What Is Possible When Systems Truly Collaborate?

What Is Possible When Systems Truly Collaborate?


NANCY BROOKS-LANE: I’m Nancy Brooks-Lane,
and I’m excited to spend this time today with Richard to share
with you some of the lessons learned and next steps planning around
this Virginia state wide customized employment training
and Technical Assistance Initiative. RICHARD KRINER: Just to get the story started
I want to talk about Virginia and our vocational rehab program
to give a context and the topography here in Virginia
as it relates to employment services and some of the challenges
that job seekers with disabilities have. What we hope to achieve with our
customized employment project. Again, Virginia, VADARS is the
state rehab program and we assist job seekers with disabilities
and help them prepare for, enter other than gauge in employment. Participation is voluntary. In terms of the footprint there are
200 or so vocational rehab officers and 30 field officers and we
have five distinct districts. In addition, most of the services
that we are providing for our consumers as it relates to things
like supported employment, customized employment, community
support services or other services are things that we purchase
from our CRP organizations, and there is approximately 80
different CRPs around the commonwealth that we’re working with. So in terms of getting a feel for how exciting
the work that we’ve been doing with Griffin and Hammis. Shift happens and we
need to recognize that being part of a dynamic process is
putting together programs and services that are responsive to
the changing times. In Virginia as we look at the things that
have been going on, that have impacted our agency, have an
impact in terms of the types of individuals we are working with
the challenges, the complexity as well as the goals that we’re
shooting for, things like employment first, has had a
significant exact. It’s led to more individuals with ID/DD
diagnose coming in for services and it’s redefined the way we
measure our success. So we are looking at competitive, question
great active employment being a priority and looking at
supporting folks to make informed decisions about integrated
employment. In fact, we are now at a point where the closures
that we accept are competitive, integrated employment. I’m sure
others listening in are going to be familiar with this, but
things that have had an impact in Virginia would be the work
Force Innovation and Opportunities Act, which is changing
several different factors in terms of how we do VR. We are able
to direct more resources, to working with youth in transition
and school youth with disabilities and prior to them entering
the VR program, helping them explore opportunities, develop work
readiness skills, ideally have some community work-based
experiences, the kind of things that I think three years down
the road will have a high return on that investment as folks
exit out of the school and they’re at a higher level of
readiness to participate and benefit from the VR program. In
addition, in Virginia we have unique programs and services, some
of our more innovative things that are shaping what’s going on,
for example, Project Search would be a program like that. It’s
a program where we are working with job seekers with
disabilities in it their last year of high school and they are
going to participate in a community business, typically
hospitals where they do a series of internship-based experiences
and this program runs concurrently with the school year. The
intended outcome and paid employment. Competitive, integrative
paid employment. Moving forward, just in terms of again, like,
some of the forces and dynamic and policies that are shaping VR
that have set the scene for success with programs like
customized employment, I want to talk a little more about
Employment First. It’s a better way of doing business. It’s a
better way of supporting individuals in terms of addressing
barriers, ensuring that they’re making good, informed decisions
and that misconceptions or fears related to losing benefits are
miss understood and who can benefit from VR services are
addressed. We insure that they understand the information
and the it’s one thing to understand the rules
and policies but putting folks in a position where they can
gain experience, have discovery and new insights and have an applied
invivo type of learning experience we believe is going to
be a great incentive in terms of opening up opportunities and getting
them into real jobs for real pay. Other things we are looking at, better way
of doing business, it’s something our businesses can benefit
from. If you look at
the numbers in terms of unemployment rate with people with
disabilities it’s lagging behind. Again, we feel like there’s a
largely untapped pool of human resources that businesses have
not been able adequately tap. A lot of it has to do with
attitudes and beliefs but a good portion has to do with the
supports and services we can provide and I believe things like
Employment First and others are going to open up the door in
terms of the new services array and target audiences that we
will be able to work about. Communities benefit when there is
nor diversity, when folks that have disabilities are part of the
work force they are more independent, they have a higher quality
of life, we know they are participating and engaged in the
community and they thrive. It’s reflective of the overall
population so it’s an ideal goal to strive for and also
something that will have a positive return on that investment
