed above.

As regards the process of designing and establishing One-Stop Career Center systems, we found a number of measures that had been successful in facilitating partnerships that promoted VR involvement: One site held group trainings, monthly open houses and subcommittee meetings to help people from different agencies connect with one another; another site employed a trained facilitator as a consultant to promote interaction among the parties in defining their mission; in another instance, the county government administration mandated cooperation and lent staff members to facilitate it; one site focused initial efforts around physical design of a planned new facility that would house the partners together at the new location.

The Career Services Center is in Bakersfield, California, the largest city of Kern County. In a single location, it offers the combined services of eight entities, including the California Department of Rehabilitation, On-Track Employment Services and a California VR contractor that provides specialty job preparation, job development and job placement to persons with psychiatric disability. In the first 2 years of its history, the center opened at four locations in Bakersfield and cloned the center in nine other districts throughout the county in small, rural communities. Each of the One-Stops has a Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) agency–Employer’s Training Resource. The Job Opening Browse System, “Cal-JOBS,” allows employers to get onto the World Wide Web and review resumes from people seeking employment, as well as post job openings; consumers using the system can enter their resumes, scan job openings and even make interview appointments via the Internet. Employers can either communicate directly with the applicants or have them go through the One-Stop. The center’s web page is open to all people at all locations. In fact, the bulk of the One-Stop budget is computer-related equipment and services. The first phase of a Regional One-Stop involving the five counties of Central California involved the design of a regional website that connects local websites; ultimately the electronic infrastructure will be in place to permit sharing of information across the region and hopefully counteract double-digit unemployment there.

The Bakersfield Career Services Center’s One-Stop Network offers the following:

* Cal-JOBS computer job match system;

* computer classroom training;

* Internet access;

* Dun & Bradstreet CD-ROM;

* ERISS computer labor market information;

* resource and telephone room;

* 64 Sunday newspapers on microfiche; and

* specialized employer services representatives for the specialized needs of persons with disabilities, Native Americans, veterans, older individuals, laid-off workers, migrant seasonal workers, and youth.

For employers, the Bakersfield Career Services Center provides applicant screening, computerized job matches, on-the-job training, and a rapid response system for both employers and employees facing downsizing and layoffs. For job seekers, it provides networking, job search assistance, job placement services, on-the-job training, and skills training; JTPA training programs range from barbering to truck driving to computer-aided drafting and desktop publishing. The Career Services Center’s youth services include a school and community exchange and multi-agency job training staff available to youth; the Kern High School District and Bakersfield College are among the One-Stop partners.

The Stockdale Career Services Center, the largest of four Bakersfield locations, offers the services of the California Department of Rehabilitation (vocational, independent living and personal counseling; physical restoration equipment; job training and job placement; tools, equipment, supplies, and licenses necessary for employment; assistance with transportation; and other needed support services) and those of Employ America, the vocational component of Social Vocational Service, a California nonprofit organization serving adults with disabilities, (job development, matching and placement; job coaching; mobility training; vocational and personal counseling; a job club; and job skill assessment). Of the center’s monthly average of 450 job placements, more than 1 percent are attributed to the Department of Rehabilitation.

When public entities join together, a fear that they will lose something–money, staff, resources–is only natural. That is why the County Administration Office facilitated the amalgamation process, ensuring that the different groups could join together amicably and willingly. The level of anxiety was greatly reduced when the partners understood that they could better serve the population by joining forces. Barriers were broken down and people were acknowledged for their ability to contribute in different ways. Each partner agency and organization is represented on the Steering Committee of the Career Service Center, which has monthly meetings for communication and coordination purposes. The center also has an Employer Outreach Coordination Committee; job developers from the different agencies meet quarterly to avoid duplication of effort and are considering industry-specific, cross-agency assignments.

The Okanogan Job Service Center in Omak, Washington, is a rather typical One-Stop Career Center. It is physically located in the local Health and Human Services building, which also houses a community college, English as a Second Language, and other programs that utilize the building for classes and other resources. The combination of all these programs into one building is unusual, even for One-Stops. The center, which serves a predominantly rural area in north central Washington, not far from the Canadian border, has a 3-year history. Consisting of 13 JTPA staff, 15 persons working in employment services and unemployment insurance, and 2 VR specialists, the staff collaborates informally; there are no structured agreements. They jointly developed a task team to provide group instruction for all clients, via workshops, job clubs and such.

