Webinar: Various Programs to help People with Disabilities

 

audio version (opens in a new tab)

 

 

Introduction

I think it is interesting to learn what other U.S. states are doing to help people with disabilities. On April 13, 2021, I attended a virtual webinar presented by the

Disability Employment Technical Assistance Center

The subject was “Innovate 2 Motivate: Designing & Scaling Innovative Models to Help People with Disabilities Achieve CIE & Economic Advancement”. I could not find webinar materials or recording. However, the entities which the speakers represented are all included in the Resources section below. The event had speakers from three U.S. states across the country. In this article, I will summarize what I learned.

 

Alaska

The first presentation was from a Center for Independent Living in Alaska,

Access Alaska.

The two speakers spoke about their employment-focused transition program for youth with disabilities. The program focus is on career exploration, work-based learning and work readiness. It is important to identify students who could benefit from pre-employment transition services. Career development can help students identify potential career paths. Students also needs to learn how to obtain and maintain employment. Work-based learning helps students learn through hands-on work experience. Access Alaska has partners with their vocational rehabilitation agency. The presenter emphasized importance of students working directly with the VR agency. Business partnerships can help identify career choices. The second presentation was from Rhode Island.

 

Rhode Island

The second presenter’s focus was on the state’s self-employment project. Self-employment enables the individual to launch their own business and achieve their own goals. Business mentors are crucial for success. Flexibility, persistence and family involvement were stated to be crucial for self-employment success. The event wrapped up with a presentation from Colorado.

 

Colorado

The Colorado presenter, from an organization called

MindSource,

focuses on brain injury. Colorado’s definition of brain injury can occur from internal or external causes. The disability can affect people in various ways. Brain injury is not always a visible disability. Symptoms can be cognitive or physical. Brain injury services need to be individualized and identify areas of struggle. It is important to educate people who have brain injury without providing too much information. MindSource test tools are available to anyone at no cost. I will end this article with some resources recommended by the webinar presenters.

 

Resources

A variety of resources were mentioned. The first presenter mentioned her Center’s web site

Access Alaska.

One speaker from Alaska also mentioned the federal initiative

Visionary Opportunities to Inspire Competitive Integrated Employment (VOICE)”.

This initiative, from the U.S. Department of labor, focuses on increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The second presenter recommended the

Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council.

The relevant section of their web site is about

the Council’s self-employment program.

The Colorado presenter mentioned two resources which I took note of. First is her organization mentioned above,

MindSource.

The presenter stated that MindSource offers free brain injury resources which anyone can use. Second,

National Association of State Head Injury Administrators”

Is a resource for people who want to learn more about brain injury. Bottom line: Information and resources are both useful.

 

Question

What information in my blog post this week did you find most useful? I shall return with another article.

 

 

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