Employment First Massachusetts

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Webinar Archives

This page contains past webinar presentations sponsored by DDS in partnership with ICI.  Selecting the links below will open the presentations in a new window.  You must have the free Flash player installed in your browser to view these webinars. Once you begin the presentation you will be asked to install the Adobe Connect plugin, if you do not already have it.

#nowalls (January 2020)

In this webinar, participants learn about the Community-Based Day Supports design, complemented by a journey into an innovative Without Walls program built upon these best practices. This webinar gives an overview of services designed and delivered free of walls and full of opportunity.

Slides ( PDF) | Transcript ( DOC)

Supported Self-Employment (October 2019)

With small business ownership becoming the fastest growing segment for new employment options in the United States, the New England Business Development Center is supporting individuals to become successful business owners. These individuals not only run and manage their business but are now key players in the economic development within their communities. Self -employment can provide the scheduling flexibility necessary to accommodate a disability, circumvents the often-challenging competitive employment process, creates financial equity options and allows individuals to bring their talents to the open market. This presentation will share success stories, provide a framework for creating a successful entrepreneur team, share challenges faced throughout the process and walk participants though all phases of process, including the development of a business plan.

Presenter: Jeannine Pavlak, Executive Director, New England Business Associates

Slides ( PDF) | Transcript ( DOC)

Massachusetts: Working to Solve the Transportation Challenge (March 2019)

Transportation is often identified as one of the primary barriers to employment for people with disabilities. The good news is that Massachusetts is undertaking a number of efforts to expand options for those who experience transportation challenges. Attendees at this webinar will learn about a variety of strategies for addressing transportation challenges. As part of the webinar, staff from MassMobility will share how they support efforts for expanded transportation options in Massachusetts. Attendees will receive a variety of practical resources. Join us to expand your knowledge of transportation options to support employment success.

Presenters: David Hoff, Institute for Community Inclusion; Rachel Fichtenbaum, Jenna Henning, MassMobility

Slides ( PPT) | Transcript ( Doc)

Robots are Taking Over! Technology Assists Human Supports to Fade, Opening the Door to Independence (February 2019)

Though smart speakers and robots are not the answer to all of life’s challenges, there are very practical ways we all use technology to be more independent in our lives and in our work. This session will support participants to think about assistive technology when supporting people to reach independence on their employment pathway.

Slides ( PDF) | Transcript ( Doc)

Clearing Way to Employment: Collaboration with Transition and Special Education Staff (January 2019)

How you can collaborate with transition and special education staff as they facilitate career development opportunities for students with disabilities? With greater interest in early career exploration and preparation, especially as a result of Workforce Innovation & Opportunities Act’s Pre-Employment Transition Services, Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs) and special education and transition specialists have increased opportunities to collaborate on career development activities. In this session, two transition specialists from MA school districts and a transition specialist trainer share their strategies to assure that these partnerships are effective and lead to positive work experiences for students with disabilities.

Slides ( PDF) | Transcript ( Doc)

Secondary Transition Services and Graduation with a High School Diploma (Webinar, June 2018)

In this archived webinar, Amanda Green, Secondary Transition Coordinator at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), reviews DESE’s recent administrative advisory, Secondary Transition Services and Graduation with a High School Diploma. Amanda discusses what is required for a student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to graduate in Massachusetts. Her presentation includes the student’s right to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) under federal law, best practices for planning and documentation of secondary transition services, and ways to reduce disputes.

Slides ( PDF) | Transcript ( Doc)

You can read the Administrative Advisory SPED 2018-2: Secondary Transition Services and Graduation with a High School Diploma here: http://www.doe.mass.edu/sped/advisories/2018-2.html

Financial Wellbeing: Reframing the Benefits Conversation (webinar, April 2018)

When looking for a new job, most of us “do the math.”  We consider what we need (food, housing, healthcare) and what we want (a gym membership, a car, a vacation). Then we evaluate whether a particular job will help us achieve our goals.  So why do our conversations about employment for people with disabilities start with protecting Social Security benefits? 

Benefits can be a lifeline, but continuous reliance on them can limit people to a life in poverty. In this webinar to learned more about how you can reframe the conversion and help people you support and their families to consider their options in a new way.