for individuals, businesses and the community. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Absolutely. RICHARD KRINER: So as we also kind of look
at the shifts and the opportunities that come from things like
employment first, customized employment is one of those new
programs that is a by product of changes in the rules and regulations
and expanding the service array that VR can provide. If you look at
Customized Employment, it’s a unique opportunity that’s
available to us and it’s emerging that confluence of the
changing policies and beliefs, the changing opportunities. As a
service, what we can do and the intended outcome of customized
employment is something that fits so much with what we know
about the challenges, things that may be in the past we weren’t
doing so good with that we can now do better. Customized Employment is a way to work with
individuals and come up with an individualized person-centered
plan for supporting them, helping them find employment in the
community and paid jobs. It might be entry level work for somebody
that’s never worked before but the promise of Customized
Employment is it’s a career pathetic grow in. Entry level work promises increased
earnings down the road versus the old business as usual model
where folks might be working at fast food or folding boxes or
being a bagger. We want to get folks engaged in the work force
and put them in a position where their talents are an asset to
businesses. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Absolutely and the Medicaid
setting waiver rule speaks to evidenced-based practices and
the new legislation that is just now being talked about regarding
sub minimum wage actually names Customized Employment which
of course includes Discovery as an evidenced-based practice so
it’s becoming more strongly embedded in policy at the federal
level that trickles down to the state level and other policies
and practices that have to be aligned along with funding. RICHARD KRINER: Nancy, I like how in terms
of talking about Customized Employment, part of that discussion
includes looking at Customized Employment as being an individualized
relationship between an employee and employers to meet
the needs of both. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Absolutely it’s not about
a program, it’s not about pity hiring, it’s absolutely about
there are individuals that need to be included in the
work force to make communities stronger, more diverse, and for
everyone to have those opportunities that we all value for
our working life and an inclusive life when we are not working. RICHARD KRINER: And it comes back to my point
about a convergence and in doing this work well and
with Fidelity and honoring the underlying intent of Customized
Employment we are addressing more than one problem, right? We’re helping folks
get engaged in the community and giving them meaningful work and
addressing skill gap needs that businesses might have. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Absolutely. RICHARD KRINER: As I move forward in this
next section of the discussion I want to talk about more specifically
what Virginia has been doing with our partner agencies,
with Griffin and Hammis, recognizing that we see this as a
long game, and that if we do it right we’re going to put together
a model that addresses the needs at all levels. Whether it’s addressing
capacity and making sure that when we look at capacity we’re not
just thinking about getting people in seats in a classroom and
getting didactic training and saying go and do it, but we want
to create a model where we have the levels of supports
available, the mentors, the supervision to move folks beyond
knowledge and to skills competency, so they can go out there and
do this. So. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: That has implications for
how we train individuals. We have to utilize best practices model around
adult learning and I will speak to that a little bit litter. And emersion into the process where individuals
go out and practice the methodology they’re learning
under the tutelage of a subject matter expert before they’re expected
to go out on their own and implement strategies and the
methodology. RICHARD KRINER: Easier said than done and
I’m excited for the information you’re going to share later on
about the training model and how it ties to adult learning and
some of the things that are in place and where they’re so important. But in terms
of the slide you’re seeing here, what I did is I wanted to give
us a little bit of a framework to talk about what’s going on in
Virginia, not only the work that’s been done but what is being
done now and I’m using the systems change model which is a model
that has been used a lot and researched to understand better
systems change as it relates to Employment First and looking at
how we built capacity and develop new services and how does
policy tie into it. How does the concept of sustainability and
scalability and buy-in tie into these things. With this model,
the underlying theme here at the very bottom you’ll see is inner
agency collaboration and I will say that is the glue of
everything that we’re doing, good, strong partnerships that are
co-developing and working alongside one another toward a shared
vision and shared intended outcome. Under the circle titled
catalyst you see information talking about leadership and values
and then you move over and we get to strategy where that gets to
the financing, the policy and the goals and service innovation
and then our intended outcome there as the integrated jobs. I’m
