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The Department of Developmental Services, in partnership with the Institute for Community Inclusion / UMass Boston presents:

Building on Success: Expanding Employment Opportunities


Maximizing Job Success Using Assistive Technology


Kevin Berner, Easter Seals Massachusetts

Catherine Bly, Easter Seals Massachusetts

Randi Sargent, Easter Seals Massachusetts

Assistive technology (AT) can be a game changer for an adult with disabilities, helping them to identify, perform, and enjoy employment. AT can improve job performance and reduce the number of one-to-one supports an individual requires to complete job tasks. This workshop explains how providers and families can determine what AT will benefit an individual in their choice of employment, and what job supports can be used. Presenters will review AT that supports work skills, such as scheduling devices, sequencing, reminders/prompting/cueing aids, reading and communication aids, and job coaching tools.


Volunteering, Internships, Unpaid Work Experiences: Legal and Practical Guidelines


David Hoff, Institute for Community Inclusion / UMass Boston

Volunteer work, internships, and unpaid work experiences are often used to explore job and career opportunities. While these can be important tools for job exploration, there are specific wage and hour laws that must be followed when they are used. Join us for this session where we will take a close look at these tools, and discuss the differences between volunteer work, internships, and unpaid work experiences. We'll go over the specific rules for each, and how they can be used to advance competitive integrated employment.



Public Policy to Practice: Making a Difference in Employment


David Hoff, Institute for Community Inclusion / UMass Boston

This session will take a look at a variety of public policy changes on the federal level, and their impact here in Massachusetts. Topics will include the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the Employment First movement, and actions taken by the federal government, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and US Department of Justice. We'll discuss the relationship between public policy and what happens "on the ground," future public policy developments, and the need for advocates to make their voices heard to ensure positive efforts on employment continue.



Pre-Employment Transition Services through Vocational Rehabilitation


Jessica Cimini, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission

Taciana Saab, Triangle

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act requires vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies to provide Pre-employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) to students with disabilities. This session will provide information on some aspects of the law and how the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission is providing Pre-ETS services to students with disabilities. You will also hear about one successful Pre-ETS program model from Triangle, and how they work with VR to provide these work readiness services.


Inclusive Dual Enrollment for College and Career Readiness


Maria Paiewonsky, Institute for Community Inclusion / UMass Boston

Carole Carlson, Institute for Community Inclusion / UMass Boston

Additional presenters TBD

Students with intellectual disabilities/autism are getting opportunities to include college and work experiences in their transition services. These inclusive dual enrollment opportunities allow students to identify and explore their career interests while they are still eligible for transition services, paving the way to improved preparation for integrated paid employment. The presenters, including students and staff from two Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment partnerships and staff from the Institute for Community Inclusion, will share information and stories about how inclusive dual enrollment can influence career development.


When Existing Jobs Don't Fit: Customizing Employment Opportunities


Lara Enein-Donovan, Institute for Community Inclusion / UMass Boston

With today’s workforce strategy of consolidating and combining job tasks, it is very difficult to place individuals into preexisting job openings. Finding good job matches requires employment specialists to approach job development in a different way. In this session, we will talk about creating jobs for individuals, including using a good career planning process, identifying and understanding business needs, negotiating with employers, and closing the deal. We will share success stories and have interactive discussion with the audience.



Getting in the Door: Strategies for Job Development


Karen Flippo, Institute for Community Inclusion / UMass Boston

Are you a bit reluctant about making that first contact with a business? Do you believe that you can be more effective at job development, but aren't sure how to go about it? If you answered yes, then this session is for you. Join us to learn about who to contact, how to prepare for the first meeting, strategies for building a trusting relationship, approaches to introducing the job seeker, and how to address objections or misconceptions. We will have a lively discussion, so be prepared to share.


Strategies for Supporting Consumers with ASD in Employment

Nataliya Poto, Asperger/Autism Network

DDS eligibility has recently been expanded to include individuals with autism who have higher IQ levels. Given the complicated autism profile, individualized approaches can be particularly effective in working with this population. This workshop will use experiences gleaned from a life skills coaching program run by the Asperger/Autism Network to discuss how the autism profile affects employment. Attendees will learn about practices they can apply to set realistic, measurable employment goals while supporting adults on the autism spectrum, and evaluate their progress toward these goals.


Transportation and Travel Instruction


Rachel Fichtenbaum, MassMobility

Linda Shepard Salzer, Innovative Paradigms

Access to transportation is key to finding and keeping a job, and to all other facets of community life. MassDOT and MassMobility will share tools to help people find transportation and improve mobility around the Commonwealth, such as Ride Match, an online database of public and private transportation options. This session will discuss technical assistance available from the state to help organizations meet the transportation needs of their consumers. Travel instruction will also be highlighted, and you will hear from the MBTA's travel trainer.



