Public Workforce System ENs
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has begun several efforts to expand the public workforce system capacity to serve persons with disabilities, including those who receive Social Security disability benefits. These efforts also promote employment of persons with disabilities. The public workforce system consists of the Department of Labor (DOL), Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), and American Job Center (AJC) Operators.
The Ticket to Work program (Ticket program) automatically assumes public workforce systems are qualified as Employment Networks (ENs). There are no extra steps to apply! You just need to complete the EN Request for Application (RFA).
Options for Public Workforce System Participation
There are three ways to participate in the Ticket program as an EN:
An AJC Operator or WIB can apply to the Social Security Administration (Social Security) to become an EN as a single, stand-alone organization. As such, the Operator or WIB would be responsible to:
- Identify and assign Ticket Holders
- Create an Individual Work Plan (IWP) for each assigned Ticket Holder and deliver the EN services outlined in that plan
- Request and receive Ticket payments
- Comply with all reporting requirements of the Ticket program
The staff at AJCs have the expertise to provide Job Development services to all customers. Ticket Holders who work with your EN may require the same amount of time any other customer would receive through intensive services. Ticket Holders will need follow-up services, but extensive staff time is typically not required once the placement is stable.
An AJC Operator or WIB can apply as an Administrative EN while partnering with other entities or AJC Partners in their area to provide EN services.
A State Department of Labor Workforce Agency can apply as the Administrative EN for its WIBs and AJCs that provide the EN services. An Administrative EN would handle all of the paperwork and interaction with Social Security and the Ticket Program Manager (TPM). Its WIBs and AJCs would provide the EN services to Ticket Holders, including developing the Individual Work Plan. The paperwork and interaction with Social Security and the TPM includes:
- Identifying and assigning Ticket Holders
- Requesting and receiving Ticket payments
- Complying with all reporting requirements of the Ticket program
The administrative EN would complete the RFA. The WIBs and AJCs that have agreed to participate in the Administrative EN model would not need to complete a separate RFA.
Good Customer Service
When an AJC decides to act as an EN, it reinforces the Workforce Investment Act principle of creating a comprehensive, customer-focused workforce investment system. By becoming an EN, the AJC:
- Provides expertise in serving specialized populations, which can enhance the AJC's 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 Ticket Holders, because Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients in[d1] the Ticket program qualify for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, allowing the employer to earn up to $2,400 a year.
Good for Business
Increasing the focus on customer service does not come at the expense of other business practices. Becoming an EN is good for business because it:
- Adds non-program specific revenue to your AJC for flexibility in funding
- Enables Ticket Holders to help AJCs meet necessary performance measures through increased employment, earnings and retention
- Creates the potential to earn over $24,000 in Milestone and Outcome payments for each Ticket Assignment
- Capitalizes on the work you already provide to people with disabilities by receiving payments for successful job placements
Role of the Disability Resource Coordinator
The Disability Resource Coordinator (DRC) has expertise on a variety of disability issues. The DRC knows the resources available to persons with disabilities that will make you more successful as an EN. The DRC can assist your staff in identifying the resources you and your Ticket Holders will need to be successful. The role of the DRC may include:
- Developing the relationship with a State VR agency to encourage State VR agencies and counselors to refer to the AJC persons who need ongoing services that the AJC can provide
- Providing guidance, assistance and training to the AJC staff on how to effectively serve AJC customers with disabilities, including Ticket Holders
- Conducting outreach activities to Ticket Holders and community groups to promote the AJC as an EN
- Facilitating resource coordination and/or organizing an Integrated Resource Team to address resource coordination for the beneficiary
- Serving Ticket Holders who are on a State VR Agency wait list but are good candidates for what the AJC has to offer
Ongoing Employment Support Services
Workforce Investment Boards (WIB) or American Job Centers (AJC) do not normally provide ongoing employment support and follow-up services. However, the Social Security Administration recognizes your role in the Department of Labor’s (DOL) national Workforce system and, because of this relationship, gives WIB or AJC ENs two options for providing long term employment support:
- Provide the required long-term employment support services to assigned Ticket Holders and receive all payments earned; or
- Partner with another agency that will provide the required long-term employment support services to the Workforce EN's assigned Ticket Holders, resulting in a possible shared payment agreement
The Individual Work Plan (IWP) or Individual Employment Plan (IEP) created for each Ticket Holder must identify the option your WIB or AJC EN chooses.