The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) identifies individuals with disabilities as among the constituencies to be served by One-Stop Career Centers. Due to a variety of factors, including lack of an overall One-Stop data collection system, no clear way to identify disability in the system, and non-disclosure of disability by many customers, it is difficult to ascertain the exact level of One-Stop usage by people with disabilities. However, existing data sources and anecdotal evidence indicate that people with disabilities underutilize One-Stops. The number of people with disabilities that use One-Stops seems to be lower than what would be expected based on the percentage of people with disabilities in the adult population. The disproportionately high rate of un- and underemployment among people with disabilities makes their underutilization of this career resource a critical issue. Increasing the use of One-Stops by job seekers with disabilities can be a challenge. Underutilization may be due to a lack of appropriate services for individuals with more significant disabilities, who may find visiting a One-Stop an overwhelming experience. At the same time, the philosophy of "universal access" should ensure that any customer can utilize core services of the One-Stop. People with disabilities should not have to bypass core services and rely exclusively on disability programs such as Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). The key is making these generic services welcoming, accommodating, and tailored to everyone. Many One-Stops have created successful strategies to increase access for customers with significant disabilities. The following is offered as a tool for One-Stops to use in their efforts to promote increased access and meaningful outcomes for job seekers. It is our hope that these examples will stimulate the development of exemplary employment services for individuals with disabilities in One-Stops across the country. This brief is part of a series of products offering practical solutions for state and local entities as they implement the Workforce Investment Act. Topics covered in other briefs include fiscal issues, models of involvement for community-based disability organizations, addressing staff knowledge and concerns, and involvement of state VR agencies with other One-Stop partners. The source of the information presented below is case studies conducted in Los Angeles, California; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Wilmington, Delaware; New Orleans, Louisiana; Utica, New York; and Clark County, Washington. These case studies were conducted by researchers at the Institute for Community Inclusion at University of Massachusetts Boston.
Hamner, Doris and Timmons, Jaimie Ciulla, "Case Studies of Local Boards and One-Stop Centers: Underutilization of One-Stops by People with Significant Disabilities" (2005). Case Studies Series, Institute for Community Inclusion. 13.