This week, Executive Director Leo Sarkissian reflects on Supporting Families Day and the Governor's budget; a break down of the increases in key DDS line items; a time sensitive webinar on understanding the budget and The Arc's Workforce Initiative; and more!
Leo's Letter
The Race is On!

On Tuesday, January 22, we had a successful, standing room only event at the Grand Staircase at the State House with over 100 people in attendance. It was the third year for our Supporting Families event, which allows individuals with disabilities and their families an opportunity to be supported in their advocacy with legislators. We also invited new legislators to learn about the issues, as part of our biennial New Legislator Reception. Our champion speakers, Senator John Keenan and Representative Denise Garlick, were terrific. Learn more about The Arc's current legislative efforts.
Government Affairs
Governor's budget includes increases for key DDS line items

Secretary of Health and Human Services Mary Lou Sudders held her state wide stakeholder call to review the Governor’s budget, House 1. The Arc appreciates the specific attention given to the Department of Developmental Disabilities, especially in terms of the DESE/DDS program which was funded with an additional $4 million. This additional funding will translate to many families that need meaningful supports in order to avoid out of home placements. Learn more about the budget and The Arc's response.
2019 Supporting Families Day & New Legislator Reception a Success!

The base of the Grand Staircase at the State House was filled with nearly 100 families, new and returning legislators, professionals, and self-advocates on Tuesday morning. In attendance were Rep. Denise Garlick, Sen. John Keenan, Rep. Tram Nguyen, Rep. Donald Wong, Rep. Mindy Domb, Rep. Carole Fiola, Sen. Jo Comerford, Rep. Nika Elugardo, Rep. Maria Robinson, Rep. Michelle Ciccolo, Rep. Kathy LaNatra and Rep. Tommy Vitolo.

Representative Denise Garlick welcomed the crowd and set the tone for the families and new legislator, observing that, when it comes to support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as their care providers, “We’ve come pretty far, but we need to go further. We need more.” Learn more about this exciting day of advocacy.
Training Center
Workforce Crisis and the Governor’s Budget
Thursday, January 31 | 12:00 PM
Free thanks to the Becker Center for Advocacy

Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director of The Arc of Massachusetts, will review the current state of the Workforce Crisis and how it affects caregivers, programs and services for individuals with I/DD, including autism. Attendees will learn about The Arc's four planned strategies and next steps. Leo will also reflect on the newly released Governor's budget
Getting from Here to There: Transportation During the Transition Years
Tuesday, February 12 | 12:00PM
Presenters: Rachel Fichtenbaum and MaryEllen MacRae

Participants will learn about transportation services available to people with disabilities in communities around Massachusetts, explore connections between transition-aged youth and transportation opportunities, and gain a greater understanding of how to effectively infuse the topic of transportation when discussing transition goals. We will also highlight creative transportation initiatives around Massachusetts, share a new tool developed by Easter Seals, and feature resources available to individuals, families, and organizations to help solve the transportation puzzle.
Credentials to Careers
Tuesday, March 19 | 12:00PM
Presenters: Jeff Gentry, Rosa Ordaz, and Jan Hollenbeck

According to the U.S. Office on Disability Employment Policy in December 2018 only 20.7% of Americans with disabilities were engaged in the workforce. If we are going to equip 70% of Americans with disabilities to join their nondisabled fellow citizens in the workforce, we need to utilize a wide array of employment strategies for transition age youth and adults. Please join Jeff Gentry and Rosa Ordaz from 70/30 Partners and Dr. Jan Hollenbeck from Medford Public Schools as we explore the array of entry-level employment, credential training and employer driven workforce development strategies that can equip you or your loved one with disabilities to enter the workforce.
Outside The Arc
The Massachusetts Rehab Commission (MRC) is redesigning their Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) programs and services. The following flyers provide more information on what MRC's Pre-ETS programs and services will offer.
The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University is conducting telephone interviews with parents with disabilities to learn about their experiences with the child welfare system . Each interview will last approximately one hour. We will not share your name or information with anyone. To participate, you must be 18 years of age or older; identify as a parent with a disability; and have had involvement with the child welfare system within the past 5 years.

Participants will be thanked with a $15 gift card. This study is funded by the Brandeis University Provost Office. For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Robyn Powell at rpowell@brandeis.edu .
Agency Spotlight