Competitive Integrated Employment

ICYMI, like I did, the U.S. Department of Labor announced in January 2023 that 10 states, including New York, and the District of Columbia have been selected to participate as “core states” in its National Expansion of Employment Opportunities Network initiative (NEON).

The selection, the department says, will help connect state government agencies to consulting, capacity-building support and ongoing mentoring as they seek to increase Competitive Integrated Employment for individuals with disabilities.

Until now, NEON has focused primarily on advancing CIE by offering national provider organizations technical assistance from recognized subject matter experts and support for local provider organizations. By expanding participation to core states, NEON seeks to focus on promoting positive changes in state-level policies and systems. The department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy has administered NEON since its 2019 launch.

In January 2022, NEON released the National Plan to Increase Competitive Integrated Employment in concert with five national provider organizations: ACCSESANCORThe Arc, the Association of People Supporting Employment First and SourceAmerica.

Some background on NEON from the U.S. Deptartment of Labor website: In 2016, the Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities (ACICIEID) submitted a Final Report to Congress. The report presented issues that impact the pursuit of competitive integrated employment (CIE) by individuals with disabilities and makes recommendations for mitigating these issues. A key recommendation of the committee was to increase the capacity of employment service providers to provide CIE through both organizational restructuring and staff professional development. To address this need, the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) established the National Expansion of Employment Opportunities Network (NEON).

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