Thursday, October 22, 2015

Funding for Vocational Rehabilitation

A recent article on Disability Scoop by Shaun Heasley sheds light on the funding that will be shared with our great state of Virginia to make employment for people with disabilities a reality.

Millions Pledged For Vocational Rehabilitation

The U.S. Department of Education is handing out more than $12.6 million designed to enhance employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
The money from the agency’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services will be divvied among agencies in 10 locales across the country to “help improve the outcomes of individuals with disabilities — from cradle through career,” the Education Department said.
Some of the grants are for centers that offer technical assistance while other funds will go toward programs aimed at pairing people with disabilities looking for jobs with employers struggling to find workers with specific skills.
“We want all individuals with disabilities to have opportunities and succeed,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in announcing the funds. “These are part of our commitment to ensuring all students — no matter their zip code, family income or disability — have a chance to be successful in college, careers and life.”
Funding is headed to entities in Mississippi, Arizona, Georgia, Nebraska, Virginia, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Louisiana, California and Washington, D.C.

For the full article, click here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Improving Disability Inclusion in Your Workplace

     In staying with the theme of October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, from the U.S. Department of Labor Blog, here are some tips for employers to improve disability inclusion in the workplace:

5 Tips for Employers on Improving Disability Inclusion

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the recent White House Summit on Disability Employment explored how we can better include people with disabilities in the workplace. Here are five top takeaways from the summit for employers on improving disability inclusion:

1. Connect with local disability advocacy organizations

Advocacy organizations across the country are available to provide assistance with training, recruiting and hiring individuals with disabilities. Let them know your business needs and goals and they can help improve your disability employment program.

2. Provide on-the-job training

Apprenticeship programs, paid internships and on-the-job training are essential to having a full workforce. Make sure these programs are inclusive of individuals with disabilities.

3. Learn by example

Following the business practices of companies that excel in disability inclusion is one of the best ways to learn how to recruit, hire, retain, and promote people with disabilities. SSB BART Group is just one example.

4. Start a mentorship program

Fostering relationships and mentorship between senior leaders and employees with disabilities allows workers to learn from and about one another.

5. Invest in the future

Even if you do not hire a person with a disability, always be sure to keep his or her resume on file. Reconsider the candidate when new openings arise and share the resume with your networks.

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we have to do everything possible to continue expanding opportunities for people with disabilities, especially in the workplace. We need every worker off the bench and in the game, and this starts with prioritizing disability inclusion. Want more ideas? Find all of the takeaways from the summit here.

For the full article, written by Meredith Ausenbaugh, click here

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Benefits of Workplace Diversity

     Straight from EARN exchange, Business and Disability Blog are top reasons why having an inclusive and diverse workforce has a strategic advantage.  During the month of October, National Disability Employment Awareness month, take time to think about how your business could benefit from diverse perspectives.

Benefits of Diversity

Diverse workplaces have a distinct strategic advantage over less diverse competitors.

Some of the most significant benefits of workforce diversity include:

-The opportunity to capitalize on the diverse knowledge-base of workers when relating to different groups, including customers, partners and staff
-Increased innovation and creativity
-Reduced skills shortages
-Improved customer services
-Increased opportunities for external interactions and communications
-Reputational benefits related to valuation of social responsibility
-Increased organizational stability

Embracing diverse workplaces is increasingly important in light of demographic shifts as millions of baby boomers enter retirement and minority groups make up an increasingly large share of the workforce.

Disability IS Diversity

Traditionally, workplace diversity has focused on race and gender, but in more recent years this concept has evolved to include a much wider range of attributes, including disability. Disability is a unique diversity category that crosses all racial, gender, education, and socioeconomic lines.

People with disabilities account for over 5.5% of those employed nationwide. While the precise percentage varies among sectors, individuals with disabilities represent an important segment of every organization's diverse workforce. 

To read the full article visit 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

10 Inspirational Figures


In continuing to honor National Disability Employment Awareness month, here is a list of inspirational figures throughout history who have not only overcome limits put on them by convention, but became leaders in their field!  

