Madison -- Governor Jim Doyle and Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman announce today that Wisconsin is one of 14 states to receive funding to establish a Disability Navigator Program within the state's One Stop Job Centers. Staff within the Job Center will be designated as a Disability Program Navigator and will serve as a vehicle for job seekers with disabilities to further connect with products and services that will support them in meeting their career objectives.
"The Navigator will work directly with customers with disabilities to access, facilitate and 'navigate' the complex provisions under various programs that impact their ability to gain, return to, or retain employment," said Governor Doyle. "Navigators will train One Stop staff on available resources under One Stop programs, Social Security Administration employment support programs and other programs to individuals with disabilities who want to work."
Based on 2000 Census information, Wisconsin data revealed that one in five people in the state reported a disability compared to one in ten with a disability a decade ago. The Navigators will provide expertise and serve as a resource person to the workforce investment system and persons with disabilities, in particular, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability and blindness beneficiaries. Navigators will be expert in One-Stop partner programs, services and information and Social Security Administration (SSA) work incentives and other employment support programs, including Ticket to Work programs.
"The goal of this initiative is to increase employment and self sufficiency for people with disabilities by linking them to employers and by facilitating access to programs and services for successful entry or reentry into the workforce," said DWD Secretary Gassman.
The award amount is $503,360 with no state dollars required for funding nor will any new positions in state government be created. The Department of Labor (DOL), Employment and Training Administration and Social Security Administration, Office of Employment Support Programs (OESP) are jointly funding and training individuals selected as Navigators and will pilot and evaluate the Navigator position.