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Paula S. Seanez, Navajo OSERS



4 NAV AJO NATION OSERS Mission: Promoting Work and Independence for People with disabilities. Provide culturally relevant VR services necessary to assist American Indians with disability in preparing for securing, retaining, or regaining an employment outcome.

5 NAV AJO NATION OSERS 1962 – AZ RSA funded a study revealing active participation by Navajo people in VR Established in July 1975 with 3 staff Cooperative relationships between the state, federal agencies, and Navajo Nation to improve existing system. 3 year (I & E) grant from DES/RSA with a 10% match by the Navajo Nation

6 History of Navajo OSERS
Comprehensive VR service delivery plan Affirmative Action plan 1978 authorized special project grants to governing bodies of Indian tribes on federal and/or state reservations for cultural relevant VR services

7 Department of Dine Education
Office of Special Education & Rehabilitation Services Navajo Nation Education Committee Navajo Nation Board of Education Superintendent of Schools Associate Superintendent of Schools Federal/State Supported Programs Navajo Nation Council on Disability OSERS Rehabilitation Services Vocational Rehab./Independent Living Early Childhood Intervention Training & Support Services ARIZONA Chinle Ft. Defiance Ganado Kayenta Keams Canyon Polacca TubaCity Winslow NEW MEXICO Crownpoint Gallup Tohajiilee Tohatchi Shiprock Chinle Agency Crownpoint Agency Ft. Defiance Agency Ganado Sub-office Kayenta Agency Shiprock Agency Tuba City Agency Utah Navajo Service Area Tuba City Industrial Laundry Program Tuba City Food Service Vending Operation Window Rock

8 Unemployment Rates over time
2000 2001 2005 2007 Navajo Nation 44% 42% 53% 49% Arizona 4.0% 4.7% 4.6% 3.8% U.S. 5.1% Source: Arizona Dept of Commerce Research Administration, Arizona Unemployment Statistics Program Special Unemployment Reports ( ).

9 Navajo Nation Office of Special Education & Rehabilitation Services
Vocational Rehabilitation Services Independent Living Services Early Childhood Intervention (Growing in Beauty) Tuba City Industrial Laundry/Food Vending Services Navajo ABLE Navajo Nation Trust Funds Navajo Nation Advisory Council for People with Disabilities

10 Early Childhood Intervention (Growing in Beauty)
“Hozhoogo Jinooseel” brings families and professionals together, working to support the child’s growth, development and learning.

11 A person is Eligible for VR services:
1. Be an enrolled member of an American Indian Tribe/Alaska Native Tribe; 2. *Must physically reside on/near the reservation; 3. Have a physical or mental impairment which constitutes an impediment to employment; 4. Require VR services that will lead to employment. *Each Tribes determines radius of on/near reservation

12 What Services may be Provided?
Native Healing Services An evaluation to determine eligibility and vocational needs Guidance & counseling Work related placement services Vocational skills training Mental/Physical restoration Expenses for Maintenance, tuition, books/supplies, personal needs, room/board, transportation Services for the blind, deaf, visual impairments

13 Services….. Self employment start up costs, tools, equipment, supplies
Occupational needs, licenses, tools, uniforms, work shoes Rehabilitation Technology Accommodations Assistive technology devices for participating in training, employment Post-employment & other services to help or maintain employment Information and Referral to other programs as needed

14 Independent Living Services
Independent Living Services(IL) are provided to assist Navajo people with significant disabilities so that they can live independently in their home, community and environment. IL Services are funded by the Navajo Nation Trust Funds set aside by the NN Council in 1986.

15 A person is eligible for IL services:
Enrolled member of the Navajo Nation; Have a significant mental/physical impairment which limits their ability to function independently in their community, home and environment, or engage in employment; IL services are required to achieve a greater level of independence.

16 What IL services maybe provided?
Information/referral Advocacy Peer Counseling Assistive Technology devices & equipment Native Healing Services IL skills Training Rehabilitation services(ramps, home modifications) Assistance in identifying accessible housing, transportation, services. Mobility skills training for blind/visual impairment.

17 Tuba City Industrial Laundry Food Vending Services
TCIL/Food Vending Services are training sites that provide support services and employment for individuals with disabilities who are referred from VR, IL , schools and other services. The training sites are located in Window Rock and Tuba City.

18 Navajo Nation Council on People with Disabilities
Advisory Council for the Navajo Nation. Appointed by the President of the Navajo Nation. Composed of Navajo Persons with disabilities, parents of children/students with disabilities and service provider agencies; Advises and recommends to Navajo OSERS and Navajo Nation programs to assure equal access to employment, public buildings and services on the NN

19 Advisory Council Current Members
Hoskie Bennally, Jr. President /Waterflow Sylvia McKinley,Vice-President/Fruitland Janice Begay, Secretary-Treas/Shiprock Cecelia Benally/ Fruitland Elsie Dee, Montezuma Creek, UT Rose M. Zunie, Church Rock, NM Roger B. Johnson, Rehoboth, NM Stephanie L. Benally, Midvale, UT Emmett Betsuie, Shiprock, NM

20 Navajo Nation Trust Fund for People with Disabilities
OVERVIEW In December 1986 the NN established the trust fund for seven million dollars pursuant to Resolution CD for Navajo people with disabilities. Every year 5% of annual accrued interest is reinvested. 95% of the annual accrued interests are used to provide services to individuals with disabilities.

21 Purpose – Trust Funds Provide supplemental fiscal support to NN and non- Tribal programs for the establishment and provision of appropriate, quality, accessible services which promote the self-sufficiency of Navajos with disabilities.

22 Conceptual Representation of Navajo Cycle of Services

23 Conceptual Representation
Resilience (north) Thinking (east) Implementing (west) Planning (south)


25 Email Address:
Ahė hee (Thank You) For more information: (928) Visit our Website at: Address:


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