Highlights use of Integrated Resource Teams that assemble multiple partners across service systems and combine resources to help job seekers with disabilities reach employment goals.
"An Integrated Resource Team (IRT) represents one option that a local area may use to provide an increased level of support to a job seeker with multiple challenges to employment. An IRT is made up of  representatives from various community organizations and partner agencies that meet specific employment needs of a job seeker. Just as each job seeker has a unique set of goals, each IRT is comprised of different service  systems. A team may consist of several members from the following systems (but not limited to): the Workforce Investment system, Vocational Rehabilitation, Mental Health services, Public Education (e.g. transition programs), Work Incentive Planning and Assistance programs, Centers for Independent Living, Supported Employment service providers, Community and Faith-Based organizations, the local Housing or Transportation system, Reentry programs for persons with criminal history, the TANF agency, and Veterans’ programs.

While the primary function of an IRT is to improve resource coordination and increase opportunity for employment, the teamwork involved also promotes systems change. By “bringing people to the table”, there is opportunity for cross-agency education, team problem-solving, and leveraging of resources and funds to meet employment challenges head-on. An IRT not only boosts coordination of services and supports to a job seeker, but can also positively shift how the different systems work with each other. Although DPNs may initiate and facilitate IRTs, it is the job seeker and partners who ultimately drive the team towards the end goal. The shared accomplishments of addressing challenges and reaching positive employment outcomes can have a powerful impact on all involved" (p.1-2). (Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

"The impact of DPN activities in the Oregon workforce investment system was tracked using programmatic data collected by WIA providers through the WIASRD management information system. - Job seekers who engaged in DPN sponsored activities (i.e., career mapping, resource planning and IRTs) were enrolled in WIA intensive services at a significantly higher rate than job seekers who did not participate in DPN activities. - Job seekers who engaged in DPN activities earned almost the same exact wage as those who did not seek DPN resources. - WIA enrolled job seekers who engaged in DPN activities became employed at a slightly higher rate than those without DPN resources. - The percentage of WIA enrolled job seekers who engaged in DPN activities had 100% job retention, whereas those who did not seek DPN resources had a slightly lower retention rate of just over 88%. (4) The tracking system also demonstrated how DPN sponsored activities increased access to WIA services and outcomes to job seekers with a variety of challenges to employment including veterans, persons who are homeless or with a criminal justice history, and job seekers with limited vocational and technical skills. Overall, three main factors emerged on the value and impact of the DPN sponsored activities of career planning, resource mapping and IRTs. The factors listed below influenced the Oregon State Workforce Investment Board to expand the DPN project statewide and replicate the career mapping process in all One Stop Career Centers: - DPN activities allowed the WIA system to provide intensive services to untapped labor pools. - DPN activities allowed the WIA system to meet—and in many cases exceed—WIA performance measures with these populations. - DPN activities allowed WIA service providers increased access to community-based services and resources for their enrolled WIA job seekers (p.5). (Abstractor: Author)