going to talk you through and give some examples of how our
stuff fits into this. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: And those important components,
there has to be alignment between initiatives policies
that are addressed, based on best practices that tie into the
actual day in and day out work that organizations do around the
systems change work. RICHARD KRINER: It’s really a systematic process
we need to be strategic about and we need to be intentional
about the things we are doing. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Absolutely. RICHARD KRINER: There is a saying if you don’t
change course you might end up where you’re headed and
(Chuckles.) I think a way to avoid that is to begin with
the end in mind and have this model to guide the work that you
are doing as you move forward. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Absolutely and there should
be a sense of urgency from all of us that do this good work. It’s about time,
right? RICHARD KRINER: Amen, I’m with you. On this next slide before
I get into the pragmatic aspects of the work that we are going
to be doing, I want to talk about values. I want to talk about
ideals and beliefs, attitudes and culture around individuals
with disabilities, work, and understanding the meaning of work
and full participation and engagement in the community. Let me
start by talking about this picture. This photo that you see on
here, I’m sorry, this drawing that you see on her is something
my daughter did. Must have been about a week ago I was sitting
in my living room and thinking about how I wanted to talk about
this slide and I was a bit stuck. I was in my own box, so to
speak and when she presented this photo to me I was like, can I
use that for a training I can do because it’s given me
inspiration so she gave me the thumbs up to use this. What got
me about this was the emotion that poured out in me and being
looking at the picture and seeing the mushrooms on there and I
kind of came up with this idea that really there is an analogy
when we talk about historically how we have thought about
disability, the culture and the norms and the attitudes and how
we have thought about disability and work more specifically, I
think in a lot of ways it could be compared to how someone might
think about a mushroom, somebody that’s ignorant on the topic of
mushrooms, walking around in the backyard and you see a mushroom
laying in your grass and you’re going to pull it up or think,
that thing is slimy, why is that there? I did some research and
the cool thing about mushrooms is there are hundreds of
different kinds and just as many uses for mushrooms, whether
talking about medicinal care or holistic health as a food source
and the one thing that came to mind is the shift and perspective
we need to have when it comes to disability. I ran across a
story of a young woman who lived in South America, grown up
impoverished and had an abusive family and was exposed to
somebody who taught her how to grow mushrooms. She ended up taking this business of growing
mushrooms which are easy to grow, you can grow them in doors,
it’s not intensive in terms of products, but she ended up creating
this business out of this and one of her discoveries and she
talks about mushrooms is if you look at it, it’s something that
can create positive out of negative. My example is there was an area in the
community where there had been an oil spill and the ground was
contaminated, they weren’t able to use this ground anymore and
plant things in there but they planted mushrooms in this area
and mushrooms use waste, right, so the things in the environment
that was a problem for us, the mushroom took it, and leached it
out of the soil and not only when they went back and tested the
ground, the ground no longer had traces of the contaminants but
the mushrooms were healthy and had no traces of contaminants,
and the mushrooms were able to give back to the not community. So if we take that concept and think about
how we look at disability and get way from the model of disability
deficit checklist thinking, right, and move toward
a social model of thinking about disability, what we recognize
is the barriers and the obstacles aren’t inherent to the disability,
they’re out there in the community. The barriers and the obstacles exist
because of attitudes, because of the environment, a range of
things. If we really want to make a change, if we
want to unleash the full potential and all of the return on investment
that we can get for our neighbors, our sons, our daughters,
folk that we know in the community with disabilities then
we need to shift that way of thinking and look at how can we
ensure that we are all on the same page in terms of the vision
and the values and the beliefs, what’s worthy, acceptable, what’s
not. And use
that as a guiding point. The way I will loop this back into this next
slide here is to say that in terms of our inner agency collaboration
and leadership, one of the things I’m grateful
and thankful for is my partners that are sitting around the table
and working with us on this, we all share that same vision. We share the same
values and the same belief that our investment in this work is
about creating outcomes that benefit the community, that benefit
job seekers with disabilities that lead to quality of life,
self-sufficiency, and businesses and communities that really are
rewarded because there is more diversity. More participation. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Absolutely. RICHARD KRINER: So some of the things — and
