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)