A research area with computer work stations is in the main lobby, affording everyone the opportunity to use the equipment and services that the center offers. However, they did not, as of last year, have an effective data-sharing arrangement where they could exchange information electronically; their networks were not connected. They would like everyone to have access to program-related information, but the state will not permit this for confidentiality reasons. An effort is underway to ease these restrictions through legislative action at the state level. The elimination of physical walls separating the agencies in the One-Stop is a metaphor for what the One-Stop initiative is intended to accomplish.

Consumers benefit from the fact that the center staff is local and strategically located in one place, so that staff members will have a better understanding of where the client is coming from and how they can best serve him/her. Agency staff personnel also benefit from close and frequent interaction in service of specific clients. They informally teach one another, for example, to work with new computer software. Diverse perspectives on the same problem or case contribute to optimal service plans. Making referrals is as simple as directing the consumer to another section of the building, and some work skills can be exercised before the consumer even gets to the jobsite.

The experience of this One-Stop center demonstrates that key players’ personalities and sense of timing play a big role in getting collaboration off the ground and in determining whether these types of programs will work in synch. A lot of adjustment and positive reinforcement are needed to make it work for all participating groups. Staff diversity here helped everyone deal with a sad situation: One of the VR people is from a local Native American tribe and was instrumental in helping the office consciously look at their customs and traditions. She facilitated the grieving process when a coworker died by incorporating her customs with the those of the other office staff.

The Iowa Workforce Development Center is located in Davenport, Iowa. The facility was remodeled to make room for VR’s physical presence in this center, which dates only to February 1998. The two agencies in this location were formerly 5 miles apart; their collocation is an advantage, but could have been enhanced if both had moved into a totally different facility rather than one agency making room for the other. The service is now more seamless because their clients no longer have to travel back and forth, although there is no common intake system. VR consumers can take advantage of the career resources, while staff feel their ability to work with all clients is somewhat restricted because of differences in funding streams. The agency relationship is sometimes perceived as lop-sided in that VR staff can only deal with qualified disabled persons, whereas the work force staff is able to service all people. Center administration aspires to involve other community agencies in the future by expanding their partnerships with other related programs. The most productive aspect of the collaboration is that they are in the same building, enabling clients to receive services more expeditiously.

Iowa is a relatively small state with little interagency protocol, where everyone in the work force development arena knows each other and has worked cooperatively for years. Various state agencies’ efforts were brought together in connection with welfare reform as early as 1986.

The One-Stop Career Network in downtown Eugene, Oregon, has been evolving over the last 3 years, but much of their computer and other equipment was only installed in April 1998. Four counselors rotate through the center on different days of the week. Staff provide consumers with instruction on using computers in their job search as well as with vocational counseling. A very conscious effort was made to ensure that the work stations are accessible and that the One-Stop meets the needs of persons with disabilities. The Talent Program, a grant disability-related technology program, is available for clients through a counselor who comes to the center once a week.

Since the center was established, consumers receive more comprehensive services and get them more immediately; counselors have knowledge about other programs; and relationships are stronger between clients and staff and partners. This facility is linked into the Employment Department, which helps that department and other agencies to service consumers with disabilities and puts more resources at the fingertips of consumers.

Although the center has good working relationships with its partners, one of which is Goodwill, every different local One-Stop center has to develop its own linkages with other agencies and programs. There is a felt need for statewide involvement to link programs and provide better technological support so that counselors do not have to duplicate efforts. Sharing data, confidentiality issues and more money for technology are key issues that need resolution.

The partner collaboration makes it quicker and easier for the consumer, providing more access to jobs and allowing clients to be considered for jobs that would not have been available to them previously. The costs are lower because of the interagency connections; the marketing people and job developers from different agencies are no longer duplicating efforts with employers; and more resources are now available for the VR staff to draw upon. However, sorting out funding for each consumer can be a headache.