just to give y’all an example in looking at setting values-based
targets, in terms of the work that we are doing today, with
Customized Employment, we talked about as a group wanting to develop
and demonstrate an evidenced-based model that says integrated
into each agency’s programs, we felt like we needed that proof
of concept, right? Customized Employment holds so much promise
but we anticipate that will be — there will be resistance out
in the community but to get it into a way that we can implement
it fully we need to demonstrate for folks and show them how
it works and so they can connect to it and are willing to invest
in it. I think the
other thing we are looking at is that capacity component. So we
need to make sure we have folks that are trained up, that we
have individuals that have the knowledge and the skills
competency to do this work, but I think training goes deeper and
I know you will talk about this in your slides but that we have
organizations that have invested in that transformation process
so there are supervisors that understand the value and the
importance of Customized Employment, that they my into that and
as they work with those who work under them, they are supportive
and reinforcing good work versus being a barrier to doing that. Lastly, I think we want to improve and just
as important if not most important here on those competitive employment,
integrated employment outcomes for individuals with the
most significant disabilities in Virginia. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Right and I think we get
hung up on the social construct of disability, and one thing
that I love to do in training is when folks start talking about
community-based ideas that are still within a disability framework,
and when we begin to think about how would we begin to
think about options or solutions or opportunities with individuals
who we care about and love, and begin to think about those same
community-based resources, those generic ways in the community
that we can begin to solve problems and create options for folks. There is a huge
paradigm shift, and people — it takes a bit to move past that
so because we are so ingrained within our philosophy and
thinking about disability that it’s got to be within this
disability framework. RICHARD KRINER: It’s true and just to share
something personal as it relates to that, I’ve been working in
the disability field since 1998, being doing VR work since 2002,
and worked as a dedicated counselor for mental illness, worked
in the independent living room, before doing Customized
Employment I was helping to develop specialized employment
programs for individuals with autism so I’ve done a lot
of work and throughout any career I’ve found this work
so rewarding. I
think it’s the only thing that I could have every done. I love
this work and it’s important to me but three years ago when my
son was diagnosed with autism and I started having nights laying
in bed worrying about what’s going to happen and how do I
support him and the challenges and obstacles to knock down and
overcome it changed the stakes for me. So when we talk about
changes and attitudes and values, it’s a must. It’s
foundational in its core because if we cannot shift that in the
broader community by demonstrating the value and the investment
we might as well be building a foundation on shaky ground,
right? NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Right. Well put. RICHARD KRINER: We have multiple levels thinking
about state leadership and how do we engage other stakeholders,
how do we bring the learning, the work, the investments
that we are contributing to at that state level and bring
it down to the field, right, and people that are out there
in the community doing the work, really involved. So in terms of talking about
that interagency partnership and how do we structure that and
design that we have multiple levels. I want to talk about the
state level what we are doing because I think part of groups
working together and being effective, there are ground rules and
framework that identifies what are our roles, what are our
responsibilities? A framework that ensures equal contribution
and be responsibility and there is an equal voice. We have a
format that allows for differences of opinions and strategy and
maybe even system challenges that come up when you’re trying to
translate something from one agency to another. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: And you know I think that
ties into, we don’t use the same language. RICHARD KRINER: My goodness, no. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: That further adds a level
of confusion. RICHARD KRINER: It does. Let me tell you how this is a good
example of the quality of our partnership. In this partnership
DARS has the lead role but we have our behavioral health group,
our blind agency, and the Department of Education all around the
table. We have an MOU that outlines how we are working
together. With DARS being the lead we’re the ones getting
out ahead of the stuff and creating these things
and we created a milestones framework and expectations in terms
of providers and in terms of products and activities and reports. That went live
back in April. One of our goals was definitely on the
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects side and we felt
like if DARS is going to do Customized Employment and we’re
going to provide it through the waiver that we need to have that
consistency so that there is no confusion, we are not
reinforcing strategies and approaches that are counter to what