This list, compiled by Family Home Pro, highlights 10 people who didn’t let their disability define them.  

We are lucky to be working in a field where we are surrounded by success stories!

The Ten Most Inspirational Disabled Person Success Stories News

Many people who have a disability don't let it prevent them from leading full and rich lives, indeed some are an inspiration to both disabled and non-disabled people alike. Below is a list of disabled people who have achieved outstanding success despite their disability.

1. Stephen Hawking is probably one of the world's best known high achievers with a disability. He's an internationally renowned physicist / mathematician who suffers from Motor Neuron Disease. At 35 he was Cambridge's first Gravitational Physics Professor and received the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics Award. he's written a best selling book which was later made into a film called A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes.

2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the 32nd President of the United States. He contracted Polio in 1921 which left him paralysed from the waist down. Refusing to accept his paralysis he tried different therapies and methods to try and walk and did master walking short distances using iron braces and a cane. He was careful not to be seen in a wheelchair in public. He established a foundation to help others with Polio and directed the March of Dimes program which eventually funded an effective vaccine.

3. Another successful politician, Pat Stack is a left wing revolutionary and part of the Socialist Workers Party committee. A child born from a Thalidomide pregnancy he uses a wheelchair. A great political mind and brilliant orator he holds meetings every year at Marxism in London and wrote 'Stack on the Back'. The Socialist Review until 2004.

4. David Blunkett was an MP, Education Secretary, Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions at various times. he's been blind since birth and has never let this fact hold him back in any aspect of his life.

5. Tanni Gray Thompson OBE is probably the best known disabled athlete, representing Britain in distances from 100m to 800m. she's won 14 Paralympic medals including 9 gold's and she's broken over 20 records. she's also won 5 London Marathons as a wheelchair athlete and has become a TV presenter.

6. Marla Runyan is a legally blind marathon runner and has set several track and field records at the Paralympics in Atlanta, 1996. she's represented the US at the 2000 Olympics and became the first legally blind athlete to compete in an Olympics.

7. Itzhak Perlman is an Israeli-American violinist, conductor and teacher. He's a renowned musician who contracted Polio at age four and today uses crutches or a wheelchair and plays the violin while seated. In 1986 he received the Medal of Liberty from President Reagan. He's also an advocate for people with disabilities and promotes laws to allow easier access to buildings and transport.

8. Francisco Goya (1746-1828) was a Spanish painter who suffered an illness which left him deaf at 46. He went on to create some of the best known Spanish art of the 19th Century. He provided inspiration for the work of later artists including Picasso and Monet.

9. Helen Keller was an American author, political activist and lecturer who was blind, deaf and mute. She was the first deaf and blind person to be awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree.

10. Albert Einstein, the famous mathematician and physicist, had a learning disability and didn't speak until he was three years old. He found maths and writing difficult at school but went on to become one of the best known scientists of all time winning the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.

To visit the original article, click here.  

Friday, October 9, 2015

Counselors Needed in VA Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth Area

URGENT NEED- Counselor / Brain Injury Focus - Southside Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth- The Choice Group
Do you have education or experience in human services and counseling?  You must reside in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, or Portsmouth areas due to the job requirements and reimbursements?  Put your skills and passions to work helping individuals with disabilities, with a focus on brain injuries, achieve independence.  This is not an office job.  Exact hours will depend on your clients' needs.  You must have a valid driver’s license, dependable transportation, ability to plan your day and then shift gears, if necessary, to accommodate last-minute developments.  This is initially a part time job for approximately 20 hours per week, but could lead to a full time position depending on your qualifications.

Application Process: 
Please email resume and cover letter as Word attachments , indicating "VC - BI" in the subject lineThe Choice Group retains submitted resumes and cover letters for 180 days, so candidates who have applied within that period need not reapply.

Job Description:
Provide supported employment, life skills training and related services to persons with disabilities.  At least a Bachelor degree in a related field and related experience, including prior work with brain injury rehabilitation, is needed.  This position requires a self-starter with computer and time management skills, who can work a flexible schedule.  Good driving record and documentation of adequate insurance required.  Compensation based on education, skills, and prior knowledge of and experience with Brain Injury Rehabilitation.  Outdoor Recreation education a plus.

