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Connecting the Business Community to a Diverse Workforce

Florida: Providing staff support to 10 award-winning local Florida Business Leadership Networks and training to the BLNs and member companies on Turning Diversity into Dollars...The Many Benefits of Hiring Workers with Disabilities. The BLNs are employer-to-employer organizations dedicated to promoting the employment of people with disabilities. More than 600 businesses belong to the BLNs. The statewide BLN champion is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. Other employer members include, the Federal Reserve Bank, Merrill Lynch, Walt Disney World, Holland and Knight Law Firm, Hyatt Hotels and Comcast Cable.

Florida: Through a 2007-08 contract with Workforce Florida, Inc. and in cooperation with the local Florida BLNs, WRI administered a pilot project that offered paid internships to adults and students with disabilities with limited work experience. Employers were reimbursed for 240 hours of the interns’ time up to $12/hour plus 7.65 percent payroll taxes. The employer paid the intern. Many of the internships were limited to the summer, but for those that were not, approximately 40 percent of the interns secured paid employment as a result. Others developed resumes and references that assisted them in finding employment following their “paid” work experience.

Training, Teleconferencing and Technical Assistance

Florida: Working with the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) in implementation of its federal Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG), first awarded in November 2005 by the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). WRI assisted in writing the grant and provided project management services in 2006 and 2007. In 2008 WRI assisted APD in implementing the grant’s multiple components. In 2008, WRI is providing statewide Supported Employment Training, training trainers and offering an advanced training curriculum titled, Working with Business: The Best Practices of the Most Successful Employment Specialists. In 2009, the focus will be on training trainers and advanced training to include Leadership and Management Training for Employment Service Providers. Since 2006, WRI has trained 2,000 Florida service providers on expanding the employment of people with disabilities.

National: Currently assisting the United States Social Administration through a contract with CESSI to promote the “new” Social Security Administration Ticket to Work Program among employers and service providers. Completed in 2008 a handbook for employers on becoming SSA Employment Networks titled, Turning Diversity into Dollars.  Currently completing a handbook for employment service providers on becoming SSA Employment Networks.

National: Worked as a management consultant to human service organizations across the United States. Provided training and on-site technical assistance to government employees and not-for-profit administrators.

Arkansas: Assisted the state of Arkansas in developing transition policies and recommending solutions to problems that are impediments to the successful transition of individuals who lived in the state’s intermediate care facilities. Produced a transition handbook titled, "Moving to Your New Home."

Florida: Produced for the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC) four statewide teleconferences and associated workbooks on Florida’s supported employment services in calendar years 1999 and 2000. In the fall of 2000, produced a teleconference on Social Security Work Incentives with an associated workbook. Over 1,000 people attended the highly rated teleconferences.

Oklahoma: Produced and co-wrote a satellite based training curriculum titled “Leading and Managing in a Total Quality Environment for Oklahoma’s Managers Serving Persons with Disabilities.” Funded by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, the course was granted three hours of graduate credit by the University of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma: Wrote for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services' Developmental Disabilities Services Division its supported employment training manual for the mandatory training of all job coaches employed in the state of Oklahoma and trained all of the trainers. The training was written in 1994 and revised in 1998. Oklahoma has more people by percentage in supported employment than any other state (71%). The national average hovers around 24 percent.

Ohio: Contracting with the Ohio DMRDD, Division of Community Services to participate in Ohio’s 2009 Medicaid Infrastructure Grant. WRI will provide 10 training sessions around the state of Ohio titled Working with Business: The Best Practices of the Most Successful Employment Specialists.

Research Projects

Florida: Completed with the Center for Outcome Analysis a research project for the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council on hurdles to employment for Floridians with developmental disabilities. Over 500 people were surveyed. The 2002 study found that the vast majority of individuals who were not working in paid community jobs wanted such jobs (75%). The Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities used the report to establish a 5-year employment goal for individuals being served.

National: Research consultant to NISH, a national organization established by the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act, to provide employment to persons with severe disabilities through federal contract set asides. The 2002 research project ascertained the satisfaction of NISH’s federal customers and community rehabilitation providers across the United States. Also presented the research findings, conducted regional focus groups and provided additional research to four of NISH’s six regions.

Illinois: On contract with Corporate Alternatives, directed the projects and authored in 1991 The Three Year Longitudinal Study of Supported Employment in Illinois for the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Evaluation of Supported Placements in Integrated Community Environments for the Illinois Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Monitor Services for State Governments & Other Organizations
Tennessee: From 1998-2001, community services consultant to the Court Monitor in evaluating the quality of community supports (residential and day services) provided to former Arlington Developmental Center residents who live in community homes. Also testified in United States District Court, organized reviews, and compiled and edited special reports for the Court Monitor for submission to the Court. Reports included the “Quality of Life Review,” “Monitor’s Special Report on Independent Support Coordination,” and the “Report on At-Risk Class Members in the Community.” These activities were monitoring components of the case United States of America v. The State of Tennessee, United States District Court, Western District of Tennessee, Western Division.

Georgia: Completed an intensive review of a statewide provider’s community services for persons with developmental disabilities and made extensive recommendations for quality improvements.

Florida: Developed in October 2001 for the Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities, Inc., Florida’s protection and advocacy agency, a monitoring protocol to be used by the Center’s staff in assuring the quality of services and supports provided to individuals with disabilities living in the community.

Web-Based Technology

National: WRI is promoting Rest-Assured, web-based technology to support
people in their homes, respecting individual rights, promoting independence and maximizing scarce resources.



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