Arc of the Bay, Lynn Haven, FloridaThe Arc of the Bay Supports Staff to Transform Employment Services

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EMPLOYMENT FIRST SUCCESS STORIES: EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

 The Arc of the Bay’s board of directors developed and implemented a plan to transform the agency’s ADT to support employment in the community as a priority outcome. “We decided to play offense and lead the way,” said Ron Sharpe, the Arc of the Bay’s executive director during a recent presentation about this transformation for Employment First Florida.

They framed ADT and employment services around supporting adults with IDD to build employment skills and find employment in the community. This led to the development of organizational goals and objectives to achieve this mission.

BRICK by BRICK: Building a Talent Pipeline through Work-Based Learning Experiences for Students with Disabilities

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 requires that state vocational rehabilitation (VR) departments create local partnerships with school districts. These partnerships have led to improvements in the transition from school to work for youth in Florida with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).  

Many students with IDD aged 14–21 are accessing VR services before completing school through a work-based learning experience, or WBLE. While participating in a WBLE, students spend their time in a real work environment, taking on workplace responsibilities, acquiring skills, and gaining insight into their own work interests and the requirements of careers.

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Interview with Kiersten Lee, Agencies for People with Disabilities

Kiertsen joined Employment First Florida for our third session of the Profiles of the Employment First Interagency Collaborative Team seres. Kiersten provided us with updates on the work the Agencies for People with Disabilities has been doing to support Employment First in Florida. Listen to her recording to learn more!

Brick by brick: Building a talent pipeline through work-based learning for students with disabilities

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New laws are making it easier for vocational rehabilitation (or VR) departments to strengthen local partnerships with Florida school districts. These partnerships support high students with disabilities to transition to employment after postsecondary education.

One way that students can access VR’s services before completing school is through a work-based learning experience (WBLE). While participating in a WBLE, students spend their time in a real work environment, taking on workplace responsibilities, acquiring skills, and gaining insight into their own work interests and the requirements of careers. A WBLE also requires that students take an active part in the program, learning new skills and evaluating themselves on their progress. WBLEs are open to students with disabilities ages 14 to 21 who are still in school. Continue reading “Brick by brick: Building a talent pipeline through work-based learning for students with disabilities”

Division of Blind Services: Employment Placement Specialists and Counselors Meeting Regularly to Improve Employment Services

Each person served by Florida’s Division of Blind Services (DBS) works with a counselor to determine how much assistance the individual needs, and which supports and services are best for their life. Counselors have helped many DBS clients adapt to living with blindness or visual impairment and regain confidence in their abilities.

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Enrique & Meridian Behavioral Health Care, Inc.

Enrique is a certified recovery peer specialist (CRPS) at Meridian Behavioral Health Care, Inc. Meridian is a private nonprofit organization that provides a variety of treatment and service options catering to a wide range of mental health and substance use disorders. They provide crisis, rehabilitation, and outpatient services.

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Broward Behavioral Health Coalition: Raising the employment rate for people with mental health challenges

Individuals with a mental health or substance abuse diagnosis often struggle to obtain and maintain employment. Florida, like most states, has a high unemployment rate for people with mental illness. State agencies in Florida are working together to address this problem through state and local-level agency partnerships. The Broward Behavioral Health Coalition (BBHC) is working with state and local partners at the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) under the Department of Education, and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMH) office. Continue reading “Broward Behavioral Health Coalition: Raising the employment rate for people with mental health challenges”

Nassau County Schools & the Council on Aging: Supporting Independent Travel to Work

Travel to work is one of the most challenging barriers faced by Floridians with disabilities. To help overcome this obstacle, administrators in the Nassau County public schools are supporting students with significant disabilities to learn the skills they need to travel to their jobs. Collaborative discussions and planning with the local Council on Aging (COA) allowed the administrators to understand the issues, and to put supports in place to help students achieve maximum self-sufficiency in traveling.

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RESPECT of Florida: Supporting Self-Employment through Grants

RESPECT of Florida awarding Thaddeus Wilkins a $12,500 Micro-Enterprise Grant

The Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (Florida ARF) is a statewide professional association that serves as a voice for rehabilitation service providers. Florida ARF represents community rehabilitation providers (CRPs) throughout Florida with different levels of engagement with community employment. The association has been a consistent partner in efforts to change public policy and expand community employment.

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AOA: Supporting a local-level network of service organizations and state agencies

The Association of Agencies (AOA) of South Florida began in 2000. The AOA provides a venue for sharing information across local organizations that directly or indirectly support people with disabilities. AOA creates links between its member organizations and identifies ways that they can work together to better serve their clients. Over 80 agencies from Dade, Monroe, and Broward counties engage in the AOA of South Florida.

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