Slides (PDF) | Transcript (doc)

DDS Webinar Series - The 30-Day Placement Plan: Putting The Career Plan in Action (webinar, March, 2018

Finding and landing the right job is a long and complex endeavor. Many job seekers have found that breaking the job search down into a series of small, workable tasks makes this challenging process much more manageable. It also gives the job seeker a sense of control over the direction of the job search, and a sense of accomplishment when each task is completed.

One way to keep tasks in order and prioritized is to create a 30-day placement plan. In this webinar, we gave you all the information you need to craft and use such a plan.

We discussed how to incorporate information from the discovery and career planning process to ensure that job searches are timely and stay on track. We also shared resources, information, and tips, and will give participants a chance to share their challenges and success stories.

Strategies for Discovery and Career Planning ( March, 2018)

Career planning and discovery provider provide the foundation for our work to help individuals get and keep jobs that work for them and where they make a valued contribution. The webinar will help you integrate these practices into your work with job seekers. Learn more and register today!

Download the Powerpoint (PDF)
Download the Transcript

Transportation: Expanding the Possibilities (January, 2018)

Lack of transportation poses a major challenge to individuals with disabilities in terms of full participation in employment and the community. While there is no single “magic answer” to the transportation challenge, there are many more possible options then you may realize. This webinar provided participants a variety of practical and creative ideas on addressing transportation issues, including: integrating transportation within overall efforts to increase employment and community inclusion; changing the transportation mindset among individuals, families, and staff; giving consideration to the full range of transportation options; and development of partnerships to address transportation needs. The session included a review of a variety of resources available from MassMobility to assist with transportation needs.

Download the PDF | Download the transcript

The Art of Facilitating Natural Supports and Social Inclusion (November 14, 2017)

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? In this webinar, Lara Enein-Donovan and Jill Eastman from the ICI discuss concrete strategies to engage coworkers and supervisors while taking full advantage of workplace activities to enhance social inclusion.

View the archived recording

Do we really need a building? Getting CBDS into the community (October 11, 2017)

At this workshop, presenters discussed how to move community based day support (CBDS) services into the community. ICI Consultant and subject matter expert, Genni Sasnett, provided practical insights and strategies to further develop CBDS programs with a focus on moving towards program models that are 100% community based.

The following documents were discussed at this workshop:

The Truth Comes From Us: What Employment Supports Do Self-Advocates Want and Need? (September 19, 2017)

Employment professionals play a powerful role in supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to obtain and maintain successful jobs and careers. For this to happen, employment supports must be centered on each person’s strengths, dreams, interests, and preferences.

This webinar features Max Barrows and Stirling Peebles, self-advocates and staff from Green Mountain Self-Advocates in Vermont. Max and Stirling talk about a paper by the national organization Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE). The SABE publication is based on interviews with self-advocates from across the U.S. People with IDD shared their personal experiences receiving support to work, and several themes were identified.

View this webinar to hear what matters most to our employment service recipients. And invite job seekers and supported employees to join you! Don’t miss the chance too hear a candid and enlightening discussion.

Maxwell Barrows and Stirling Peebles, Green Mountain Self-Advocates, Vermont
John Sheehan, Triangle, Inc., Malden, MA


Making the Best Impression: Using Visual Resumes for Success (June 29, 2017)

As employment professionals, we seek job development approaches that will present our job seekers in the most positive light to prospective business contacts. For many candidates, using alternatives to the traditional resume can be just the technique you are looking for to make a difference and help them shine! Visual and video resumes are innovative tools that can effectively portray job seekers’ versatility, individuality, and capabilities to employers in a creative and powerful way. This webinar featured Dennis Cleary from the Nisonger Center at Ohio State University; and Kristen Piccolo, from the Pathways to Careers Program, at WORK, Inc. Dorchester, MA. Both use visual resumes extensively in their work. They will shared examples, explained how to develop and produce visual resumes, as well as presented how these tools can be used directly with employers.


Putting Positive Behavioral Supports to Work in Employment (May 26, 2017)

Helping individuals with more significant behavioral support needs to reach their employment goals can be challenging. This webinar provided an opportunity to learn and to share as we all work to bring positive behavioral supports (PBS) into the workplace. Chris White, Executive Director of Road to Responsibility, Inc. (RTR) has been a leader in informing the DDS community about this important initiative. He and his colleagues provide an overview of PBS, and specifically, how these intervention strategies can be applied in the workplace. Examples and individual stories are shared, and attendees had the opportunity to engage in discussion and seek advice and recommendations.

