The Navigators are a three person regional team covering 13 counties and 24 Workforce Solutions Centers that were created to provide staff training, assist employers and serve as a resource for and about persons with disabilities whose goal is finding quality employment.
A little more than a year has passed since last August when the expanded Navigator team was formed and I wrote my first blog “Moving Forward.” We were so new with eyes fixed on learning and accomplishing. As we bring this first year to a close and remember the 24th Anniversary of the signing of the American’s with Disabilities Act, it seems like the perfect opportunity to provide highlights of our year of progress. Join me in moving forward, while looking back…
• Gained knowledge in crucial resources:
– Workforce Solutions
– Employer Assistance and Resource Network
– Job Accommodation Network
• Began writing monthly contributions for Workforce Solutions BlogForce
• Phase I of Serving All Customers training, a refresher course on auxiliary aides and services, commenced for staff
• Learned how to conduct accessibility and compliance surveys on all 24 offices
• October ended our first productive quarter in a whirlwind of public invitations and training events centered around one theme, National Disability Employment Awareness Month
• Collaborated with community organizations, leading to recruitment opportunities and increased efforts to assist customers with disabilities
• Entered Phase II of staff training, providing an overview of JAWS and MAGic
• Continued to network, outreach, and accept invitations for events ranging from public speaking, participating in planning meetings and manning information tables (primarily for transitioning teens with disabilities), to facilitating job fairs.
• Formed a partnership with a major employer for the purpose of strengthening recruitment skills and assisting customers in obtaining employment
• Created employer oriented info sessions in collaboration with community based organizations
• Transition Fairs and info tables became a staple in the Navigator resume as we developed even stronger community contacts
• Cross-training opportunities between Facilitators and Navigators were explored
• Conducted “Reality Check” training for 60+ very receptive transitioning teens
• Increased employer contacts and strengthened communications with various businesses
• Continuous education on crucial resources
• Started Phase III of staff training with real life scenarios utilizing “I AM Workforce Solutions” core values to serve all customers with equality and professionalism
As we continue to move forward, I will provide updates throughout our next year. Looking back, it sure is one tough act to follow!
Frieda Carmouche is a member of the Regional Navigator team specializing in training, educating and assisting employers, and career center staff throughout the Gulf Coast with community resources, outreach events and technical support in assisting job seekers with disabilities. A native Houstonian with a love of training and development, Frieda has been employed by Workforce Solutions for over 16 years.