Project SEARCH


Jamie Nadeau, Opportunity Works

Lucy Ridley, Northeast Arc

Opportunity Works and Northeast Arc will discuss the innovative Project SEARCH programs hosted at Northern Essex Community College and Salem State University. These programs help people with intellectual disabilities learn job skills to gain competitive employment in their communities. Statistics show that 83% of adults with intellectual disabilities are unemployed. However, employment increases from 17% to 70% for those who have completed Project SEARCH.

Social Security Benefits and Work: What You Need to Know

Brian Forsythe, BenePLAN, UMass Medical School

Participants will gain a basic understanding of the Social Security benefits available for individuals with disabilities, how income from work impacts these benefits, and the work incentive programs that are available to assist individuals with disabilities to ease into, or back into, the workforce. Discussion will include additional resources of use to employment staff, including the role of Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) programs.


You're With Us! A Sense of Belonging for All

Michael Plansky, You’re With Us!

You're With Us! seeks to create better communities by harnessing the benefits of inclusion. This program believes that people with disabilities need inclusion opportunities in order to thrive, and that these opportunities allow people to contribute to their community. You're With Us! facilitates inclusion by training college clubs, groups, and teams to be welcoming and supportive peers to people with disabilities. The college group then supports a Positive Experience Design customized for the young adult to help him or her transition from school to an adult life in the community.


The Power of Collaboration in Business Engagement: A Model of Success


Heather Mantell, Riverside Community Care

Kristianne Widman, Riverside Community Care

This workshop will focus on the importance of collaboration over competition in the disability community. The session will focus on how working together as a team has proven to be successful throughout the state for placing individuals in meaningful employment. Throughout the presentation, attendees will see the benefits of working together when dealing with employers and potential employees throughout the application process. Success of collaboration will be shown through the six Regional Employment Collaboratives with measurable data from the last two years.


Career Planning and Assessment as a Foundation for Job Development


Ashley Smallwood, Bridgewell

Marc Jamieson, Bridgewell

This workshop will focus on the best practices of interest and skill assessments when assisting individuals in obtaining competitive employment. A main focus will be on learning about the job seeker as a whole person to find a lasting career path that is well suited to their interests, skills, and career vision. Involving the job seeker's support system in career planning and assessment will also be discussed. Job seekers on the autism spectrum can present a unique set of challenges during this process, and techniques for working with that population will be provided.

The Art of Facilitating Natural Supports and Social Inclusion


Melanie Jordan, Institute for Community Inclusion / UMass Boston

Jill Eastman, Institute for Community Inclusion / UMass Boston

Effective job coaching strives to maximize employee independence and to promote stability at work. Job performance is only part of what leads to employment success. Equally essential is that the new employee fits in and is included in a meaningful way as a member of that workplace culture. So, what are natural supports, really? And exactly what can you do you to help make social inclusion happen? This session will discuss concrete strategies to engage coworkers and supervisors while taking full advantage of workplace activities to enhance social inclusion.





Pathways to Careers – A Customized, Affirmative Approach to Employment


Steve Aalto, WORK, Inc

Kristen Piccolo, WORK, Inc.

"Pathways to Careers" is a zero-exclusion, strength-based employment program design that uses Discovery, visual resumes, paid internships, and systematic instruction to develop employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The career navigator spends 25-30 hours observing individuals in a series of situations that identify their competencies, interests, and conditions that will promote their success. We develop relationships with businesses, identify their unmet needs, and match the individual's skills and interests to these business tasks. Internship wages are paid for by the program. During the internship, our on-site staff facilitates and develops natural supports.


Self-Employment and Self Sufficiency


Colleen Moynihan, New England Business Associates

Self-employment is an underused option for developing economic independence. Social Security work incentives including the Ticket to Work (TTW) and Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS) can help people with disabilities move into the world of work by being their own boss. This session will discuss the basics of developing a business plan, sales strategies, and client development. A success story by a business owner will be shared.


The Power of Teamwork: The Kind of Support We Want!


Sandra Jones, Arc of Greater Haverhill Newburyport

Daysiree Perez Batista, Northeast Region, Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong (MASS)

Jillian Berube, Central Region, Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong (MASS)

In this panel session, self-advocates will share with you important qualities of the employment staff who help them succeed in jobs they love. They will share their thoughts about the kind of support that helped them find a job, keep a job, or problem-solve on the job. Presenters will cover key issues and approaches that help create a strong sense of partnership and trust. They will explain why the philosophy of "Nothing About Us Without Us" is central to increasing employment for people with disabilities.

