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Meetings & Minutes
Commission on Disability & Employment MeetingMarch 18, 2010: 9:00 AM
9:00 Welcome & Introductions
9:05 DPN Video & Update
9:20 Presentation on Employer Outreach
9:45 Maine Jobs Council Update
10:00 AmeriCorps Update
10:10 Other Business
Present: Mel Clarrage, Chair, , Gayla Dwyer, Larry Glantz, Jenn Kimble, Jean Coltart, Libby Stone-Sterling, Eric Dibner, and Nancy Labbe Absent: Susan Giguere, Rachel Dyer, Karen Fraser, Norb Nathanson, Mary Redmond Luce, Michael Ashmore, and Jill Duson
Disability Program Navigator (DPN) Video and Update
The meeting began with members viewing a video on “Welcoming Customers Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing.” Libby explained that this eight-minute video, which can be viewed with or without captioning, is available to all CareerCenter customers and can also be viewed at home via the web. Members agreed that the video was very well done.
Libby then provided a brief update on the DPN Project, stating that the Navigators were very busy completing the regional work plans to wrap up the grant. A lot of the current work involves succession planning.
Libby also stated that she went to the Listening Tour, as did Jill Duson, and both presented testimony. Karen Fraser was also in attendance. There was a little bit of talk about veterans, and it seemed like there would be some recommendations of things going forward. She mentioned that she got the sense that there would be more collaboration between the Rehabilitation Services Administration and the Employment and Training Administration, which is in the Department of Labor. An RFP is expected some time in the spring that will offer some funding regarding promising practices; we don’t know yet what that will look like.
Mel stated that in April he plans to have the Department of Labor update the CDE on how it plans to continue some of the best practices that the DPN project has established.
Presentation on Employer Outreach
Larry Glantz provided a PowerPoint presentation to discuss employer outreach and collaboration efforts. He reminded members that it all started with the Strategic Plan. Following are highlights of the presentation:
• Six priorities areas were identified, with the first one listed being Engagement with Business. Business engagement is also included in the CHOICES project "Nexus Chart", which shows business as one group, job seekers and workers with disabilities as another group, and agencies or service providers as a third target group.
• In 2005, they engaged key business consultants to get some advice and to conduct focus groups and surveys.
• They undertook a Business Leadership Network type group Feasibility Study, which lead to the creation of a plan to develop a business to business leadership group
• They built Working Together, a business-to-business networking partnership.
• They worked to brand this effort, so that the look was consistent with a various materials in print and electronic form.
• They continued to work with identified “friendly” companies, both large and small, and working with key business coalitions, including the Maine Businesses for Sustainability and the Diversity Hiring Coalition. • Their major means of trying to make this visible is through their Business to Business Network website and their quarterly business e-newsletter, which can be viewed at www.ExpandingMainesWorkforce.com,. • Other employer engagement projects include early employer testimonial videos (shown on web site and YouTube, the Working Together information booth, and the annual Employer Conferences. • This year’s Fall Business Conference is scheduled for September 28 and will again be held at the Abromson Center at the University of Southern Maine. • National Connections: o Working Together is now the USBLN Maine affiliate. o Increased business focus nationally, with a recent week-long NPR series on Diversity. o Strategies and methods of employer engagement have been shared by the 40 Medicaid Infrastructure Grants (MIGs). o The National Media Campaign targeting business, started in February, is scheduled to run at least through the end of the year. o “Think Beyond the Label” (information can be found at www.ThinkBeyondtheLabel.com), including a Maine resource page at http://www.thinkbeyondthelabel.com/StatesPages/statespage.aspx?stateid=19. o The new Maine portal being developed at www.EmploymentforME.org will connect to business, as well as to job seekers and to service providers. Regarding sustainability, the primary approach is to make sure this effort is built on the interests and engagement of the businesses themselves for wanting it to move forward. Much of the annual conferences have been self-funded by businesses, and they recruit sponsors. They also work with other innovative groups, such as the Maine Business for Sustainability (which used to be called the Maine Business for Social Responsibility).