Presenters: Chris White, Meredith Aalto and Angela Gaudette, Road To Responsibility, Inc.


Taking Networking to a New Level: Using Social Media for Job Development (March 1, 2017)

We are all becoming more and more familiar with the terms Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Twitter, but do you realize how they can assist employment specialists and job seekers in obtaining jobs?

These social media websites are another avenue for networking and can be crucial to creating and maintaining links to important people for each job search.

This introductory session provides participants with information on how to use these sites to build connections with employers, post resumes and access job openings. The presenter demonstrates how to navigate through these websites to obtain vital information to help secure jobs for individuals.

In addition, this webinar also addresses how to assist job seekers in using these sites effectively for job search activities. Did you know over 40% of employers check social media sites before making hiring decisions? You will learn how to create professional looking profiles that will attract the attention of employers and other helpful networking contacts for you as an employment specialist, as well as for your job seekers.

Lastly, tips on what to avoid when using these sites are discussed.

View Webinar Archive

Project SEARCH in Massachusetts (January 20, 2017)

Project SEARCH is an international, unique, business-led internship program that takes place entirely in the workplace. It is a highly collaborative model that includes a combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on training. Interns learn relevant, marketable skills while immersed in the business. The goal is competitive employment for each graduate. The program originated in 1996 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and was designed for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in mind.

This webinar highlights Project SEARCH programs in Massachusetts. Opportunity Works and Northeast Arc discuss their innovative programs for adults with IDD hosted at Northern Essex Community College and Salem State University. Goodwill Industries works with transition age students in the Boston Public Schools and partners with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital as well as New England Baptist Hospital. Each agency presents their perspectives as they discuss sites, partnerships and successes.

Paula Johnson from National Project SEARCH Headquarters joins to provide a historical and program overview. Ken Moran from DDS is also on the panel to represent the Department’s role and support of this promising program model.

Whether you are interested in learning more about the Project SEARCH model and service approaches, want to refer individuals to these local programs, or perhaps are considering starting a program in your agency, this webinar is for you --- so join us for what will be an inspiring and informative event.

Presenters: Paula Johnson, National Office; Jamie Nadeau and Megan Stone, Opportunity Works; Tim Brown, Northeast Arc; JD Garcia, Goodwill Industries; Ken Moran, DDS


WIOA Restrictions on Subminimum Wage: What They Mean (November 7, 2016)

Under Section 511 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), new restrictions on subminimum wage went into effect this past July. This webinar provides a detailed look at the new requirements under Section 511, their impact in Massachusetts, and the implications for service providers, service systems, educators, and individuals. A key theme of this webinar is how these new requirements can be leveraged to advance employment for individuals with significant disabilities, as part of DDS’s overall Employment First efforts.


Online Applications and Personality Tests: Don’t Get Screened Out! (September 16, 2016)

Most employers now use complicated online applications, along with perplexing personality tests for hiring purposes.

  • How can we best prepare and assist job seekers in successfully completing online applications?
  • Are personality tests discriminatory? Are they legal? Which strategies work best to help job seekers understand test questions and make informed choices in answering them?

This webinar shares resources, information, and tips regarding dealing with such complex and challenging topics, while facilitating productive discussion to share your success stories in managing these situations.


Words of Wisdom: Achieving Successful Jobs for Individual’s with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (March 23, 2016)

More and more individuals with autism have been able to go to work in the community. Quality employment practices have been studied, shared, and documented. Experience has shown that workers with autism can offer distinct strengths and skills of value in the workplace. Although this progress is encouraging, professionals in the field still experience significant day-to-day challenges creating strong matches for those with unique and complex needs.

This webinar is presented by Katina Demetriou, director of Autism Delaware’s POW&R (Productive Opportunities for Work and Recreation) program. Katina has extensive experience placing and supporting individuals, across the spectrum, in their own integrated, competitive community jobs. She understands the reality of working with job seekers and workers with intensive communication and behavioral support needs. She is in a great position to share her success strategies and solutions with you all!