we’re trying to do. So there were obstacles, when we presented
this to our partners but there was that buy-in. They said we see the value, we want
you to do that and they came up with a way to implement
framework within their system, they just had to translate it a
little bit to fit within their system. Again, that’s the
quality of our partnership and our investment. That kind of
stuff when you model that to the community and they see that,
those are things that are important then to translate down to
the local level. So if at the state level we can do that then
we can have our VR counselors and our waiver folks and our CSB
folks and our education folks sitting around the table and
spending more time thinking about how can we collaborate,
coordinate, braid and blend resources for the benefit of the
individual we’re serving versus that’s your job, no, that’s not
my job, that’s your turf kind of thing. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Right, right, and it takes
that confusion out of the system uses these acronyms, these
terms, this system, others, and yet they’re the same. So if you can come together
like you’ve described, and have that commitment, that buy-in and
then start talking about common language, you can move forward. RICHARD KRINER: And I think that starts with
being able to operationalize, right? NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Yes. RICHARD KRINER: What is this service going
to look like, how do we measure success ask what’s our vision for
that and strong partnership, thankful for that. Also talking about how we can have partnerships
that reach down to the local level, the other thing we started
at Virginia and this is a work in progress and something that
as we move into our phase II work with Griffin and Hammis,
I think we will be able to debug and built for success. We started creating a
forum that we could bring together providers that worked in
inner agencies, in the schools and with waiver around the table
and talk about what’s going on in terms of developing frame
works, developing tools, implementing services, whether it might
be challenges — where there might be challenges and giving them
an opportunity to have input and using the partners to help be
our feedback loop and talk about what’s going on in the
communities and that way we can inform how we go about
continuing to enhance services, provide technical assistance,
whatever it might be. So we have started doing that. We’re also looking, our goal is
that we have — and we had the benefit of having some of this in
place already because we were using a local team and be
community practice model for our autism projects but creating
that community of practice at local field office levels where,
again, we can have VR, we can have our vendors, our CRPs at the
table, education, waiver, other partners in the community that
can be a part of this and it can be a way that folks can support
each other as they’re learning and growing, that they can
contribute new knowledge and new understanding, cross fertilize
in terms of discoveries, and really look at this as kind of
being the catalyst for broader change in the community, a way to
model it and be that mirror that other providers can look at and
they can learn from even if it’s just vicarious learning because
now they have a peer that’s investing in this, they’re showing
up and they understand the value and it’s going to help them
adopt these practices. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: There is a lot of power
in learning from peers which is what the community learning
practice is grounded in. RICHARD KRINER: Absolutely. We have done more work with autism
programs but if I wasn’t convinced two years ago over the last
two years as I have observed the work of these teams, to me that
is high, high on the priority list, the value, just watching the
energy that comes out of that and seeing folks that may be in
the past looked at each other as competitors, sitting around the
table and supporting one another. Trust one another and respect
one another. Kind of have that sense of inner connectedness
and being a part of something bigger, and I think
that’s the thing that’s going to help move the needle along
with the other components. Moving toward I wanted to just briefly talk
about some of the products that we’ve started to
realize from the work we have already done and, again, frame this
as just a start, we’ve got good stuff coming out but we feel
like we’re looking at this as the long game, not a one and Don
kind of thing. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Right. RICHARD KRINER: Some of the products are geared
toward looking at this coordinated system of supports and
recognizing that summarized employment is a program that really
at its best is going to involve a lot of different players
and organizations and agencies so taking that inner connected
and coordinated ecosystem approach. We have done things like at the VR agency
having meetings with our business development team which is O’er
business service unit side of the program or our AT experts or
folks that are running counselling programs. Making sure that
we are planning ahead for how to maximize their expertise as we
roll this stuff out. We’re being looking at standards of
practice that are designed really with fidelity of service in
mind. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Uh-huh. RICHARD KRINER: We want to make sure that’s
done well ask that’s something we are going to explore in
the next grant as we look at the fidelity scale and administer
training. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Through the grant that
we’re working with y’all on. RICHARD KRINER: Excited about that and we’re
looking at things that are built for the marketplace and if
we’re going to develop things and do rate setting and expect quality
service we need to fund it at a rate that’s commiserate with
the types of outcomes we get and we phene force agencies that are
invested in this and getting positive outcomes. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: The skill sets are very
different. RICHARD KRINER: I don’t think I realized that
until I had a chance to go through the training and now
have sat in on work that’s being done at the field level and,
you know, consult on cases and interact with individuals that are
receiving the service and the providers and really understand
some of the learning curves, the growing pains and the
growth that’s going on, when you look at customized employment,
and I know folks say this sometimes we do good work, and it’s the
same thing as Customized Employment but I would say in this
Griffin Hammis model of discovering personal genius there
are unique aspects and you need to do it right and follow the
process. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: With fidelity. RICHARD KRINER: Right with fidelity. I’m not going to get a
whole lot into the training because this is something you are
going to talk about more, Nancy. Just to know that we are
developing training programs and working with our experts and
looking at building capacity within our state so that for the
long term we have ways to continue to develop expertise. Snapshot of the training. Our first round we had 128 trained,
118 of those folks went on to get their certification and
Customized Employment through ACRES and at this point we have
20-30 folks that have submitted documentation up to our agency
and said I want to start providing this service and I hope that
number will grow more and more every time as we’re doing this
work. Investing in organizations. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Quickly for those who don’t
know, ACRE is the association of community education rehabilitation
educators, it’s a national organization for those of
us who train and educate those individuals who are going to
be working in the area of best practices around employment and
individuals with disabilities. So it is important as a national certificate
that indicates competency around learning this
methodology. RICHARD KRINER: I need to bring you around
with me everywhere I go, the alphabet soup I get in trouble all
the time for my jargon. And training and TA, a lot of what we have
talked about is focused on the provider community and realizing
that we need to look at this holistically and making sure
our voc rehab counselors and others are trained and get
the information so they know how to purchase the service and
case manage it and insure there is fidelity and contribute at
an appropriate level. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Right. RICHARD KRINER: And a lot more coming in round
2 which I am excited about. I’m going to slide through these, I feel like
you and I have covered this stuff and you’re going to go into
more detail but this is just general overview of the products
that we have created. If you would like to this information my
contact information is at the end of this training and I’m happy
to share products, policies, guidelines that we created in
Virginia that we’re using. This goes into the information about
who we are targeting, I’m not going to read this out but we had
a specific target population that we wanted to look at from a
pragmatic perspective of where is the best place to start with
Customized Employment and looking at the folks with the most
significant challenges to employment and individuals with ID/DD. More information, we talked about the training
and we have set up standards with providers and it is tied
to that certification that you were talking about. This is an example of our
milestones format that we’re using. A little more information
in terms of the ideas, the values and process, how we want to
implement it, recognizing that with Customized Employment we
want to implement it as a complete service rather than having
discovery as a stand alone. We want to look at if we’ve got
somebody that we have identified as a good fit for Customized
Employment, they have made an informed decision to follow this
pathway that we’re making good decisions. So when somebody
starts down this path, we’re very likely to follow it all the
way through and come out with a customized employment result. Other things that we wanted to make sure of
is recognizing with Customized Employment that we wanted to allow
for wrap-around supports. As we are working with somebody, whether we
identify there would be somebody because they have
SSA benefits, who would benefit from learning about work incentives
or getting a work world profile to understand what would
happen when they go to work and being in a position where we can
plan ahead, take advantage of work incentives or other strategies
to ensure that they have a supported, gradual transition
into employment and are able to packs mice the benefit of those. Also looking at
assistive technology as a good option and rolling that into the
discovery process and as a matter of fact the tool that we use
which is developed by Griffin Hammis, the discovery staging, I
love the prompts in there so as we are work with the individual
we’re asking is this something that would be important and do we