Specific job duties include:
* Assess client skills and abilities and requirements of specific employment situations for the purpose of job/client matching;
* Write Individual Service Plans (ISP), for each client outlining all goals, objectives and methods of evaluating goal attainment;
* Maintain required documentation on each client;
* Prepare written reports in the appropriate format for the referral source on a monthly, quarterly, or as-needed basis;
* Communicate with employers at local businesses to develop employment opportunities for specific clients with severe/most severe disabilities;
* Assist clients with application and interview process and coordinate arrangements for job placement;
* Train and counsel clients, in competitive employment using systematic instructional techniques, compensatory strategies, job adaptation/modification and positive behavioral support techniques;
* Monitor and evaluate client work performance by collecting skill acquisition and production data and obtaining feedback from client, employer and coworkers, providing additional training or intervention as needed;
* Provide on-going assessment and follow-along services as needed and authorized;
* Provide Independent Living Skills & Life Skills Training, to clients in community based, individual settings;
* Prepare written materials for clients, employers and counselors;
* Communicate with referral sources and other service providers on an on-going basis in a holistic approach to providing long-term service to persons with severe/most severe disabilities, including the need for (and use of) authorized hours in advance;
* Perform intake assessments;
* Provide job site consultations and back-up support as needed;
* Advocate the employment of persons with severe/most severe disabilities with family members, service providers and employers through one to one and group presentations;
* Participate in the process of achieving and maintaining CARF accreditation;
* Use a computer and telephone effectively;
* Communicate effectively with clients and staff verbally and in written form;
* Manage time effectively and have availability to work various hours of the day and night;
* Complete paperwork in a timely manner;
* Attend and actively engage in Employer Network meetings;
* Attend and actively engage in Supported Employment Provider Forums;
* Obtain and report relevant ongoing education;
* Participate in appropriate rehabilitation professional associations;
* Assist Director in training new staff;
* Perform other duties as assigned.

Full-time benefits:
401-K/Retirement Plan
Dental Insurance
Flexible Benefits
Flexible Work Schedule
Health Insurance
Life Insurance
Sick Leave
Short-term disability
Education and tuition reimbursement
Mileage reimbursement
Cell phone

EOE/VEVRAA Federal Contractor - All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.

            Compensation: Compensation is based on qualifications, education, and experience.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday Inspiration

It has been rainy and dreary all along the East Coast going on over a week now.  And, after all of the excitement over the bike race, the “slower pace” of these rainy days seems to be affecting Richmond citywide.  This article provides some much needed Monday Inspiration.  It is easy to keep a closed mind about yourself and the world around you and that’s what this article highlights as the biggest disability of all.  Believe in yourself and what we can accomplish as a community through inclusion of everyone.  

Here are some of the solutions the article offers:


- Use digital technology to offer free mindfulness training - and practice support - to every person on the planet who can access the Internet.

- Prioritize delivery of training to all the caregivers of people with recognized disabilities - like mental illness or chronic conditions or developmental impairment. (There is already some research supporting the approach.) The idea is that once caregivers embody better balance, awareness and self-integration they will not only give better care to those with disabilities, they will also be able 
to help those they care for to practice mindfulness themselves.

- Harness compassion to offer support. Recruit volunteers who already practice mindfulness. They can use the internet to offer support to those who are learning.

- Use a lean startup model for agile development. The first year would be a pilot to try it with a 
relative small number of people and find out what works and what doesn't. Once we have a 
working model, we can scale. Over 10-20 years, perhaps. But always with the ultimate goal of
 serving all those who want to learn. Once we feel caregivers are really benefiting, we start to 
develop specialized training designed to serve those folks whose disabilities require a more 
customized approach.

- Those people with recognized disabilities that chiefly serve as their own caregivers will be given 
priority in the very first offering of this online training.

- The system that delivers mindfulness training to caregivers via the Internet can also connect
 people with disabilities to services, including health care.

For the full article by Steven Candrell,  which is truly inspiring for all, click here.