The Role of Career Centers in Meeting the Needs of Job Seekers


David Hoff, Institute for Community Inclusion / UMass Boston

Richard Berrena, Futureworks Career Center

Sarah Loizeaux, Workforce Central Career Center

Kimberly Napier, Metro North Regional Employment Board

Sacha Stadhard, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development

The Massachusetts network of 30 One-Stop Career Centers has a wide variety of services available to all job seekers. This session will take a look at the role these centers can play in assisting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with their employment needs. The session will include a basic overview of Career Center services, with representatives from a number of Career Centers and the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development discussing their experiences in meeting the needs of individuals with significant disabilities . Through a facilitated discussion, we will discuss strategies for partnering with Career Centers to meet the employment needs of job seekers with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The session will also include information about opportunities available via the MA Disability Employment Initiative, a grant-funded initiative focused on meeting the needs of youth and adults with disabilities.




Moving Beyond Jobs from 9:00 to 3:00


Sue Banks, DDS Central / West Region
Michael Forest, DDS Regional Employment Services
Lisa Aromando-Smith, DDS Regional Employment Services
Rick Hawes, Berkshire County Arc

Assisting individuals to obtain jobs during "non-traditional hours," including weekends and evenings, can allow people to pursue individualized employment goals and expand opportunities for entering the workforce. This presentation will share approaches used to build flexibility into providers' program services. We will go over job descriptions, expectations for job coaches and employment specialists, natural supports, and strategies for collaborating with other key players in the individual’s life to problem-solve and support the person to be successful on the job.


CBDS as a Pathway to Employment


Kristin Falvey, Bay Cove Human Services
Kyle Schaller, Riverside Industries Inc.

It is easy to talk about using community based-day supports to help individuals move into employment, but not so easy to do. Two current CBDS providers will talk about how they are using a variety of community experiences, volunteer opportunities and other strategies to support the individuals they work with to go to work. They will share practical tips along with stories we can all learn from.


Better Together: Collaboration Between School Districts and Employment Providers for Positive Employment Outcomes for Youth in Transition


Elena Varney, King Philip Regional School District
Jill Curry, Newton Public Schools
Mary Ellen Cameron, Lifeworks, Inc.
Karen Manning, The Price Center

For students with disabilities, transition from school to adult life can be particularly difficult when employment opportunities are not realized. School districts and providers are collaborating toward employment success. District-provider partners will share how they expand employment opportunities through collaborative service delivery. Attendees will learn creative approaches to partnering with local districts. Through shared efforts toward the development of work behaviors, career preparation/training, and job placement, youth experience more positive and meaningful employment outcomes.


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After the Workshop - Impacts of Change 2.0


Genni Sasnett, Independent Consultant
Elder Soares, NuPath, Inc.
Ilana Rubin, NuPath, Inc.
James Sanon, NuPath, Inc.

Massachusetts accomplished the closing of all workshops as of June 30, 2016! The change is not over; it’s just beginning, as we strive to reach the promise of Employment First and true community integration. This session will talk about agency transformation issues post workshop closure, like effective community based pre-employment preparation and wrap-around support (CBDS), decentralization of services, resource reallocation and teamwork for agency sustainability. Staff from NuPath, Inc., will share the challenges and triumphs they are experiencing as they increase integrated employment outcomes and develop effective, facility-free community-based day services as a part of their on-going agency transformation process.


CVS: Putting Job Driven Training to Work


David Urban, Institute for Community Inclusion / UMass Boston
Abe Walters, Riverside Community Care
Jonathan DaSilva, CVS Health
Michelle Labadini, Triangle
Kareen Forde, CVS Program Graduate*

Job-driven training is an approach that insures that skill training is well aligned with the needs of business. In partnership with a range of agencies and community organizations, CVS Health has developed a job-driven training program to address the needs of their retail stores. Come to learn about how this program is providing new training opportunities and leading to new employment opportunities for individuals served by DDS.


Toolkit for Transformation – It’s More Than Just a New Billing Code!


Genni Sasnett, Independent Consultant
Rosalie Edes, Cape Abilities
Glenn Loomis, Cape Abilities

Though every agency’s experience is unique, some common steps in the transformation process have been identified as the best and most effective practices. Ms. Sasnett will review some of those steps and discuss what she has learned while assisting agencies in Massachusetts and across the nation to transform. Staff from Cape Abilities will join her to share their experience from two perspectives - the top executive level, interfacing with the board of directors, staff and community partners; and the everyday on-the-ground perspective, directly engaging with individuals, staff, family members and employers.


Putting Positive Behavioral Supports to Work in Employment


Chris White, Road to Responsibility, Inc.

Helping individuals with more significant behavioral support needs to reach their employment goals can be challenging. Come to learn and to share as we all work to bring positive behavioral supports into the workplace.