ODEP Launches New TA Program for Employers

The National Expansion of Employment Opportunities Network (NEON) is a new initiative of the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) within the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). NEON has been established to provide National Provider Organizations (NPOs) with technical support in developing strategic plans to effectively increase competitive integrated employment opportunities for the individuals they serve, including those with significant disabilities and mental health disabilities who have faced barriers to employment. 

NEON will provide five NPOs with technical assistance from a pool of national Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), who serve as peer mentors in provider transformation and customized employment, and will provide one-on-one technical support for up to five Local Provider Organizations (LPOs) who are members within each NPO. NEON will give its participating organizations the opportunity to network with one another and to learn about effective strategies through peer-to-peer mentoring.

NEON is expected to be a three-year program, dependent on appropriations. In year one, five NPOs will be selected. Each NPO will select up to five LPOs from their membership. If continued in year two, NEON will expand its impact at the local level to 25 additional LPOs within each NPO. The original five local organizations from year one will serve as mentors to the additional 25 local organizations that are chosen to receive the additional technical assistance in year two. In year three, the participating organizations will continue to receive technical assistance and are expected to be on a sustainable path to increasing and expanding the availability of competitive integrated employment options for the individuals they serve.

Using ODEP’s Criteria for Performance Excellence in Employment First Systems Change, each participating provider will begin with a self-assessment and work with an agreed upon SME to consult with the organization’s leadership and stakeholders to explore options and ideas to increase competitive integrated employment outcomes. Examples of technical assistance to providers may include: 

  • Staff training
  • Customized employment
  • Discovery
  • Individual Placement and Support (IPS)
  • Employer partnerships and engagement
  • Job coaching
  • Fading supports
  • Strategic plan development
  • Staff development and restructuring
  • Transportation solutions
  • Diversifying funding streams

FMI: Read more about NEON at https://mailchi.mp/econsys/efslmp-fy2019-state-ta-application-834081.