20th Anniversary of ADA
Eric Dibner, State ADA Coordinator, stated that a proposed Executive Order has been submitted to the Governor, to acknowledge the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some of the language in it states the State should commit to IT accessibility on the web. The proposed Executive Order also asks the Departments to report on what they’ve done on being a model employer. The document is currently being circulated, and Eric believes it will go forward. It’s possible it will be altered some before it is finalized. The 20th anniversary is July 26. A copy of the document will be circulated when it is in a more final form.
A national 20th anniversary campaign involves getting organizations to sign on to a proclamation, which says the ADA is great, is doing good things, and organizations who sign on are committed to continue to work on it. Eric suggested that the CDE might consider signing on to this. The campaign is called 2010 to 2010. Eric will forward the link to Nancy Labbe for dissemination to the CDE.
Members were asked if someone wanted to take the lead on behalf of the CDE in participating in the 20th Anniversary of the ADA campaign; Jennifer volunteered. Part of the campaign includes a celebratory Blaine House Tea, which has been scheduled on July 27.
Maine Jobs Council Update
Mel Clarrage reported that the Maine Jobs Council met on February 19. Discussion was held on what policy areas would be focused on. They agreed to continue the policy work that was started a few years ago. They agreed to add how the Maine Jobs Council was positioned within state government. They discussed the $1 million recovery act funds that came in to the Workforce Investment Act, which was used for a training account that was established to assist low income Mainers to obtain education and support services. Mel pointed out that the Maine Jobs Council was not provided an opportunity to weigh in on the decision.
The MJC had a presentation on the WIRED grant, which helped to bring businesses together and get private investment, along with grant resources, to maximize collaboration between business, education, and workforce development. If folks are interested, Mel stated he could get a copy of the PowerPoint presentation on this.
Larry commented that he hadn’t heard anything for a while on the Department of Education grant. He will send an email to Garret Oswald on the status of this.
Mel spoke with Mary Redmond Luce earlier this week. Most of their members have been recruited and trained. They are moving along well. One of their challenges has been with the Department of Education cutting the Council on Transition budget, which was the bulk of the money coming into the Maine Transition Network, who is the fiscal agent of AmeriCorps. With this cut, the folks administering AmeriCorps wanted a different fiscal agent to manage the grant. The new fiscal agent will be the Maine Parent Federation, beginning April 1. The Maine Transition Network will still be doing some of the programmatic pieces.
The CDE was put into the initial grant as the Steering Committee. They would like a core group of the CDE to form a board that they can meet with quarterly to get some meaningful guidance. Mel stated that if the CDE does this, more structure will be needed.
Mel will have another update with Mary, and if she has a written update with a list of the schools and members, he will circulate it to everyone.
Mel asked Nancy to forward him the contact information on Cindy Dow so that he can follow up with her.
Rachel had agreed to work with Norb on drafting a letter to the City of Augusta regarding public transportation issues. The draft was circulated, and Mel asked for any feedback on that. Members agreed that the letter should be signed by the Chair
Libby suggested that a one page description of what the CDE is all about might be beneficial. This could be brought to various functions, such as the Brain Injury Conference she is attending next week, to alert various groups to the Commission and perhaps might raise some interest for folks who might want to join. Jennifer suggested that information could be cut and pasted from the CDE web page. She agreed to talk with Garret about this. Libby stated that with Garret’s okay, perhaps Brenda Evans could help by providing her expertise in designing the document to make it look professional.
Mel reported that the Commissioner will be invited to attend the CDE April meeting to discuss the department’s plan for continuing the work of the DPN program when that funding ends.
Mel has heard that the state has enhanced efforts in employing people with disabilities and suggested inviting someone from the Bureau of Human Resources to the April meeting; members agreed.
Mel also suggested getting an update from the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services on the status of the waitlist. He reminded members that Jill Duson had offered to come back and do an update. Gayla responded that this was a good idea and suggested asking how BRS is handling transition youth. With the Committee on Transition gone, discussion was held on whether VR would be picking up the slack. Members agreed that Jill will be invited to the May meeting.
Jenn suggested that someone from DHHS be invited to talk about employment services, including waiver programs. Another topic could be the MaineCare Workers with Disabilities option.
In terms of different meetings times, or possible evening meetings, Mel is open to members’ thoughts and suggested that the Executive Committee would look at this.