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Workforce Development Unit

The Workforce Development Unit provides services required to assist eligible youth and adults obtain and maintain employment. WFD is a federal program with federally mandated guidelines for eligibility and service provision. Before services are provided, an individual with a vision loss must meet our eligibility guidelines.

Once eligible, the counselor and customer then spend up to three months determining an appropriate vocational goal for that customer and agreeing upon the services required to reach that goal. Once services are provided and the customer is employed for at least 90 days in a job in the agreed upon career field, the customer's case is closed. Workforce Development Unit can also provide post-employment services which an eligible individual might require to regain, maintain or advance in the chosen career. These post-employment services are provided for a short period of time, usually not more than six months.

There are eight Workforce Development counselors serving the Metro area and counselors in the CareerForce locations in Blaine, West St. Paul, Mankato, Rochester, Hutchinson, St. Cloud, Brainerd, Duluth and Hibbing. There is also a WFD Unit staff member at CareerForce in Bemidji.

The Workforce Development Unit provides vocational rehabilitation services for adults who are DeafBlind. These services are provided under the same federally mandated guidelines as for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Eligibility is based on their vision. The Workforce Development Unit has a counselor in the Metro designated as the DeafBlind counselor. Individuals who are DeafBlind living in greater Minnesota are served by the SSB counselor who offices in their region of the state.

SSB has specific procedures for working with customers who are DeafBlind. These procedures were developed in conjunction with the DeafBlind Committee of the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind. The designated DeafBlind counselor in the Metro is responsible for training all counselors in these procedures and acts as a resource on specific issues. Customers who are DeafBlind apply for services in the same way as customers who are blind or visually impaired.

People interested in working with the Workforce Development Unit can call 651-539-2300 or 1-800-652-9000 or TTY/TDD 888-665-3276 and ask for a WFD staff person. This is one of SSB's largest work areas so there are four supervisors assigned to this unit.

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