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Update on LEAD Conference Presentations

December 21, 2016

The LEAD Center continued to have a presence at national, state, and regional conferences this fall. Presentations focused on sharing emerging best practices in disability policy, as well as tools and resources for workforce and disability service delivery with professionals in the field.

National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) 2016 Youth Development Symposium - October 31 - November 2, 2016 – Chicago, Ill.

LEAD Center staff held a pre-symposium workshop and exhibited at the 2016 Youth Development Symposium hosted by the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP). Dr. Rebecca Salon, LEAD Center Project Director, National Disability Institute; Brittany Taylor, Workforce Engagement Manager, National Disability Institute; Rose Sloan, Policy Advisor, Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy; and Janet Steveley, Senior Consultant, Griffin-Hammis Associates, facilitated a workshop called Alternative Assessment Strategies to Open Doors to Employment for Youth: Self-Guided and Group Discovery. The interactive workshop covered supports and services that are available from formal and informal sources that may support employment outcomes for youth and young adults who face multiple barriers to employment, including disability.

Facilitators emphasized the areas within WIOA Title I and IV that focuses on working with youth who face barriers to employment. To meet new WIOA requirements, the workshop offered universally designed assessment approaches that guide youth and the people in their lives to identify their unique gifts and talents, discern vocational themes, and build support networks to create pathways to employment and career exploration. These strategies include engaging in Discovery, Guided Group Discovery, and Self-Guided Discovery with youth.

A panel from Medford, Oregon shared lessons learned while piloting the Guided Group Discovery curriculum for transition-aged youth and young adults in Southern Oregon. The panel included: Stephannie Kruglevich, Talent Development Professional, Worksource Rogue Valley; Kari Kingsolver, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services; and Cindy Cameron, Transition Network Facilitator, Southern Oregon Education Service District.

NAWDP is the premier association for workforce professionals from across the country. The 2016 Youth Symposium was the largest gathering of youth-focused workforce professionals to date, with approximately 620 registrants from 42 states, all engaging in networking, improving their skills, learning new strategies, and enhancing their programs.

Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) 2016 Regional Institute (November 1-2) – Sacramento, Calif.

On November 2, 2016, LEAD Center Public Policy Co-Chair and National Disability Institute Executive Director, Michael Morris, provided a keynote address and conference session at the 2016 APSE Regional Institute in Sacramento, Calif. The keynote address and session both focused on changing thinking and behavior and taking practical steps towards changing social and human service delivery models to support financial capability opportunities for people with disabilities.

The theme of the 2016 APSE Regional Institute was From Workshops to Workplaces: Achieving the Goal of Employment First. The APSE Regional Institute is designed to help disability service providers build their capacity for supported employment with the goal of enabling people to attain competitive integrated jobs in their communities. The Institute addresses such topics as funding, communicating change with individuals served and families, strategic business planning, staff development, employer outreach, job development, informed choice and employment, and wrap-around services.

Maryland Association of Community Services (MACS) Leadership Conference - November 3, 2016 – Cambridge, Md.

The LEAD Center’s Project Director, Rebecca Salon, was invited to present a session on Successful Employment: Partnering with the Workforce System to Achieve Employment Outcomes at the MACS 2016 Fall Conference. In this session, participants learned about the partnership opportunities and resources that are available to them through the workforce system. As Maryland engages in implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), it is critical that providers, families, and people with disabilities learn about the many supports and services that are available through the workforce system's American Job Centers (AJCs) and from their partners.  The LEAD Center highlighted its work in promoting competitive integrated employment and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities, including its Guided Group Discovery pilots. The presentation also discussed the common goals between WIOA and the HCBS Final Setting Rule as they related to employment and control of personal resources.

The Maryland Association of Community Services (MACS) is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening agencies to better support people with developmental disabilities and their families in their own communities. MACS accomplishes this through advocacy that promotes the highest standards of program excellence; fosters a climate that develops and nurtures a quality workforce; and results in an increased capacity within Maryland communities to support people in inclusive settings.

Maryland Works 9th Annual Employment Awards Program – November 15, 2016 – Baltimore, Md.

LEAD Center Project Director, Dr. Rebecca Salon, was invited to present at the Maryland Works 9th Annual Employment Awards Program on November 15. Dr. Salon presented on the State of the State: Employment of People with Disabilities, focusing on the importance of partnerships and leveraging resources across systems. This included a discussion of opportunities created by WIOA to support employment, focus on customized employment, and promote economic advancement outcomes for people with disabilities. Dr. Salon was joined on the panel by Suzanne Page, Assistant State Superintendent of the Division of Rehabilitation Services; Steven Reeder, MD Behavioral Health Administration; and Karen Lee, Executive Director of SEEC and Former MD DDA Fellow.

2016 TASH Annual Conference - November 30-December 2, 2016 – St. Louis, Mo.

For the fourth year, the LEAD Center participated in the national TASH Conference. The LEAD Center added to this professional development and networking event by providing four presentations on strategies to improve the employment and economic advancement of individuals across the spectrum of disability. Attendees reported the information they received from LEAD staff was compelling and timely. The sessions were designed to provide information and strategies to assist participants in building bridges among stakeholders and partners to promote employment, inclusion and economic self-sufficiency for people with significant disabilities. LEAD presentations included:

  • Partnering with the Workforce System: Achieving Employment Outcomes through WIOA – This session focused on the opportunities created by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to support employment and economic advancement outcomes for people with disabilities. The presentation also focused on ways that people with disabilities, providers, and advocates can become involved with WIOA implementation.
  • HCBS Final Rule Implementation Strategies: Control of Personal Resources – In this session, participants learned about the roles that service providers, families, supporters, and self-advocates can play in strengthening a person’s financial capability. Participants explored opportunities to integrate financial education and empowerment into service planning and delivery, and improve collaboration with non-disability financial capability partners.
  • Creating a Vision for Your Life – In this session, participants, including self-advocates, explored the important role money and financial planning plays in setting goals and making decisions about achieving personal goals. Participants identified individual goals they had for themselves and explored how to earn, manage, and save to meet those goals. Ricardo Thornton, a self-advocate and Board President of Project ACTION!, shared his success in achieving financial stability.
  • Poverty, Opportunity, and Upward Mobility from a Disability Perspective – Working-age Americans with disabilities face significant barriers to economic success – low expectations, discrimination, and a complex public support system that often limits employment opportunities and upward mobility. This session explored the current financial state of many Americans with disabilities living in poverty and the avenues and programs that can lead to poverty reduction, financial stability, and upward mobility.

Additionally, the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the Administration for Community Living (ACL) partnered to conduct a collaborative Employment First pre-conference session, Where the Rubber Hits the Road, that focused on Person Centered Planning, technological modifications, building and retaining dynamic employment teams and applying knowledge learned in the field to ensure successful competitive integrated employment outcomes.

The TASH Annual Conference brought together over 800 stakeholders from every aspect of the disability community to learn, share, grow, and collaborate to advance inclusion and human rights for people with significant disabilities. This year’s conference theme, “Gateway to Equity,” explored inclusive communities, schools, and workplaces that support people with disabilities, including those with complex support needs, in living a fair, just, and balanced life.