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Commission on Disability Employment MeetingJune 19, 2008: 9:00 AM Central Maine Commerce Center, 45 Commerce Drive, Augusta, ME
Maine Jobs Council COMMISSION ON DISABILITY AND EMPLOYMENT (CDE)
June 19, 2008 MINUTES
Present: Mel Clarrage, Chair, Dennis Bouley, Mary Redman Luce (Michael Ashmore), Norb Nathanson, Rachel Dyer (for Julia Bell), Betsy Hopkins, Nadine Edris, Libby Stone-Sterling, Larry Glantz, Karen Fraser, Jamie Hodgkins, Meredith Sprengel, Eric Dibner, and Nancy Labbe Absent: Michael Ashmore, Julia Bell, Gayla Dwyer, Jenn Kimble, Alan Brigham, Butch Dawbin, Zahira DuVall, Richard Sterrs, Garret Oswald, and Jill Duson
Mel Clarrage announced that he and Garret Oswald will be meeting with Commissioner Richardson tomorrow to discuss employment of people with disabilities in relation to Maine’s economic development.
Mr. Clarrage will be meeting with the Policy Committee to discuss a variety of topics such as Workforce Investment Act, 10 percent funds, and how those dollars can be used.
He will also be meeting with DAFS to talk about the Disability Coordinator position. Mel then explained that he had spoken with a person who had tried to apply for a state position and was unsuccessful.
Dennis Bouley described a recent experience he had in using the state’s on-line application process; he was unsuccessful in completing the process and, when seeking assistance, found that the help available was inadequate. Libby Stone-Sterling responded that an interdepartmental committee has been formed to address “Maine as a Model Employer.” The group will be holding their first meeting on June 30. Libby will bring the issue of accessibility of online state applications to the group. Mel suggested that Dennis write a letter to Commissioner Wyke about his experience. Eric Dibner explained that there are two on-line forms (one for open competitive jobs and one for direct hire jobs). He stated that he is on a workgroup that includes staff from the Office of Information Technology who are looking for ways to make the system more accessible.
Libby announced that the Disability Program Navigator project will be having a federal review next month. She has asked Mel to participate in the review and invited the involvement of other CDE members.
II. CDE Organizational Development
Mel reported that he is having difficulty in managing the work of the CDE. He stated that he believes the CDE needs to have more task groups, which would mean that the CDE meetings could be used more for updates. As a first step, he would like to suggest that an Executive Committee of the CDE be formed.
Larry Glantz asked if the bylaws mentioned anything about an Executive Committee; no mention is made in the bylaws.
Mel will send out an email to those members who are not present and then will meet with Norb Nathanson to determine next steps. He also suggested having fewer CDE meeting per year, which perhaps could be three hours long.
Discussion was then held regarding holding the majority of CDE meetings at different locations around the state and using various technologies to hold these meetings; this would assist in engaging a broader mix of participants. Norb mentioned that the University of Maine has an audio/video phone system that is available, for a cost. He will be speaking with someone from the University to get further information. Karen added that the CareerCenter system has Polycom capability, at no cost.
III. CDE Statute on Accessible Buildings
Eric Dibner, State ADA Accessibility Coordinator, distributed copies of an outline showing the duties included in his position. He also included a copy of the statute that deals with the CDE’s role with regard to building accessibility. The Accessibility Coordinator is responsible for coordinating State compliance under the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Maine Human Rights Act; providing training and technical assistance,; reviewing agency implementation of ADA compliance plans, maintaining a list of accessible conference and meeting facilities; and reporting to the Director of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services.
He does not look at private facilities unless there is a state function scheduled to be in it. Eric has a list of facilities that he has deemed accessible for state meetings, but it is not a complete list, as there are too many facilities in the state to review. Each state department now has an accessibility coordinator.
The Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC) deals with discrimination, including employment and accessibility compliance, based on complaints from individuals who are aggrieved. The State Fire Marshall reviews all plans for new schools and other public buildings. When the buildings get built, the only review is by the local code enforcement officer.
