The project will accomplish the following objectives:
- Develop a system-wide, cross-disability, and culturally competent best practice and evidenced-based skill building curriculum that supports self-directed customized employment and results in certification and/or endorsements for 50 transition and employment specialists.
- Increase by 100% annually employment for students with disabilities who are graduating. Engage school districts in early destination planning to assure that students have clear employment goals in their IEPs/ITPs that include internships, after-school, and summer jobs.
- Develop and implement a 10 person cross-disability pilot project that addresses the housing, transportation, family, and systems issues that are barriers to inclusive employment.
- Annually educate 300 families, including families who are culturally and linguistically diverse, about employment planning, community-based transition, and inclusive employment.
- Increase employment opportunities for adults with disabilities by 100% annually including, but not limited to, self directed options. Working with self-advocates from the "Together Group," other peer support groups, and GSIL, develop an employment curriculum/academy that has a self-advocacy and skill building orientation.
- For 100% of families and consumers in the region ensure access to benefits counseling.
- Develop a transparent employment database and tracking system to inform policy-makers, providers, families, consumers, and funders about regional employment issues and outcomes. Create a system that can ultimately be implemented statewide.
- Develop a performance/outcome based contracting system that reinforces positive transition and employment outcomes.
The Employment for All Consortium will advise a Steering Committee comprised of at least 50% consumers and family members and the Local Project Team; both will be co-chaired by an individual with a disability. Consortium partners include consumers and family members, cross-disability service providers, state and community agencies, universities and technical colleges, employers, and community leaders. The Consortium will meet monthly during the planning period and quarterly thereafter; it will include representation from:
- AA of Greater Nashua, including the Plus Company;
- The Family Support Council;
- Community Council;
- Harbor Homes;
- Granite State Independent Living (GSIL);
- Together, a self advocacy group;
- Vocational Rehabilitation (VR);
- Southern NH Services (Manchester/Nashua Community Action Program);
- One Stop Center of Greater Nashua;
- Local School Districts from the towns of Merrimack , Milford, and Nashua;
- Pinkerton Academy;
- Region 10 Community Support Services, Inc.;
- CSNI Southern Training Collaborative
- The City of Nashua/Community Economic Development Council and City Welfare;
- UNH Institute on Disability (IOD);
- SNHU Center on CED and Disability;
- Opportunity NetWorks;
- Easter Seals;
- Robert Purcell, President of Brevan Corporation;
- Rotary Club of Nashua West;
- Service Link Resource Center of Hillsborough County;
- National Alliance on Mental Illness;
- NH State Representative Cindy Rosenwald;
- Parent Information Center;
- Nashua Pastoral Care; and
- Nashua Center/Jobs Etc.
The goal of the Consortium is to work in collaboration to advance quality employment outcomes in Greater Nashua.
A Steering Committee will include the co-chairs of the four Planning/Work Groups:
- Data and Evaluation;
- Employment Models and Transition from School to Work;
- Consumer and Professional Development and Technical Assistance; and
- Public Policy.
Work Groups will have cross-disability representation; they will be responsible for convening two regional consumer forums and developing a four year plan that will be integrated into a Strategic Plan, based on the logic model, to guide the implementation phase. Work groups will have up to 15 members with representation of school systems, individuals with disabilities and their family members, service providers, employers, community leaders, and legislators and/or government officials. Consortium members will be encouraged to participate in the work groups.
The Local Project Team will include: Sandra Pelletier, President/CEO, AA of Greater Nashua; Kim Shottes, Executive Director of PLUS Company; Leslie Boggis, AA New Initiatives Manager; Peter Darling, GSIL; Tom Call, Community Council of Greater Nashua; Carol Furlong, Harbor Homes; JoAnne Malloy, IOD; Toby Davies, SNHU Center on CED and Disability; David Hagner Ph.D., Assumption College/IOD; Peter Antal Ph.D., IOD; and Laurie Corbett, VR. The AA-GN will subcontract with the IOD and SNHU CCEDD to facilitate convening forums, planning, maintaining minutes, and ensure effective communication between and across work groups. The experience and expertise of these facilitators is key to supporting the work groups as they identify evidenced-based best practices and develop evaluation strategies. We estimate that a minimum of 200 individuals with disabilities each year will directly benefit from improved wages, increased hours, integrated placements, and self-directed employment options; an additional 500 will benefit from statewide training opportunities.
Employment for All will have a rigorous formative and summative evaluation strategy. The following Outcome Indicators will be used to assess over project performance:
- Selected site(s) has a broad community development coalition and collaboration among all local stakeholders to promote young people to attain and maintain employment;
- The business community acts as a key partner in plans to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities;
- Cultural competence is demonstrated by key staff and stakeholders in the planning and implementation phases of Employment for All.
- A regional vocational infrastructure is developed and provides for high quality employment supports/services to people with disabilities;
- A variety of self-directed employment options are developed.
- Public schools provide effective transition planning to students that results in employment subsequent to graduation.
- An employment database provides for common data definitions and monitoring of data collected across agencies on employment services and supports.
Finally, it is the intent of this initiative to reach out to other area agencies, mental health centers, providers, families and consumers across the state to maximize the impact of employment innovations, and professional and consumer development activities.
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