August 2018 Monthly News & Updates
Somerset Workshop Closed

On a beautiful, mid-summer afternoon, things were fairly quiet in the Somerset Community Services (SCS) Day Program building last week. That's because the once-bustling sheltered workshop located in the building has now officially closed. Somerset has been engaged in organizational transformation for several years. This spring it officially stopped utilizing the 14c Certificate which allowed the organization to pay people with disabilities less than minimum wage to complete work from various contracts.

Over the last six months, Somerset was one of six DDA employment provider organizations that received intensive technical assistance through the Office of Disability Employment's (ODEP) Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program (EFSLMP). EFSLMP subject matter expert, Rick McAllister, spent time with the organization in-person, as well as remotely, to support their continued focused on increasing competitive employment and community engagement outcomes for the people it supports. Much of the technical assistance focused on employer engagement and how to build relationships that can lead to employment.
Sandy Adkins, SCS Executive Director, along with his leadership and employment teams have been working on redesigning services to focus more on the building of community connections and include things like community-based work training, volunteerism, and competitive employment. When asked about their transformation, Sandy had this to say, "I am totally impressed with the job the SCS staff and Deputy Executive Director Katie Gell have done in transitioning to allow us to close our sheltered workshop. It has taken a real commitment to Employment First. I'm having a really hard time getting used to not seeing most of our consumers during the day. I miss them coming to my office every day."
Sandy admits that this transformation has not been easy, but he and his team remain committed to Employment First principles and supporting people in their region.
 Facilitated Discussion about Employment

National subject matter experts, Rie Kennedy-Lizotte of the State Employment Leadership Network/National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) and David Hoff of the Institute on Community Inclusion (ICI), joined DDA leadership and a group of provider agencies in July to facilitate a discussion about the national context of integrated employment. The discussion focused on DDA's trajectory toward Employment First principles and values and how to define inclusion in an employment situation. 

The DDA will continue this dialogue as new employment services are phased by July 2019. Continued guidance will be provided in the coming months. For more information, view the presentation
The National Core  Indicators Released Data Highlight on Guardianship

The highlight speaks to the 2015-2016 Adult Consumer Survey Data, which indicates that 51 percent of participants in the Adult Consumer Survey had a partial or full guardian. The highlight further explains the significance of guardianship as people with guardians are not being able to marry, enter into contracts, get driver's licenses, sign leases, make purchases, and exercise other choices without the approval of their guardian. People who have guardians cannot participate fully in their own lives. 

The highlight is a reminder to explore alternatives to guardianship and to apprise families and people about supported decision-making . Visit the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making for more information. 

For more information on the data briefs, visit the National Core Indicators website.
DORS/DDA Collaboration Overview Webinar 
Join us for our next Employment First Webinar where representatives from the DDA and  the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) will jointly present the recently updated and signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Staci Jones, Statewide Career and Employment Services Coordinator with the DDA, and Jill Pierce, Staff Specialist for Transition and Supported Employment with DORS, will highlight some of the updated information in the MOU, as well as short- and long-term collaboration and training efforts.  
If you are a DDA or DORS provider (or both), this will provide valuable information, including details regarding upcoming regional joint trainings.

Day: Friday, Aug. 17th, 2018
Time: 10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Regional Training Sessions

Join the DDA and the DORS employees for an introductory training focused on outlining Employment First and employment service delivery collaboration efforts.  Staci Jones and Jill Pierce will provide a brief history and overview of the recent joint agency MOU, review the roles and responsibilities, along with a Question and Answer session. 

Who should attend?
  • DDA/DORS employment providers
  • DDA regional office employees
  • DORS employees
  • Coordinators of Community Services (CCS)
  • Education Transition Coordinators
  • Anyone that would like to learn more
Western Region
Date: Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018
Time: 9:30 a.m. - noon
Location: Ramada Plaza ,1718 Underpass Way, Hagerstown, MD 21740
Click here to register for this session. 

Southern Region
Date: Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018
Time: 9:30 a.m. - noon
Location: Holiday Inn College Park,10000 Baltimore Ave., College Park, MD 20740
Central Region
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018
Time: 9:30 a.m. - noon
Location: DORS Workforce and Technology Center, 2301 Argonne Dr., Baltimore, MD 21218
Eastern Shore
Date: Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018
Time:  9:30 a.m. - noon
Location:  Chesapeake College, 1000 College Circle, Wye Mills, MD 21679
Webinar Recordings

Did you miss our live Meaningful Day webinar outlining DDA's new Meaningful Day 
service definitions and service alignment? 

If so, no worries! All of our webinars are recorded and archived on our webinar page. Find and watch one, by  clicking here.  

Did you also know the DDA has a YouTube channel?  
Webinar Series Recordings

Thank you to everyone that joined the popular three-part webinar series on Community-Based Day Services. Sara Murphy, see biography below, walked through the values, structure and management of these types of services and how they differ from more traditional facility-based supports.

If you missed the series, or would like to go watch it again, you can find them on our archived webinar page, along with accompanying
PowerPoint presentations.

Sara Murphy, MA , is a senior associate and the Director of the WorkLink program at TransCen, Inc., a nationally-recognized, employment service program for job seekers with disabilities. She has a bachelor's degree in Behavioral Disabilities/Special Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an master's degree in Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling from San Francisco State University. For the past 30 years, Murphy's focus has been on school-to-work and employment for individuals with disabilities. She has extensive experience in transition and direct services, customized employment, employer engagement, program development and service transformation.  
As part of TransCen's consultation team, Murphy provides technical assistance and training for a number of state agencies, school districts and service providers across the country. She also participates in federal and state initiatives, including the Social Security Administration's Youth Transition Demonstration Projects, the ODEP Customized Employment Demonstration Projects and the California Employment Consortium for Youth (CECY).
Attention Hiring Managers of Human Services and Related Organizations

MD PROMISE is a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Social Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Grantees received five-year funding from the U.S. Department of Education to develop, implement, and evaluate a service model that promotes positive outcomes for children who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 

Qualified supervisors, case managers, and employment specialists from MD PROMISE are now looking for new employment opportunities as this major project enters the final months of direct service, ending Sept. 2018. If you are an organization looking job candidates, please send an email along with the location of the position you are seeking to fill. Your resume will be forwarded to MD PROMISE employees who are looking for work in that area. MD PROMISE is statewide, so employees are available from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore.  

Employees can be available either full- or part-time now and will transitioning to full-time between now and the end of September. Please note that most of the employees have received ACRE training and are certified. Current MD PROMISE salaries start at approximately $35,000 to 37,000.   

Contact Vanessa Onwuchekwa by email at  Venessa.Onwuchekwa@maryland.gov
Please forward this contact information to others who are seeking to hire skilled employees.
Want more information about Employment First?

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