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Meetings & Minutes
Commission on Disability & EmploymentMay 19, 2005:
Maine Jobs Council Commission on Disability & Employment Thursday, May 19, 2005 Goodwill Industries, Inc., Augusta
Members: Susan Percy (Chair), Jill Duson (MJC Liaison), Kevin Baack, Mel Clarrage, Ray Fongemie, Sharon White Staff: Nath Anderson, Karen Fraser, Larry Glantz , Carolyn Gray
Introductions Susan Percy convened the meeting and led the group in introductions.
• Jill provided an update on the supplemental budget request recently approved by the legislature and discussed the waiting list for Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) clients. The waiting list for vocational rehabilitation services is currently one year for Category 1 clients. The wait for services had reached a high of 14 months earlier this year. In addition to reopening the list to serve waiting clients, the Bureau is initiating several projects to improve service outcomes. The two-year goal is to reduce the wait list to an average of 4 months.
• Karen noted that VR counselors are distributing a “while you are waiting” packet to clients, with information about steps the client can take to improve their work-readiness and to learn more about the potential impact of employment on their benefits. • Jill noted that BRS is not currently able to offer VR services to clients in Category 2 and 3. • Sharon asked about the role of State Rehabilitation Councils. There are three SRC’s, one for each of the three divisions in BRS: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (aka “General VR”), Division of Blind and Visually Impaired (DVBI), and Division of Deafness (DoD). The SRC’s role is to provide sound advice and policy guidance to each Division. GVR and DVBI are currently working with their respective SRC’s to develop and submit an annual state plan. The three Division directors are committed to building and maintaining strong SRC’s. • Susan raised a question about possible savings that could be realized from combining the administrative structures of the three Divisions within BRS. Jill responded that, while this path had been suggested to her by others, she has no plans to move in that direction at this time. She expressed that for SFY 06-07 she is primarily focused on service quality and fiscal accountability. •
Report from MJC Policy Committee • Jill reported that the recent Maine Jobs Council (MJC) Policy Committee meeting focused on the development of bylaws, particularly on the voting structure and how to divide up votes among the subcommittees. Most of those serving as liaison from the subcommittees to the MJC Policy board are also members of the Council. Jill is not a member of the MJC. However, the CDE has several other members who are voting members on the full council. • Jill provided a brief update on the Workforce Investment Act Re-Authorization legislation that is currently penind in Congress. Each version of the legislation includes language that will require expanded focus on access to services for people with disabilities. • Jill added that, in an effort to increase contact with advocacy network and stakeholders, she has encouraged the BRS Division Directors to participate in an external board or group.
• Jill briefed the group on the state workforce plan developed by the Maine Jobs Council. While attending the state plan hearing, Jill learned that there is an option to develop state-specific performance measures during the first quarter of that plan. Jill suggested that the CDE consider developing a state specific measure on access to the workforce for persons with disabilities. Jill suggested that if the CDE were interested, the idea should be discussed with MJC and MDOL staff. Larry expressed some interest in determing whether this might be an area of collaboration between the CDE, the USM project and the MDOL.
Discussion of 4/11/05 Visioning Meeting The group reviewed the vision statement created in the last meeting of the CDE. Several people made comments and proposed a new version of the Vision statement, as well as a separate Mission statement. The group reached consensus on the Vision statement. They also adopted a tentative Mission statement that will be considered for final approval at the next meeting.
Vision: A workforce that includes all people with disabilities who are employed in jobs which meet their economic and personal needs.
Mission: The Commission on Disability and Employment promotes collaboration with the public and private sectors to increase awareness and to influence policy related to employment for people with disabilities
Forum Events/Annual Celebration Susan outlined discussion from a subgroup meeting that was held earlier in May, to go over the idea of implementing one or more public forums or award ceremonies recognizing successful employment efforts of people with disabilities.
Involving the state Chamber of Commerce, and then trickling down to local Chambers, would be a good strategy. Ask if the CDE can sponsor an award to one or two local businesses that provide “best practices” for successfully employing and/or retaining workers with disabilities.
A subgroup will continue to meet and pursue these ideas. Sharon, Mel and Jill all volunteered, with staffing help from Muskie. Larry offered videoconferencing services which would allow participants to be in both Portland and Augusta, which might be used for this group.
Mapping Employment-related Supports and Services
Larry presented the draft “High Systems Map” which had been developed in draft form by his staff. He explained the nature of the rows of the table – commonly understood systems which make up the overall array of services and support for people with disabilities. He explained the various columns, which are separate descriptive elements that help to define each row/system.
He urged the group to suggest rows/systems which might be missing. Kevin suggested that “Brain Injury Services” represented a service system that was not yet on the map. Larry agreed to add that system.
He also urged the group to help his staff fill in all the cells of the table, and to give that information to his staff in print form (writing on a copy of the systems map table), or by email or telephone.
A copy of the systems map can be viewed online at http://choices.muskie.usm.maine.edu/Library/HighLevelSystemsMap051005.doc
Sharing of Organizational Activities.
Larry distributed copies of a new web page that his staff had developed for the Commission, to act as a virtual on-line member resource binder. The page is available at http://choices.muskie.usm.maine.edu/CDE/ The page will contain links to documents, or to other locations on that internet, that contain the following information:
1) documents that define or explain the Maine Jobs Council and the CDE 2) document that the CDE is working with (e.g., the High Systems map just discussed), and 3) documents developed by other groups and individuals which are relevant to or which will otherwise help in the work of the CDE
Developing the Commission’s Action Plan
This action was tabled until the next (June) meeting. Karen asked what aspects of the CHOICES grant this year should be considered when developing this action plan. Larry presented some of these, including:
1) the grant is required to produce a draft statewide strategic plan by November, and the final report by the end of December
2) The process for developing the strategic plan must engage a wide variety of interested stakeholders. Muskie staff are engaging many of these stakeholders in their various grant-funded research activities, but Larry urged the CDE to also consider how these individuals could participate in CDE strategic planning activities.
3) Larry also urged the CDE to plan time for Muskie staff to present the data collected from its various research activities, in order to help in the analysis of findings and the recommendations that might then be made in the strategic plan related to these findings. 4) Finally, he reminded that group that the Muskie staff had recommended activities and timeframes in the two presentations made to the CDE at both the January and March meetings. Copies of the powerpoint presentations from those meetings are available online at http://choices.muskie.usm.maine.edu/CDE/