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Let’s Get to Work A Community Approach to Improving Employment Outcomes for Youth

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Let’s Get to Work A Community Approach to Improving Employment Outcomes for Youth

  1. 1. Let’s Get to WorkA Community Approach to Improving Employment Outcomes for Youth Beth Swedeen and Lisa Pugh CEC, April 2013 San Antonio, TX
  2. 2. Learning Objectives• Use evidence-based and promising practices at the local and systems level to measure employment outcomes• Identify policy and practice challenges and strategies• Partner with policymakers to make policy change
  3. 3. Background• WI BPDD awarded a Partnerships in Employment grant focused on policy changes that lead to better integrated employment outcomes for youth with significant I/DD
  4. 4. Combines what research/data shows are:• Most significant barriers;• Strategies and practices that work;• Policies that act as both facilitators and barriers to employment.
  5. 5. Project framework includes all stakeholders• School staff• Service agencies: voc rehab, long-term care, state education• Students• Families• Broader community (including employers)
  6. 6. Four project components• Statewide consortium• Pilot schools• On-site coaches• Policy team
  7. 7. Consortium’s Role• Large: includes representation from all stakeholders, 60-70 people.• Provides input on what is and isn’t working, what directions to pursue; what policies need to change or improve.• Includes progress updates from schools and three state agencies on progress: practice and policy changes.• Include youth and family tracks, particularly to build self-determination.
  8. 8. Pilot Schools• Did a statewide competitive application reviewed by all six major partners (3 state agencies; 3 ADD partners)• Looked for interest/ability to develop a broader stakeholder group in their school and community• Had to commit to implement evidence-based or promising practices• Focus local funds on sustainability
  9. 9. Practices:• Person-centered planning• School/community mapping of opportunities• Connection to general education and co-curricular activities• Summer paid/volunteer community-based jobs• Early connection to DVR• Engaging broader community through a Community Conversation• School learning circle/ community of practice to learn from each other
  10. 10. Schools Also Developed Their own CreativeApproaches to Engaging with their Communities Grafton Holmen http://youtu.be/2ysq3AYANaA http://youtu.be/M0rMo-uaQqI
  11. 11. Jobs First! of Manitowoc County
  12. 12. Coaches• On-site supporters/cheerleaders/practitioners who show school staff how to try new practices• Provide resources and direct instruction training• Connect them to other professional development, training and resources
  13. 13. Policy Team• Members• What it does
  14. 14. Policy Barriers:Vocational Rehabilitation• Some youth were receiving assessments in facilities• Some provider networks and staff did not have extensive experience with significant disabilities• Confusion on appropriate age for youth referral
  15. 15. Voc Rehab Policy Solutions• DVR issued guidance to staff and the public from DVR leadership on community-based assessments• DVR proposed extending their On the Job Training (OJT) program to youth• Strengthening statewide training to new/existing DVR staff on how to support individuals with the most complex disabilities
  16. 16. Vocational Rehabilitation: Future Ideas• 1-pager for families/schools describing range of voc rehab services and clarifying age for application• Discussion on presumptive eligibility with Long-Term Care eligibility• Policy guiding schools to encourage early conversations with VR• Strengthen assumption that all individuals will work: Expansion of motivational interviewing
  17. 17. State Education AgencyPolicy Questions• School districts question what LRE looks like for youth in transition (ages 18-21)• Few pre-service transition prep programs• Indicator 13 compliance• Students with significant disabilities don’t always have access to same career guidance as peers
  18. 18. State Education Policy Wins• OSEP guidance on LRE in community worksites• Inclusion of students with disabilities in new state law requiring Academic Career Plans (ACPs) (or Individual Learning Plans)• Guidance in new Indicator 13 electronic planning tool on how to count facility-based employment placements
  19. 19. State Education Agency: Current Discussions• Transition endorsement/certification• Work with higher education statewide to increase masters’ training in transition• Results-driven accountability system for improving local special education programs
  20. 20. Long-Term Care Policy Challenges• Lack of competitive employment focus in long-term care system• Lack of understanding about the impact of employment on public benefits• Few discussions in children’s long- term care system with families about futures planning/employment
  21. 21. Long-Term Care Policy Solutions• Work with children’s long-term care system to create “culture of expectations” around employment for families• Identified vocational services as part of children’s long-term care waiver• Include increased employment as part of state’s Medicaid long-term care sustainability effort.
  22. 22. Long-Term Care: Future Possibilities• Expansion of promising “pay for performance” pilot in managed care• Work with Department of Health Services and Governor’s office to increase work incentives benefits counseling• Strengthen managed care contract language to incentivize employment
  23. 23. Long-Term Care: Future Possibilities• Work with legislators on Employment First legislation• Pursue a pre-voc policy that would prohibit/limit new entries to facility-based pre-voc• Embed benefits counseling info into statewide long-term care system parent training
  24. 24. Practical Strategies for Engaging Policymakers• Make a solid case for change: using data, research to create targeted asks, personal stories• Focus on policy issues prominent in your state(e.g. workforce/employment initiatives)• Look at what is happening in the general population regarding employment in your state
  25. 25. Practical Strategies for Engaging Policymakers• Put a face and story with the issue: have legislators meet real youth and their families• Don’t take “no” for answer: ask someone else
  26. 26. Practical Strategies for Engaging Employers• Outreached directly to largest employer lobbying organization in the state• Connected businesses with legislators on the youth employment issue• Connected schools to local chambers, business/service clubs like Rotary, Lions• Connected with other State Council employment initiatives: Take Your Legislator to Work
  27. 27. Beth Swedeen, WI-BPDDbeth.swedeen@wisconsin.govLisa Pugh, WI AIDD Public Policy Coordinatorlisa.pugh@drwi.orgLet’s Get to Work Projecthttp://www.letsgettoworkwi.org/

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