need to make a referral and how can we integrate this into the
work we’re doing. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: I’m going to shift into
a little bit of the details of the work that we do involves the
training. The piece
that I think is critical is training that we provide is
competency base and had there are actual things that the
individuals involved will learn about the methodology and it’s a
didactic setting and I will show you photographs of the folks
who have been through that but also it’s experientially structured and
we are experiencing and testing out and practicing in the safe environment of a training
setting with subject matter experts what the methodology
is, so that people understand once the training has been completed
that, yeah, I’m not just looking at this through the lens
of my past experience which may be disability oriented or my lived
experience where my world view could impact what we’re talking
about with best practices. I love that piece. For folks to have earned the ACRE
certificate, they have to have passed the testing. The
beautiful thing about competency-based testing is when we base
the testing on what we know works, that there is data that
shows, yes, if we use this methodology people learn how to
implement discovering Customized Employment so that improves the
quality of services we provide. We’re implementing what data
has shown works. It also raises at the national level standards
so that the work that we’re doing is grounded in what data has
shown works. The technical assistance piece differs from
the competency-based piece in that we are talking about work improvement
so as individuals learn the knowledge through the
competency-based training we continue to practice that methodology
under the tutelage of subject matter experts. We measure, so we use the
metrics to show improvement. It’s emersion. We are getting out
and practicing. It can be unfair to have a classroom-like
setting and then say, okay, you’ve set it on the training, you
know what we’re talking about, so go out and do it. Well, that
is not fair as people are learning things so we focus on
practice. I don’t know any profession that doesn’t have
periods of practice before the individuals go out
and actually do the work in real-life settings. The final piece is that it provides
a road map for continuous quality improvement. We want to
incorporate learning, new data that comes out as we continue to
test out and move forward with what’s the best, greatest way to
help people have working lives so there may be emerging
practices that we test and find that there is great data that
shows, yes, this might work. We move that into best practices
because there is some consistency and then to evidence-based
practices because we use the scientific model to show that
absolutely, this methodology results consistently if done with
fidelity in these outcomes. RICHARD KRINER: I would say what we have learned
is for organizations that are looking to develop
Customized Employment services that they need to come in eyes wide
open and kind of make sure their expectations are in line with
that model. I
think sometimes folks just think they put somebody in a class,
they learn the information and they’re going to go out and do it
and do it great but there is a method to developing that
experience and it requires learning and mentors to help folks
hone in and learn the practices. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Absolutely. If you are going to be selected
to be part of this training than these are the commitments you
have to make. The other thing that’s critical is we’ve got
to make sure that the manner in which we are supporting people
to learn is also best practices. Adults learn very, very differently than
children, teenagers learn. The methods, the approaches. Adults
have lived and worked experience. They have been independent,
they daily solve problems and are self-directed, they have
either established a view or are in the process of developing
one and all of this impacts their ability to change. So we have
brought in adult learning theory and what research has found is
that individuals who are a part of a learning environment and
that’s exactly what we have been talking about with the work
that Griffin Hammis is doing, they need to know the reason the
information is being taught. They need to have task-oriented
processes incorporated into incorporating the methodology and
that includes practice. The content has to be relevant to their
life or work, and it’s a less formal process, there is a give
and take. Participants are actively part of how we move
through the process of learning. Along the same vein, they are
respected as equal partners in the process of learning, and
interaction, such as socialization engagement has to be part of
the process, too. The next slide shows a little bit of what
the classes look like. The educational process, where people are
actively involved. This has to do with field work, where the
participants had to go out and assess the business needs and
culture. I’m going to quickly go through again the
information around what the mentoring looks like as we
work together in the process of transferring knowledge. The informational interview
is one of the methodologies I’m going to show you and
demonstrate what the participants went through. We’re focusing
on businesses and job seekers, not a “pity model” not CRPs, but
we’re beginning to dig into learning about the world of
business. Remember we said the skill sets to do this
