Thanks to a generous Community Employment Grant from the Kessler Foundation, on October 1, 2012, DAWN began the process toward launching a new program called DAWN Employment Network Services, or DENS.
DAWN is currently providing services under the Independent Living model to individuals with disabilities who are interested in employment. Whether you are just thinking about the possibility of employment or are ready to work, DAWN can assist you with individualized, one-on-one services to help you identify and meet your employment goals.
In addition, DAWN was recently approved to serve Ticket Beneficiaries as an Employment Network (EN) under the U.S Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program. You will find information about Ticket to Work below, and more extensive information at http://chooseworkttw.net/.
For information about DENS services (including Ticket to Work) please contact our Independent Living Employment Specialist, Lindsay Tuman, on her direct phone line at 973-625-1915 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who Is Eligible for DAWN Employment Network Services (DENS)?
Currently, anyone with a disability living in Morris, Sussex, or Warren county is eligible for Independent Living employment services at DAWN.
Individuals receiving SSI or SSDI have the additional option to be screened to assess their eligibility for Ticket to Work Employment Network services.
As a Center for Independent Living, DAWN is in a unique position to provide an ongoing array of employment and other Independent Living (IL) services, regardless of age, units of service already received, or income. Individuals who are working but occasionally may need supports or services to remain successfully employed can contact DAWN at any time for assistance.
What Kinds of Services Does DENS Provide?
DAWN coordinates employment-related services under the Independent Living model, such as:
- Skills and Interest Inventories and Assessments
- Access to Benefits Counseling
- Career and Family Counseling
- Job Search Skills (resumes, interviews)
- Workplace Skill-Building (communicating effectively, workplace etiquette, etc.)
- Troubleshooting Workplace Issues (including disclosure, accommodations, and advocacy)
- Peer Support
In addition, DENS provides:
- Myth-busting information and training to employers, other NJ agencies, and anyone interested in becoming more informed about employment for people with disabilities.
- Recruitment and promotion using the materials provided by SSA to the ENs, through DAWN’s website and social media, and through a variety of community outreach activities.
- Outreach to local employers to cultivate and support inclusive employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
What is Ticket to Work?
The Ticket to Work program is a voluntary program that provides Social Security (SSI, SSDI) beneficiaries the choices, opportunities and supports needed to become and stay employed, increase their earnings, and if possible eventually leave and remain off benefits by being fully self-supporting.
While participating in Ticket to Work, beneficiaries are often able to use a combination of other work incentives to maximize their income until they begin to earn enough to support themselves.
To be eligible for services under the Ticket to Work program, an individual must be a beneficiary of SSI or SSDI, and must be willing to work toward a goal of financial self-sufficiency through employment, and to eventually roll off benefits if they succeed. This is not a requirement of individuals receiving DAWN’s other employment services, only those who choose to assign their Ticket to DAWN.
What is an Employment Network?
An Employment Network, or EN, is an entity that contracts with the Social Security Administration to either provide or coordinate the delivery of the necessary services to Social Security disability beneficiaries. The EN can be a single individual, a partnership/alliance (public and/or private) or a consortium of organizations collaborating to combine resources to serve Ticket-holders.
The Ticket to Work program is voluntary. A Ticket-holder can choose if, when and where to use his or her Ticket. A Ticket-holder can choose an EN to work with, and can, at any time, seek the services of a different EN.
SSI or SSDI beneficiaries with an unassigned Ticket residing in Morris, Sussex, or Warren county are potentially eligible candidates for DENS Ticket to Work services. A preliminary screening process to identify the needs of the applicant will determine whether he or she is eligible for enrollment into DENS (i.e., to determine whether DENS can meet his or her needs). Applicants deemed eligible will be offered enrollment into DENS. Applicants deemed ineligible for DENS will be provided with information and referral to link them to other appropriate programs and services, including other DAWN employment services.
Not Sure DENS or Ticket to Work are for You?
Even if you’re not sure DENS or Ticket to Work are for you, we encourage you to contact us to learn more about your options so that you can make an INFORMED CHOICE. Questions are confidential and will not obligate you in any way, so please feel free to inquire!
A Note to Employers:
DAWN has staff who are certified trainers and part of the ADA trainer network through the Northeast ADA Center at Cornell University, a member of the ADA National Network. If you are interested in joining the growing number of employers who are embracing the benefits of workplace diversity and hiring qualified job candidates with disabilities, please feel free to contact us or contact the Northeast ADA Center for assistance in developing and maintaining an inclusive workforce.
DAWN gratefully recognizes the Kessler Foundation for its partnership and support in launching the DENS program.Kessler Foundation’s Community Employment Grant Program seeks to support projects, programs, capacity-building, pilot initiatives, and creative solutions that focus on job placement, education, training and retention for New Jersey citizens with disabilities. These solutions improve the employment landscape and lead to full-time or part-time employment, which provides independence and economic self-sufficiency, important factors towards living a purposeful life.