Thursday, April 29, 2010

State Spotlight: District of Columbia

The District of Columbia has been working to create a strong and sustaining “Employment Alliance” to promote better employment outcomes for DC residents with disabilities. Under the leadership of Judith Heumann, the Director of the Department on Disability Services (DDS), the District has been busy bringing together leaders in workforce development, economic development, the business community, and disability organizations to establish better linkages for residents with disabilities to jobs available in the federal government, with federal contractors, and in high-growth industries in the area such as health care, hospitality, and professional services.

To this end, District officials are actively engaged in a number of initiatives, including
  1. Creating a “community of excellence in customized employment” designed to build the capacity of DC government and private provider staff to effectively use customized employment practices,
  2. Sponsoring a Project Search model for transitioning youth in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor and, soon, other federal agencies,
  3. Enhancing collaborations with local employers through a partnership with the District of Columbia's Business Leadership Network,
  4. Strengthening its labor market "intelligence" through development of a process to better educate vocational rehabilitation counselors and others on how to access and use Labor Market Information, and
  5. Putting in place new strategies to increase the number of training and ”to work” options available to residents such as internships, through sector-based job training and/or small business development.

Listen to the audio podcast interview with Judith Heumann, Director of the District of Columbia’s Department on Disability Services

Read the transcript of the interview

View a PowerPoint presentation about Project Search, the District's school-to-career project for youth with disabilities, and a collaborative program with the U.S. Department of Labor. This program is the first of its kind in the federal government.

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