The One-Stop Career Network in Lane County, Oregon, is in its third year of implementing a One-Stop grant that began in July 1997. The county is large and much of it quite rural. The state’s VR division is a very active participant, with three case managers who are involved in providing services to persons with disabilities at the One-Stop Center resource room and the resource room in their own facilities. Services are linked both electronically and physically at the local level. The One-Stop system consists of onsite Internet-based resources. Nevertheless, sharing information across agencies can be problematic. They are working on creating an Internet-based system and shared database systems among partners.

The importance of having common systems, systems that make it easier to share data, cannot be overemphasized. A common intake process and a user-friendly singular database interface would be preferable to the present referral process, in which different agencies use different forms. At the planning stage, it would have been helpful to have had the different agencies look at which kinds of hardware and software products they were going to acquire in order to avoid compatibility problems.

The center was contacted by Goodwill, which provides services to much of the homeless population. Staff found that homeless people had difficulty dealing with agencies. An innovative approach to this access problem is the mobile One-Stop van, which bring the center’s services to the homeless. This has helped get many homeless consumers, especially those with learning disabilities and cognitive impairment, to enroll in job training.

The Napa Job Connection has been functioning in Napa, California, since 1979. This One-Stop center houses the Napa County Employment and Training Center, which shares the space with other local community programs like the California Employment Development Division (EDD), local community action programs (CAP), child care, and adult education. The center packages services that include VR. The different partner agencies have differing determinations and eligibility requirements, which staff sometimes find frustrating because administrative actions take longer than necessary. The One-Stop would prefer to open more co-locations, as sites are too far apart; however, they do have the ability to mix and match resources, and there is a single point where services can be accessed, thereby saving consumers from having to make multiple trips to various locations around the town. The Job Connection serves a total of 600 to 1,000 people per year and, with very high placement rates, it is considered a very successful program.

The center’s “The Hub” website, www.gotothehub.com, provides employers with the means to post job openings and review resumes as well as business planning and development services, employment news, and industry cluster information, including coverage of permits and licenses, taxes and business law. Job seekers can get online help with resume writing and posting, career planning, interest inventories, occupational outlook information, college planning guides, literacy, English as a second language, and information on educational programs. The website’s reference shelf includes census data, consumer/producer price indexes and information on government resources, grants and grant writing, housing, transportation, and child care options.

The Council Bluffs, Iowa, One-Stop Center is in a business mall, which used to be a shopping mall. The four partners, including Iowa VR, all maintain individual entrances and spaces within the mall, but they are located side by side. There is not a central point of entry or a common intake process. Other state agencies are also in the mall that are not part of the One-Stop, including the Department of Human Services. Although the One-Stop has been operating for 3 years, it was not fully functional until the Iowa Workforce Development agency moved in a little over a year ago. Approximately 20 percent of the adults that JTPA services have disabilities, as do 30 percent of the youth. These programs co-fund with VR.

Among the advantages are the following:

* There is increased ability to share information and utilize different services.

* Staff can now exchange information and access information that they could not have before.

* All partners provide better services to their various constituencies.

In the past, each agency would have to send people across town and hope that they reached their destination. Now they can walk each client to the appropriate partner agency and make sure that contact is made between the partner and the consumer. Clients have access to a greater number of services, and the partners’ proximity to one another enables staff to have a lot more collaboration.

Consumers are able to cut down on the amount of time it takes to access resources and can participate in group training. Staff can do job sharing and cross-training. Agencies that are not partners still have collaborated with the One-Stop Center and its agencies. For example, the Department of Human Services has donated computer equipment and played a role in creating the One-Stop Center’s computer resource room.

A problem in the beginning was that each One-Stop partner had a different already existing lease. They had to coordinate when and where each agency could move into the newly acquired building. There were also differences in program definitions and some confidentiality issues. Each agency had different rules and regulations, and each was restricted in what information it could release to one another concerning its clients.

The Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has compiled the following reports on self-service One-Stop/VR partnerships for computer workstation and kiosk accessibility developed to date.

