May 2018 Monthly News & Updates

The Path to Employment Starts with Community

When I was asked to start the new Community Based Day Program
for Progress Unlimited, I heard "Day Program" and immediately said yes because that's been all I've done my entire adult life. Then the "Community Based" part started sinking in, and my 38 + years of sheltered work started choking me up. But if nothing else, I am determined. 

My first  young lady, Meghan, while challenging due to her need for social skills training, had amazing computer skills. It was easy to identify her pathway to employment. I was also blessed with the most amazing staff person whose niche was development. So, Meghan's week of experiences in her desired field of data entry filled up quickly. 

Zach was a much different story....

Strong Partner Collaboration

Collaboration among stakeholders, including other state agencies, is a key component in Maryland's Employment First Initiative.  National best practices point to strong partnerships and relationships between Medicaid Waiver-funded Employment Service funding agencies and Vocational Rehabilitation agencies (among other partners) as one of the indicators of success among high-performing states in employment outcomes for people with disabilities.  

The DDA)and the Maryland State Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) 
have been working over the last year to redraft the joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was last updated between the two agencies in 2013. 

DORS and DDA representatives have spent time better learning how both systems can work together to support employment outcomes, including how to better support service providers to understand how to navigate both funding sources successfully. The two organizations look forward to sharing an updated MOU in late August. Following that release, there will be joint regional town hall meetings scheduled to review the MOU and answer stakeholder questions. 
Those dates, as well as other information is forthcoming!

Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program 

An important component in DDA's Employment First Initiative is capacity building throughout the system. As part of Maryland's participation in the Office of Disability Employment Policy's (ODEP) Employment First State Leadership Mentor Program (EFSLMP), technical assistance (TA) hours were awarded to six DDA-funded employment providers to focus on organizational transformation at the executive level. Those TA hours have included on-site visits from subject matter experts (SME), as well as virtual support. 

All six organizations, approximately 60 people, came together on April 30 for an all-day training on how to build effective relationships with employers. EFSLMP SME, Rick McCallister, led a dynamic and focused training on the importance of employer relationships and what employment organizations should be doing to foster those in a more effective and sustainable manner. (Hint: it's not cold calls and filling out applications!) The training addressed sspecific methods for employment specialists, as well as staff at every level of the organization.

Organizations that participated in the training included The Arc of Baltimore, SEEC, Somerset Community Services, Change, Inc., The Arc of Washington County and Providence Center.  

DDA Employment First Webinars
Supported Decision Making
Joining us for our April Employment First webinar is Megan Rusciano, a staff attorney with  Disability Rights Maryland. Megan will be discussing alternatives to guardianship, including supported decision making. These are important discussions as we support people to become participating members of their communities. 

Date: Friday, May 18, 10:00am-12:00pm 
Please join us for part two in our three-part webinar series on "Community-Based Day Services as a Path to Employment."  The ODEP SME, Sara Murphy, will be presenting resources for both management staff and direct support professionals in this webinar series.
Date:  June 15, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm          
Topic 2: Setting meaningful goals and documenting progress in community settings. Hear about individualizing services in group settings, assessing skills and setting person-centered goals, rural vs. urban services, tapping into community resources to teach skills, documenting progress and data collection. 
Date:  July 20, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Topic 3: Managing community-based services: A completely different ball game. Hear about marketing community-based services, scheduling and supporting community-based staff, using technology to connect your team, and funding services in Maryland.
Sara Murphy, M.A., is a Senior Associate at TransCen, Inc. and the Director of TransCen's WorkLink program, a nationally-recognized, employment service 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, Department of Labor's Office of Disability and Employment Policy (ODEP) Customized Employment Demonstration Projects and the California Employment Consortium for Youth (CECY).
Employment Data Reminder

Another reminder that this month (May 2018) is our Employment Data tracking and reporting period.   

A detailed memo was sent to all Day/Employment providers back in April that included links to resources.  If you have additional questions or concerns related to this initiative, please direct them to Staci Jones, DDA's Statewide Employment Services Coordinator at  Staci.Jones@maryland.gov.

All documentation must be submitted to the State Data Website no later than June 30, 2018. 

EFSLMP Provider Transformation 
2.0 Webinar Series Recordings

The Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program (EFSLMP) Provider Transformation 2.0 Webinar Series is underway. These webinars are designed for community rehabilitation providers (CRPs) who have already begun to transform their service delivery model to one with an emphasis on competitive, integrated employment as the priority outcome for the people served. 

March 15, 2018 Webinar #1: Redesigning Your Organization: Board, CEO, CFO, Middle Management, Front Line Staff, Employers & Stakeholders [Leadership, Strategic Planning, Operations Focus] 
Facilitators: Karen Lee; Thomas "Tom" Wilds
Recording Link:   http://econsys.adobeconnect.com/p7tkr58c4852/ 
Meeting materials may be downloaded from the webinar recording link.
To download the unofficial transcript for this webinar click  here 

March 29, 2018 Webinar #2: Staff Development, Recruitment, and Restructuring: "How To" Examples of Effective Restructuring; Where to Focus Attention on Transformation [Operations Focus, Workforce Focus]
Facilitators: Dale Verstegen; Gail Fanjoy
Recording Link:  http://econsys.adobeconnect.com/pgsuopqrw5lr/
Meeting materials may be downloaded from the webinar recording link.
To download the unofficial transcript for this webinar click  here

April 12, 2018 Webinar #3: Staff Training Specifics: Developing Internal Trainers, Meaningful Day Integration, Best Practices, Transportation Solutions, Sample Job Descriptions/Work Day Schedules [Workforce Focus]
Facilitators: Genni Sasnett; Gail Fanjoy
Recording Link:  http://econsys.adobeconnect.com/pl75jxwpbinc/
Meeting materials may be downloaded from the webinar recording link.
To download the unofficial transcript for this webinar click  here

April 26, 2018 Webinar #4: Stakeholder Engagement: How to Listen; Considering Real Choices; Working Effectively with Families, Self-Advocates, Employers, Policymakers, and Advocacy Organizations [Customer Focus]
Facilitators: Sean Roy; Pat Rogan
Recording Link:  http://econsys.adobeconnect.com/pubg7d48k2yx/  
Meeting materials may be downloaded from the webinar recording link.
To download the unofficial transcript for this webinar click  here

Future Webinars (Recording Links will be shared with the Community of Practice one week following the event)
  • Webinar #5: The Importance of Effective Advocacy for Better Policy: Collaboration, Coalitions, Communities of Practice, and Capacity Building at the Local Level [Leadership, Strategic Planning] 
    Date / Time:  May 10, 2018 @ 1:00pm - 2:30pm (Eastern) 
    Facilitators: Rachel Pollock; Karen Lee
  • Webinar #6: Funding Diversification: Local, State, Federal Examples + How to advocate for it; Phasing Out Reliance on Facility-Based Contracts [Strategic Planning, Operations Focus] 
    Date / Time:  May 31, 2018 @ 1:00pm - 2:30pm (Eastern) 
    Facilitators: Rachel Pollock; Genni Sasnett
Looking for Stories

Do you have success stories or promising practices to share related to competitive, integrated employment or community integration?  If so, please contact DDA's Communication Director at Tana.Stevenson@Maryland.gov.   

Things we would like to highlight:

1.   Self-employment

2.   Use of technical assistance

3.   Creative supports and services for people with medical or personal 

      care needs

4.   Stories about community membership

5.   Creative organizational structures, policies, training or service          



Want to read success stories?  Click here!

Want more information about Employment First?


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