This webinar will begin by presenting a brief overview of important considerations to guide placement planning, followed by candid and honest discussion of job development and support strategies to address barriers. We aim to provide a practical, hands-on session to offer you fresh and effective employment services strategies for people with ASD.


Volunteering, Internships, and Unpaid Work Experiences: Legal and Practical Guidelines (February 25, 2016)

With the expansion of employment in the community and community based non-work, volunteering, internships, and similar activities for people with disabilities are becoming increasingly a part of their daily routines. It is critically important that service systems and service providers understand under what circumstances individuals can volunteer, participate in internships, and engage in job exploration, assessment, and training without pay.

This webinar will look at both legal and practical guidelines for these types of experiences, with a focus on complying with the legal requirements that apply under these circumstances, as well as how such experiences fit within overall efforts to expand employment and community opportunities. Attendees will strengthen their knowledge regarding options for these activities, as well as ensuring that they are in full compliance with the labor laws and regulations that govern them.


Building Friendships At Work (January 27, 2016)

It is abundantly clear that friendships are important in everyone's lives. People with friends are happier than those who don't have friends. They have greater self-esteem. They are healthier and they are safer. These benefits can be especially critical for people with disabilities in a world that still often isolates them.

Widening the Circle is a partnership between the Arc of MA and the MA Department of Developmental Services. This project has been exploring the opportunities—formal and informal—that support the development of friendships between people with and without disabilities. These opportunities for friendships are everywhere, where people live, learn, play and WORK.

Please join Rick Hawes (Director of Employment Services at the Berkshire County Arc) and Jim Ross (Co-coordinator of Widening the Circle) as they explore WHY supporting friendships in the workplace is important. This webinar will also discuss WHAT employment staff can do to support friendships. Whether you facilitate planning, are a job developer, or are a job coach, there is a role for you!


WEBINAR: Making It Last - Workplace Supports for People with Autism (March 3, 2015)

Something amazing is happening with autism employment - in Belgium! Although focused on "high functioning autism", the Belgian approach has many lessons for employment services to people with "classic" autism. We will discuss their techniques for synthesizing assessment results into a whole-person perspective, and using that to plan workplace supports. Toward the end of the session, one of the leading autism employment practitioners in the US will join us for an interactive conversation about other emerging practices.

After completing this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • List three common workplace supports for adults with autism
  • Describe at least two ways Mind Mapping software can be useful in employment services
  • Describe two other best practices being used in this country for autism employment


WEBINAR: Making a Good Match - Introduction to Employment for People with Autism (February 24, 2015)

What is autism and why does most autism information seem to be about children? We will discuss the emerging understanding of the features of ADULTS with autism. We will also discuss a few autism employment initiatives that focus on the VALUE of workers with autism. The success of these programs highlights the importance of placement planning and making a good job match. Toward the end of the session, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has autism will join us briefly to share his insider's perspective on supporting people with autism.

After completing this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Describe three features of adults with autism
  • List at least two common strengths of workers with autism, which employment service providers should watch for and market in their job seekers
  • Give an example of an employment initiative based on the strengths view


WEBINAR: Low-Cost Work Site Accommodations in Minutes (January 22, 2015)

This webinar will explore over 50, low cost, worksite accommodations that can be made in minutes using every day tools and materials, to support workers who experience intellectual disabilities.   After completing this webinar, participants will be able to identify and describe:

  • 3 work place accommodations using colors for task completion prompts
  • 3 workplace accommodations for job task sequencing
  • 3 types of tape for task stabilization and securing
  • 3 types of materials for creating workplace jigs and fixtures to reduce cognitive demands related to task completion.


WEBINAR: Awesome Apps and Adaptations – Achieving Vocational Success for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (January 13, 2015)

The iPad and the iPhone are profound tools for individuals who experience various disabilities. Recently, this tool has been used in creative ways to support vocational success among individuals who experience intellectual disabilities. This webinar will discuss apps for self-regulation, work task sequencing, work task prompting, executive function, as well as amazing adaptations and accessories to support the worker.

After completing this webinar, participants will be able to identify:

  • 3 ways to use the built in camera for creating “swipe and tap job coaching"
  • 3 apps for self regulation in the workplace; 3 apps for executive function; and three apps for remembering to perform specific work tasks
  • 3 body worn adaptations that can be made to the iPAD
  • 3 must have accessories for the iPad and how to use them in the workplace.