Madison, Wisconsin–The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has developed workstations that make JobNet, Wisconsin’s statewide link of employers and job seekers more accessible to Wisconsin citizens. The accessible Job-Net workstations are the result of a collaborative effort between DWD’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), the Division of Workforce Excellence and the Bureau of Information Technology.

Two different types of workstations have been developed that are accessible to people with disabilities. The workstations were developed by utilizing off-the-shelf technology. The workstations have been piloted in the Madison DVR Office since 1996. The pilot project was still ongoing last year, and these prototypes were to change based upon customer feedback. One of the workstations utilizes a touch-screen system that offers access to JobNet, the self-service computer system for accessing jobs in the State of Wisconsin. The other is a workstation that offers access to JobNet via the World Wide Web on the Internet and is accessible to people who could not use a touch-screen system, such as people who have low vision or are blind, as well as people who are unable to use their hands. Both work stations have adjustable furniture that can be raised and lowered to accommodate individual needs, are designed to accommodate wheelchairs, have universal workstation aids, and are also useable by the general public. Customers wishing to use these workstations will usually meet first with an accessibility coordinator, who will help them to determine which would best serve their needs and provide training on its use.

The touch-screen workstation, which is designed to accommodate customers whose disabilities allow them to use a touch screen or track ball, has a 17-inch monitor that can be raised or lowered. People who are unable to touch the screen with their hands can use a mouth stick or a trackball.

The Internet workstation has a 21-inch monitor that slides forward for better viewing and is equipped with a standard keyboard as well as a large print keyboard for easy viewing, screen magnification software, screen reading software, a speech synthesizer, voice recognition (also known as speech input) software, and Braille printing.

The Trace Research and Development Center at the University of Wisconsin has provided technical assistance to DWD personnel in the development of their accessible workstations and to the California Electronic One-Stop Steering Committee in the development of its performance guidelines for designing workstations and kiosks accessible to people with special needs. The center, which receives funding from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), U.S. Department of Education, has developed a set of “EZ Access Features” that can be built into standard, commercially available kiosks and workstations, making them accessible to a wide range of people. These features do not change the way that the devices look or operate for people who can use them in their standard mode, but are easily activated by people who need an alternative mode.

Kiosks designed using EZ Access Features can include the following options: Talking Touch and Confirm, Speed List, Auto Scan, hearing aid compatible handsets or a headphone jack, and an infrared link. The Talking Touch and Confirm feature enables the kiosk to read aloud information on the screen, including descriptions of icons or graphically displayed information. The Speed List feature provides people who are blind quick and easy access to information in the form of a vertical list on the touch screen. An infrared link enables people who are blind, deaf-blind, or who have other severe physical impairments to use special aids, such as Braille devices, in conjunction with the kiosk.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press (a subsidiary of Knight Ridder Corporation) has deployed 34 accessible stand-alone touch screen kiosks, utilizing the Trace Center’s EZ Access Features, throughout the Twin Cities, including Mall of America. The kiosks are present in government offices, colleges, libraries, and major malls in the Twin Cities area. The kiosk service, called JobView[TM], allows job seekers free access to over 3,300 job listings and to view, print or apply for jobs at their convenience. The network is updated weekly, with one of the most popular features of Job View being the “Hot Company” profile, which allows employers to provide job information with the use of full color and graphics.

People who are hard of hearing or deaf can read the text on the screen, while others can listen to the talking kiosks. All JobView[TM] features and actions are described in the text. People who have low vision, difficulty reading English, a learning disability, or some impairment of the hands can activate the Talking Touch and Confirm feature. Selections are activated by touching a confirmation button. The speed of the Talking Touch voice can also be regulated to adjust the speed, pitch or volume. The Talking Touch feature can also be used with the onscreen QWERTY keyboard by people who have low vision, are blind or have mild impairments of the hands, as selections are activated only after pressing a confirmation button.

People who are blind can utilize the Speed List feature. The items are read aloud as when a finger runs down the list. Selections are activated by pressing a separate confirmation button. The Speed List feature provides such quick and easy access to information, that blind users are frequently able to select the same information as sighted users at a faster rate.