Eric explained that one way of addressing accessibility issues is for the public to file complaints with the building official or with the MHRC. Mel stated that the Disability Rights Center does take on some complaints and sometimes works with the MHRC.
There are other agencies involved in building accessibility, such as Alpha One, State Independent Living Council, mPower, Disability Rights Center, and the CareerCenter system. There is no one organized group working exclusively on accessible buildings.
Mary Redman Luce stated that a list of places that are accessible should be available on the web.
Standards for outdoor facilities, such as trails, are not as well developed and clear as those for buildings.
Eric then provided some suggestions on how the CDE could move this issue forward, citing some of the sections listed in the statute. He mentioned that the statute regarding symbols may require a legislative change.
Mel suggested that Eric work with a group of members of the CDE to provide recommendations. The group could include members from the Developmental Disabilities Council, Disability Rights Center, Alpha One, to name a few. Rachel Dyer volunteered to be on the group. The group’s charge would be to address any statute changes needed, define what the CDE role should be, and coordination with other groups.
IV. Reapplication of CHOICES CEO Grant
Larry Glantz provided a copy of an Summary of the CHOICES Comprehensive Employment Opportunity (CEO) grant reapplication for Maine, as well as a “Maine Disability and Employment Nexus Model” included in the application. He explained that the current grant has covered four years, but will end in December of this year. The reapplication, if approved, will extend the grant period for two more years. The amount requested is $750,000, which is the cap allowed.
Larry explained the Nexus Model which shows how the grant targets its activities on three stakeholder groups: • Employers, • Workers and job seekers with disabilities, and • Programs and supports within Maine’s Workforce Development System
He also explained areas on the model’s graphic where there are connections between the three stakeholder groups. These connections fall into four sectors:
I. The central area where all three stakeholder groups connect and work together to mutually achieve employment outcomes for Mainers with disabilities. This is the target for infrastructure development under the CHOICES CEO II project.
II. The sector where employers connect with Workforce Development System
III. The sector where employers and workers/job seeker connect, such as in the job recruitment/interviewing process
IV. The sector where worker/job seekers connect with Workforce Development System to receive job readiness and job search support, and other support for connecting with jobs and careers.
Members were asked to provide Larry with their feedback in the next few days, as the grant is due by the end of the month.
2008 Annual Report: Members were reminded to get information to Norb Nathanson by June 30.
September 23 – 24 Fall Conference: Progress is being made in the planning of the two- day conference and a brief update was provided. Day 1 will be geared toward the providers of employment services. Day 2 will focus on job seekers with disabilities and offer a Work Incentives Seminar Event (WISE) in the morning, Denise Bissonnette as a luncheon motivational speaker, and workshops in the afternoon designed to help prepare job seekers. It was noted that both days could be helpful to providers and job seekers in relation to a large job fair being sponsored by the Employment Times in Augusta the following week. The group working on Day 1 is recommending that a Save the Date notice be sent out and would like to include a brief questionnaire to allow the target audience some input on the day’s content.
October 30 Working Together Employer Network Symposium: Larry Glantz distributed copies of a Save the Date notice for the Annual Working Together Symposium, along with a brochure entitled “Employing people with disabilities makes good business sense.”
Disability Mentoring Day 2008: Libby Stone-Sterling reported that she is working with Ahmen Cabral from Muskie and Debbie Bechard of Jobs for Maine’s Graduates as a core group to make sure that events are moving along statewide. The hold the date notice has gone out to schools throughout the state. Mel will be sending a letter to the Governor’s Office to seek assistance in promoting the involvement of state agencies as job shadow sites this year.
Other October Events: Mel Clarrage suggested having the Governor do another Proclamation and Executive Order. Another media coverage event could be done also. Mel will work with Larry on some of this. It was agreed that if we do another Proclamation this year, it needs to be tied to something.
Next Meeting: Thursday, July 17 Central Maine Commerce Center Francis Perkins Room 9:00 am – 11:00 am