HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania departments of Labor & Industry (L&I), Human Services (DHS), and Education (PDE) will host 15 statewide collaborative trainings under Governor Wolf's Employment First initiative, an effort to help individuals with disabilities find meaningful, competitive integrated employment.
"These trainings allow us to team up with other state agencies and local partners that offer employment services to individuals with disabilities, and work to streamline our processes and gain invaluable insight into best practices and resources available," said L&I Secretary Kathy Manderino. "Our work to assist individuals with disabilities obtain and maintain meaningful employment can only be strengthened by collaboration, which will allow this population to experience a more effective and efficient system that is both comprehensive and customizable."
The trainings, entitled "Experience the Employment Connection," are a collaboration between L&I's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, DHS's Office of Developmental Programs, and Education's Bureau of Special Education. Professional staff from these offices and their local partners, including vocational rehabilitation counselors, developmental disability program service coordinators, and special education professionals, participated in the training on Friday, one in the series of 15 sessions across Pennsylvania through November. The trainings also serve to connect professionals from the different agencies who work to empower people with disabilities to become meaningfully employed. Representatives from disability advocacy organizations, family groups, and non-profit service providers that are innovators in their fields were also invited.
"Often the biggest barrier to getting a job for a person with a disability is the lack of knowledge by professionals in one publicly funded program at the local level about resources available in another publicly funded program. For example, a special educator may not know how to access vocational rehabilitation services, or a vocational rehabilitation counselor may not know what is available in the adult system" said DHS Secretary Ted Dallas. "By the time all 15 trainings are held, nearly 3,000 professionals will have received training that not only promotes employment as the first consideration and preferred outcome for the people with a disability they serve, but also connects those professionals with their counterparts in other public programs who can help meet their customers' employment goals."
"Part of the Pennsylvania Department of Education's mission is to establish a culture committed to improving opportunities throughout the commonwealth for children and adults, and 'Employment First' perfectly aligns with that vision," said PDE Secretary Pedro Rivera. "This important program provides valuable support and resources to Pennsylvanians, granting them new avenues for empowerment, success and fulfillment, and PDE is pleased to join this partnership."
Remaining sessions of Experience the Employment Connection:
- Reading on August 5
- Erie on August 16
- Philadelphia on August 18
- Norristown on August 19
- Williamsport on September 1
- New Castle on September 9
- Washington on September 22
- Pittsburgh on September 23
- Johnstown on October 7
- Wilkes-Barre on October 14
- DuBois on November 3
- Altoona on Nov. 9
- York on November 18.
The departments have held two conferences to date, July 8 in Allentown and July 29 in Harrisburg.
MEDIA CONTACT: Sara Goulet, 717-787-7530
Kait Gillis, DHS, 717-425-7606
Nicole Reigelman, PDE, 717-783-9802
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry; Pennsylvania Department of Human Services; Pennsylvania Department of Education