In Louisville, Kentucky, The Workforce Development Cabinet–which includes the Departments of Employment Security and Vocational Rehabilitation, the Department for the Blind and One-Stop–has deployed accessible workstations in five different One-Stop Centers (two in the Louisville metropolitan area, one in Owensboro, one in suburban Cincinnati, and one in Eastern Kentucky) and plans to make these workstations available throughout the state. Equipped with 17-inch monitors, a voice recognition system called Dragon Dictate, a standard keyboard, a mouse, a trackball, and an Intelli-keyboard that features enlarged keys that require much less pressure to activate than a standard keyboard, the workstations are also outfitted with the Head Master and the Wivik onscreen keyboard. The Head Master controls the onscreen keyboard via an infrared link. Individuals using the Head Master “sip and puff” through a plastic straw-like device to activate keys on the screen. The Head Master also has a Dwell feature that allows the user to activate an onscreen key by focusing the Head Master on it for a predetermined amount of time. The onscreen keyboard mode may also be used with a trackball or other mouse device.

The Kentucky Department for the Blind is collaborating with the Kentucky One-Stop System on the second generation of the Louisville area pilot. Once all of the features from both prototypes have been selected, they will be installed on workstations and deployed throughout the state. These second generation workstations are equipped with 20-inch monitors, Intelli-keyboards, Kensington Trackballs (a trackball fitted into a slot that can be manipulated using either the forearm or the hand), text to Braille interface, and “sticky keys” which allow users to hold keys down for longer periods of time and avoid multiple entries from the same key. The workstations will be equipped with Dragon Dictate Naturally Speaking, screen magnification software (Zoom Text Extra Level 2) and speech reader software (JAWS for Windows 3.2).

Zoom Text Extra Level 2 and JAWS for Windows 3.2 are the latest versions released by their respective companies and have been designed with some significant enhancements. Zoom Text Extra Level 2 not only provides screen magnification of either the entire screen or the movements of the mouse across the screen, but also has split screen capabilities, both horizontally and vertically, and can verbally confirm each word of text entered. Workstations will be equipped with a Closed Circuit TV system, which is the technology that enables split screen presentation and modification of both the foreground and background color of the screen by the user. Workstations will also include scanning software with optical character recognition (OCR), which has the capability to scan text from a hard copy and read the text back to the user, while highlighting each word of text on screen in large print and in color (a benefit for both people with low vision and those with learning disabilities). The Department for the Blind is also testing the Head Master and the Wivik onscreen keyboard on this prototype. Deployment is expected before the end of this year.

Minnesota is deploying one “super accessible workstation” in each Workforce Center, with the goal of making self-service accessible to a wide range of One-Stop customers with disabilities. The workstations will feature fully motorized and height adjustable workstation tables; 17-inch color monitors (to accommodate Zoom Text); Kensington trackballs; ergonomic armrests, footrests and chairs; a “Boom Mic” (to enable the user to input voice commands for Dragon Dictate); reduced size keyboards to accommodate people with a limited range of motion; and Tracker, a hands-free mouse that acts as an alternate input control system.

Minnesota utilizes AT&T’s Translation Service for customers who do not speak English. Minnesota is planning the implementation of the National Federation of the Blind’s Job Line, which will provide an alternative access (via the telephone) to job listings for customers who are blind. Minnesota is also planning the installation of a self-access computer-based system called Choices CT, to be installed in all Workforce Centers to enable the customer to explore interests and skills and conduct labor market research from the O*NET system.

In Vermont, the Department of Employment and Training (DET) has worked with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to equip all One-Stop Centers with assistive technology. The Morrisville One-Stop Center, where a VR staff person was stationed one day each week, served as the pilot for this project. In addition, in an effort to provide special employment placement services to individuals with disabilities, VR will fund a DET position to work only with VR consumers. DET and DVR both believe that the partnership and availability of assistive technology has increased the quality of employment outcomes (i.e., starting salaries and benefits) for new hires who have disabilities.

All resource centers are equipped with adjustable workstations to accommodate people using wheelchairs, Zoom Text (screen magnification and screen reading) for people with low vision and TTY and FM Loop for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. The FM Loop enables hard of hearing customers to participate in training with other customers and to engage in one-on-one counseling with One-Stop or VR staff. Deaf or hard of hearing customers can access jobs remotely via the Internet and communicate their interest in specific jobs via the TTY.

