The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) promotes public workforce system entities to become active Employment Networks as part of its effort to expand the capacity of the public workforce system to serve people with disabilities.

Public Workforce System Employment Networks

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) share a goal to expand the capacity of the public workforce system to serve people with disabilities. To that end, the agencies encourage participation in the Ticket to Work (Ticket) Program through public workforce system entities becoming Employment Networks (EN). The public workforce system consists of State Workforce Agencies (SWA), State Workforce Development Boards (SWDBs), Local Workforce Development Area (LWDA), Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDBs), and American Job Centers (AJCs).

There are three ways to participate in the Ticket Program as an EN, presented below.

Option 1: Local Workforce Development Area (LWDA) Traditional EN Model

In this EN model, the LWDA, which includes AJCs within the LWDA, is the EN. Regardless of whether one AJC or several function in this role, each may serve as a site for service to persons receiving Social Security disability benefits (Ticketholders). A single, stand-alone EN is responsible for:

  • Identifying and assigning Ticketholders.
  • Creating an Individual Employment Plan (IEP) or Individual Work Plan (IWP) for each assigned Ticketholder.
  • Requesting and receiving Ticket payments.
  • Complying with all Ticket Program administrative and reporting requirements.

Option 2: State Administrative EN (AEN) Model

A State AEN model is typically housed within the State Workforce Agency (SWA), which helps streamline the administrative responsibilities of AJC service sites. The SWA keeps a small percentage of revenue to support administration of this model and the LWDA and AJCs provide the direct services to Ticketholders.

The State AEN would manage interactions with Social Security and the Ticket Program Manager (TPM), including:

  • Identifying and assigning Ticketholders.
  • Requesting and receiving Ticket payments.
  • Complying with Ticket Program administrative and reporting requirements.

Option 3: Administrative EN (AEN) Model

A SWA, LWDA or AJC can contract with an existing Administrative EN that would manage the administrative responsibilities of the Ticket Program, while the workforce entity focuses on service delivery. An AEN is a third-party organization approved by Social Security to engage other entities as “Provider Affiliates” in a shared EN operation. Visit Administrative EN - yourtickettowork.ssa.gov for more information and access to the AEN directory.

Good Customer Service

When a workforce system entity becomes an EN, it reinforces the Department of Labor's Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) priorities for creating a comprehensive, customer-focused workforce development system. As an EN, the workforce system entity:

  • Provides expertise in serving specialized populations, which can enhance its ability to secure future grant opportunities.
  • Increases collaborative partnerships with State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies, local organizations, and employers.
  • Offers employers an incentive to hire Ticketholders, because Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients in the Ticket Program qualify for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

Good for Business

Becoming an EN is good for business because it:

  • Adds non-program specific revenue to the workforce system entity allowing for funding flexibility.
  • Enables the workforce system entity to meet performance measures through Ticketholders’ increased employment, earnings, and retention.
  • Creates the potential to earn over $27,000 in Milestone and Outcome payments for each Ticket assignment.
  • Capitalizes on the work already provided to people with disabilities by receiving payments for successful job placements.

Learn More

Representatives from DOL and SSA participated in three webinars to review Public Workforce System EN models and learn best practices from existing Workforce Employment Networks (WFEN). Recordings of the webinars can be accessed via the links below:

DOL also issued Training and Employment Notice – TEN 16-18 (New Administrative Processes for Public Workforce Employment Networks under the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work Program). This document informs the workforce system about the Ticket Program’s administrative processes to expand the capacity of workforce system entities to serve persons receiving Social Security disability benefits.

In Spring 2021, DOL issued a Guide for Workforce Employment Networks to explain the benefits of operating as a Workforce Employment Network and to enhance awareness of available resources to facilitate this process, including guidance and promising practices. Learn more about the launch of this resource by accessing the archive for the May 26, 2021 webinar, Practices in Workforce Employment Network Operation - New Technical Guidance. This webinar also includes operational stories from Workforce ENs in California, Iowa, and Minnesota.

Contact Information

For more information about the Ticket Program, Types of ENs - yourtickettowork.ssa.gov or additional assistance to complete the RFA, please contact en.recruitment@yourtickettowork.ssa.gov.