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Employment & Training

 

Medicaid Infrastructure Grant Projects

The Quality Assurance and Improvement Committee (QAIC) project.

QAIC is an innovative application of a support service model developed in Minnesota’s Region 10 and recognized by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) as a best practice.  It was previously used to improve the delivery of support services for persons with disabilities but was applied and tested as a pilot project to improve work outcomes by identifying systemic barriers to employment.  In the District, persons with disabilities identified many barriers to employment and multiple case workers from different agencies were enlisted to address similar issues.  The QAIC demonstrated a means of addressing the personal and employment related barriers while eliminating duplication of effort.

IRI developed the survey protocol and instrument to conduct a thorough assessment of select individuals who were enrolled in the District’s two waiver programs, the EPD waiver and the MRDD waiver.  It is well understood that unless a person’s basic needs (working electric wheelchair or reliable personal assistance services) were being met, s/he was unlikely to pursue employment.   The survey queried various aspects of the person’s routine, services that s/he receives, service needs and current challenges to identify their barriers to employment.  IRI also recruited individuals to serve on the QAIC.  QAIC members included disability advocates, service provider representative, agency staff and the project officer.  The QAIC reviewed the case file which was redacted to protect identifying information and made recommendation for addressing these barriers.

Based on the survey and the QAIC recommendations, a circle of support was formed for each individual who participated in the pilot project to create action plans that would address their personal barriers and identify systemic challenges.  A circle of support is a well known disability model that is based on the principles of self-determination.  This support group includes the client, a trusted friend or family member, a case manager from each agency that provided services.  The advantage of this approach was that the case manager no longer had to address all of the person’s challenges; rather, the tasks were divided among the participants, including the client.

As a result of this approach, 60% of the individuals who participated in the action planning were successful in becoming employed by overcoming the challenges that had previously prevented from seeking employment.  This project successfully demonstrated that the QAIC model could be applied to address the barriers to employment faced by persons with disabilities and improve work outcomes.

Employer Information Campaign to Increase Work Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

IRI under contract with the District of Columbia Medical Assistance Administration (MAA) conducted an information outreach and campaign with 50 employers to increase employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.  IRI identified 50 employers who agreed to participate in our campaign, titled, “Workers with Disabilities:  An Untapped Resource.”

IRI prepared a 30-minute face-to-face presentation regarding the advantages and supports that exist to assist employers who hire and accommodate employees with disabilities.  The presentation was complemented by a brochure and CD-ROM with information regarding tax incentives, reasons to hire workers with disabilities, easy ways to accommodate workers with disabilities, and where to go to find qualified job candidates with disabilities.

Several weeks following the presentation and delivery of informational materials, IRI followed-up with a random sample of 25 employers with a goal of completing 10 interviews to find out whether the information had been helpful and if the information provided had resulted in any changes to hiring policies or practices.

The follow-up interviews revealed that the following findings about the impact of the outreach campaign:

 

Work Incentives Grant Project

District of Columbia One-Stop Career Centers:  An Analysis of Knowledge and Utilization by People with Disabilities

IRI conducted a needs assessment with persons with disabilities (employed and unemployed) in the District of Columbia and staff members of the District of Columbia One-Stop Career Centers (One-Stops).  The needs assessment was part of a project funded by the Department of Labor to increase the level of participation by individuals with disabilities in utilizing employment services provided by the One-Stops. 

The needs assessment of persons with disabilities includes findings from three groups:  (a) persons with disabilities who were familiar with One-Stop Career Centers and had used them; (b) persons with disabilities who were familiar with One-Stop Career Centers, but had not yet used them; and (c) persons with disabilities who were not familiar with One-Stop Career Centers.  In addition, staff members from the One-Stop Career Centers were interviewed related to serving individuals with disabilities.

Based on the needs assessment, IRI identified and recommended next steps for on-going improvement of the One-Stops and to increase the utilization by persons with disabilities.  These included the development of a public information campaign to get the word out among people with disabilities, disability agencies, disability service providers and potential employers and providing on-going training to all One-Stop staff on how to support clients with disabilities in pursuing employment.


Social Marketing and Public Advertising to Increase the Utilization of DC One-Stop Career Centers by Individuals with Disabilities

IRI developed an advertising campaign to raise awareness and utilization of One-Stop Career Centers by persons with disabilities as part of a broader social marketing plan.  This advertising campaign involved designing advertisements, working with printers, and ensuring proper placement of the advertisements to maximize exposure to the target population.

IRI conducted preliminary research on WMATA’s Public Service Advertising program, developed the logo and tag line in conjunction with the Director of One-Stop Operations.  The advertisements also included information on the locations of the One-Stops and contact information because one of the key finding of the needs assessment was the persons with disabilities did not know the location of the One-Stops.

IRI designed and the advertisements and even negotiated concessions from WMATA that allowed our customer to target the advertising campaign for a deep discount that included 48 taillight displays, 600 bus cards and 5 metro rail platform displays for one month.

The advertising campaign was complemented by a feature article on the knowledge and use of One-Stop Career Centers by persons with disabilities, 30- and 60-second radio spots, a three-panel brochure that described the One-Stops, accommodations and services available to persons with disabilities and the contact information for each of the Centers.

 

Disability Program Navigator Training and Technical Assistance

IRI served as the Technical Assistance Contractor for the DC Department of Employment Services’ (DOES) Disability Program Navigator Project which is funded by a grant from the US Department of Labor.  Under this contract, IRI was tasked with creating and delivering customer service/ customer care training to all One-Stop Career Center (One-Stop) staff and provide additional technical assistance to the Lead Navigator.

IRI developed the content of the training by conducting on-line research on customer service best practices, compiling District specific information and using IRI’s extensive knowledge of the disability community and experience in workforce development to create the content for the trainings.  IRI created power point slides, resource sheets and scenarios that were used in the trainings.  In addition, IRI provided technical assistance to the lead navigator at DOES.

Under this project, IRI developed, printed or delivered the following products and services:

 

 

 

 




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