Disability Program Navigator (DPN)
This was a joint project with the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employment and Training Administration to place DPNs in DOL’s One-Stop Career Centers. The goals were to facilitate services for people with disabilities; improve access to programs and services; facilitate links with the employer community; develop strategies to meet employers’ recruitment and retention needs; increase employment and self-sufficiency for people with disabilities; and develop ongoing partnerships to take full advantage of all resources. In June 2003, DOL awarded cooperative agreement funding to 14 States to establish the DPN positions. In June 2004, DOL added 3 new States. In June 2006, DOL awarded cooperative agreement funding to an additional 13 States and the District of Columbia, and in April 2007 they announced cooperative agreement funding to 15 additional States and Puerto Rico. Eventually, there were about 500 DPNs throughout local workforce investment areas in 45 States plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. DPNs trained One-Stop Career Center staff members to help individuals with disabilities access and navigate the programs and supports needed to maintain and gain employment. DPNs facilitated the transition of young people with disabilities to help them obtain employment and reach economic self-sufficiency. They conducted outreach to organizations that serve people with disabilities. DPNs focused on expanding the capacity of the One-Stop Career Centers to serve customers with disabilities. Many DPNs developed cross agency “integrated resource teams” to customize resources based on an individual job seeker’s employment needs.