One-Stop customers who are computer phobic or do not own a computer–including those who have low vision or are blind–but would like the convenience of searching for jobs from home can use Vermont’s toll-free telephone online system. Once registered, customers can phone in jobs of interest to their closest One-Stop Center for a referral. The center will look for job and skills matches and arrange an interview.

These technology-related developments and the findings of our informal survey of several states demonstrate the benefits of One-Stop/VR collaboration. By bundling together employment services and information and including VR in the bundle, One-Stop shopping brings job seekers with disabilities into the mainstream labor market. At the same time, it has promise for letting employers know that the VR population constitutes a largely untapped labor pool with great potential. There is a large body of information about the One-Stop Career Center system on the World Wide Web, including state newsletters, One-Stop reports and information on the One-Stop Disability initiative at ETA’s home page, www.doleta.gov, and. state-by-state information on One-Stops online at www.icesa.org. Lists of state and regional contact persons and a great amount of current information on the One-Stop Career Center System is available at www.ttrc.doleta.gov/onestop/ (Note that “onestop” is not hyphenated in the URL).

Acknowledgement

The authors wish to express their gratitude to Abt’s April Silva for her reporting skills.

Bibliography

[1.] Glazier, R. (1998, Fall). Jobs and the ADA. Disability Issues, 18,(3): 1,6,8. (Arlington Heights, MA; Information Center for Individuals with Disabilities).

[2.] Leiter, V., Wood, M.L., & Bell, S.H. (1997). Case management at work for SSA disability beneficiaries: Process results of the Project Network return-to-work demonstration. Social Security Bulletin 60, (10), 29-48.

[3.] Oi, W.Y. (1996). Employment and benefits for people with diverse disabilities. In J.L. Mashaw, V. Reno, R.V. Burkhauser, & M. Berkowitz (Eds.). Disability, work, and cash benefits. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

[4.] Stoddard, S., Jans, L., Ripple, J., & Kraus, L. (1998). Chartbook on work and disability in the United States. Washington, DC: InfoUse report for the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

One-Stop Information Contacts

California

Dennis Ferrell

(805) 868-8367

The Career Services Center

in Bakersfield,

Kern County, CA

On Track Employment

Services

Donna DeWeerd

(707) 253-4291

The Napa Job Connection

in Napa, CA

www.co.napa.ca.us

Contact: Marty Finnegan

Indiana

Dennis Goodwin

(765) 641-6509

One-Stop Coordinator for Job

Source in Anderson, IN

Iowa

Joe Keeney

(319) 445-3200

Iowa Workforce Development Center

in Davenport, IA

Oregon

Jeff Webb

(541) 726-2573

One Stop Career Network

in Eugene, Lane County, OR

Branch Manager of the

Vocational Rehabilitation Office in Springfield

Fielding Cooley

(541) 984-7235;

Fax: (541) 686-3570

One Stop Career Network

in Eugene, Lane County, OR

Member of the Private

Industry Council

Jess Kappel

(503) 257-4412

East County One Stop

in Multnomah County, OR

Executive Committee Member

Southeast Works in Portland,

Multnomah County, OR

Employer Council Member

Utah

Roger Halladay

(435) 865-6543

Project Opportunity

Employment Center Manager

for Cedar City (UT) Workforce Services

Washington

Linda Skinner

(509) 826-7543,

e-mail: ok_jsc@televar.com

Okanogan Job Service Center

in Omak, WA

Mr. Glazier, a wheelchair user with multiple disabilities, is an associate of the social research firm of Abt Associates Inc. and manager of Abt’s Center for the Advancement of Rehabilitation and Disability Services in Cambridge, MA. He is a former Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) client whose current research interests focus on vocational rehabilitation and support services, particularly personal assistance services (PAS). He directs Abt’s participation in the program evaluation of MRC’s Disability Employment Project. Ms. Tillmon is a consultant with the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.

COPYRIGHT 1999 U.S. Rehabilitation Services Administration

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group