- III. Operational Planning Elements
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an Operational Planning Elements section that supports the State’s strategy and the system-wide vision described in Section II(c) above. Unless otherwise noted, all Operational Planning Elements apply to Combined State Plan partner programs included in the plan as well as to core programs. This section must include—
- b. State Operating Systems and Policies
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include a description of the State operating systems and policies that will support the implementation of the State strategy described in section II Strategic Elements. This includes—
- b. State Operating Systems and Policies
III. b. 8. Addressing the Accessibility of the One-Stop Delivery System for Individuals with Disabilities
Describe how the one-stop delivery system (including one-stop center operators and the one-stop delivery system partners), will comply with section 188 of WIOA (if applicable) and applicable provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.) with regard to the physical and programmatic accessibility of facilities, programs, services, technology, and materials for individuals with disabilities. This also must include a description of compliance through providing staff training and support for addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities. Describe the State’s one-stop center certification policy, particularly the accessibility criteria.
In order to fully address the various components of accessibility, this section is broken into four main topics:
- Internal policies and procedures that ensure compliance, accessibility, and effectiveness
- Training and professional development available to program staff and One-Stop staff
- Accommodations available to individuals with disabilities to ensure accessibility
- One-Stop Certification Policy
Policies and Procedures
All core and combined plan partners, in conjunction with the state’s equal opportunity (EO) officer, work to maintain a Non-Discrimination Plan that provides a comprehensive set of actions to ensure that the American Job Centers in Idaho address the needs of customers with disabilities, to include the full array of available services. All of the state’s One-Stop centers comply with ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) legislation to ensure access for persons with disabilities, providing for the most integrated setting practicable. The state’s facilities procurement process incorporates ADAAA guidelines to ensure access to new or renovated One-Stop center facilities.
The state’s EO officer works with the Idaho Department of Labor EO officer, who acts as the liaison with other units of the department such as the Disability Determinations Service and the Human Rights Commission, as well as external disability support organizations such as the Vocational Rehabilitation programs and the Council on Developmental Disabilities, to ensure policies are communicated and to foster these groups as resources for customers with disabilities.
American Job Center program service delivery staff provide individuals with disabilities special consideration for labor exchange services. WIOA Title IB program policies consider an individual with disability as having a verifiable impediment to employment. The programs treat individuals with disabilities as a family of one in determining income for program eligibility, giving them an additional opportunity for participation in intensive and training services. Youth with disabilities are given the highest priority of service within Idaho’s youth programs.
Through an earlier Disability Employment Initiative (DEI) grant, the Idaho Department of Labor facilitated the development of training to One-Stop staff across the state and laid a foundation of resources for continuous improvement of services to and employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities. Through information and materials gathered from expert local and national sources, the grant efforts are being sustained through publications such as the comprehensive job search handbook, Willing and Able: A Job Hunting Guide for Idahoans with Disabilities (link) and its subsequent companion handbook, Willing and Able: A Job Hunting Guide for Idaho Veterans with Disabilities (link). Disability etiquette guides, local resource flyers, referral information and other materials disseminated via the DEI grant remain available to Idaho Department of Labor staff and will be shared with other American Job Center program staff.
A statewide training was conducted after the development of training materials to ensure the tools and information created through the grant’s period of performance were sustainable. Despite the DEI grant’s end, the knowledge imparted through the training and tools developed as a result of the grant continues to be the cornerstone of services to individuals with disabilities throughout the One-Stop system. All of which have resulted in improved coordination with, and referral to partner services and community resources, enhanced understanding of the needs of those with disabilities and improved ability to develop employment opportunities. As prescribed by Wagner-Peyser Section 8(b), each One-Stop center maintains at least one staff member who is well equipped to provide the unique level of support needed by individuals with disabilities seeking entry or re-entry into the workforce.
Idaho’s Vocational Rehabilitation programs also provide technical assistance where needed, and can provide or connect other core WIOA and partner programs to additional training available through national resources. A brief list of additional resources compiled by the Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is available below:
- National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials provides resources on accessibility to meet requirements of Section 508 (accessible electronic and information technology for federal agencies) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.(link)
- The ADA National Network Centers made up of ADA professionals and experts charged with assisting businesses, state and local governments, and people with disabilities as they manage the process of changing our culture to be user friendly to disability and the effect the variety of health conditions can have on society. Training on all aspects of the ADA is one of the major tasks of the Northwest ADA Center.(link)
- The Idaho affiliate of the Northwest ADA Center-Idaho is formerly known as the Idaho Task Force on the ADA. There are four partners in the ADA coalition composed of the three Idaho Centers for Independent Living (CIL) and a state coordinator.
- The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace. askjan.org
Accessibility and Accommodations
All of Idaho’s nine comprehensive and affiliate American Job Centers are equipped with accessible computers built primarily with accessible peripherals and software to accommodate a variety of disabilities. Customers with disabilities can come to the centers during office hours and access center programs and information sources. And, with the Idaho Department of Labor’s transition to its new service delivery model, any customers with specific accommodations who finds that an advertised location, for some reason, does not meet their need, can rest assured that remote staff will meet them in a location that does. In addition, state policy requires all partner programs that provide services at the One-Stop centers do so in a manner that meets requirements of Section 188 affording programmatic and physical access to services.
Partner-provided services are also available to meet specific One-Stop customer needs. The One-Stop staff collaborate with ICBVI and/or the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to obtain information for customers in Braille, tape or large print versions or access to the qualified Sign Language Interpreter directory.
As core partners, both ICBVI and IDVR’s goal is to provide all individuals, regardless of disability, with equal access to its program. Individuals who have complaints or wish to provide input on accessibility issues associated with ICBVI may contact the Administrator or the Rehabilitation Services Chief. Furthermore, if customers wish to report an issue related to the accessibility of the IDVR program, they may do so by submitting a complaint to IDVR’s Section 504 Coordinator via e-mail or written correspondence. Contact information is posted on the Division’s website. Complaints may also be sent to the Office of Civil Rights. Contact information is available at ed.gov/ocr. The Division conducts programmatic and physical accessibility evaluations of all regional offices for Section 188 compliance and is working to make its website accessible.
Through the Ticket to Work program, core WIOA partners have certified Work Incentives Benefits Practitioners to offer benefits counseling to participant ticketholders on how employment affects Social Security benefits.
Recently, the Governor required that all state agencies work to employ accessible web products and publications wherever possible. As a result, One-Stop programs administered by state agencies have sought to include alternative text capability to ensure clear communications regardless of the process utilized by the customer. The state EO officer coordinates with WIOA core partners to ensure alternative text and other appropriate information are included and in effect on electronic publications.
Part of the State Workforce Development Council’s One-Stop certification policy includes annual physical and programmatic accessibility for individuals with disabilities. The certification criteria reference the ADA Checklist for Existing Facilities as recommended by the Northwest ADA Center. The full checklist is located here (link). The state’s EO office developed a checklist for programmatic accessibility along with an updated EO Survey. All WIOA funded programs are required to report annually to the state EO Officer the results of their physical and programmatic assessments and survey results which will better inform WIOA programs where accessibility improvements need to be made.