work are very different. They involve understanding the work culture,
speaking the language, having a presence, so we will talk more
about that as we do the training but it’s a very different set
of skills from caregiving which is important, making sure people
are safe, in buildings, but that’s not going to result in the
person having a quality life. So during the informational interviews with
businesses, we’re being looking at the history, the culture
of the business, unmet needs, employee training, what does that look
like, the values and missions of the organization, the product
and service they are providing, community involvement and that’s
key because that shows a different world view than a business
that doesn’t give back to the community and are just looking
at their business as a profit center. Community involvement is really growing more
and more in the 21st Century because people want to give back,
do more and more and make their community stronger. That is an important piece of kind of how
we look for cues that this organization is going to get what we’re
talking about with a diverse work force. So we do research on all of these factors
before we go out to meet with these businesses and look at
expansion goals that they have. So this is the field work, where the teams
went out and they chose businesses that they went through an
informational interview with, there are distinct questions
taught regarding employer engagement and how we dig into learning
who these small businesses are and the mission and vision
of the business and finding out unmet needs. After each community-based activity or field
work as we call it where people go out and practice the methodology,
they come back, do a presentation to the group, talk
about what was learned, what worked, what didn’t work, kind
of a self- assessment of how they felt they did, any
additional support they would like for us to provide as they’re
learning this methodology. And so it truly is part of that practicing
before you’re put in a situation to implement this
methodology with job seekers. It’s really powerful. I just wanted to point out this
particular — this was part of the debrief of a team, the
PowerPoint that they presented to discuss with the participants
in the particular region where this team participated. It was an informational interview in a women’s
clothing boutique. One of the values of the owner was that it
was important for her to source clothing that
is Eco friendly and produced in a socially conscious manner. That’s important
because what we immediately realize, this business owner has a
world view, they care about the environment and they care about
the working conditions under which people make clothing. So
someone with those values is going to morning likely get the
importance of inclusive communities, diversity, increasing the
work force where everyone has an opportunity to earn a living
and have a working life. We also found out as this team did
such a great job of completing the informational interview that
there were needs, what they were identified by the business
owner was that she needs an assistant and she would train that
assistant, the expansion goals are that she wants to open up her
business to local artists in all the different ways that art can
be created from clothing to visual arts to jewel and I she wants
to be able to sell their products in her store, and, again,
support the local businesses, the local artists in the area
where she lives. Those are the kinds of things we look for
because they get it. That’s an indicator. The next one, I will quickly move through. This was a really interesting store that customizes
shoes to a particular structure of an individual, and
what we found as the teams went out and met with this particular
business owner and found out all about those components that
we just looked at, the slide before, where we looked at the vision
mission of the business, expansion needs, et cetera, was
that this particular business owner needs assistance with health
and sports events. He’s very involved in the community, gives
back, so he needs help with that, and also assistants in the
store, especially during horse where there are a lot of patrons
coming in and he’s tied up in some of the business expansion
and design of what he wants to further grow as a business, so that
was a powerful opportunity as well. RICHARD KRINER: Nancy as you talk and share
these, it strikes me the characteristics of somebody that would
do good with this work, somebody that’s able to look at things
out of the box and has a curiosity for discovering things, it’s
like “little Columbus” going out there and if you definite
really pay attention to this stuff that you would never
know. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Yes, this work becomes
an economic development model, not a disability-specific
model, and it becomes a model of where you go and start
looking for opportunities and business needs that aren’t
being met. Sometimes the business owner doesn’t even
recognize part of the stressors, because he or she is so busy in
the days-to-day functions of what have to be done for the
business to move through the day. Informational interviews are also used with
job seekers. It’s an opportunity for the job seekers once
they begin to identify through the discovery process
emerging vocational themes where we can meet with them
with individuals who do the kind of work that they’re interested
in. We go to where in the community that genius
is, people who do this work, who have this knowledge, and they
can help provide insights regarding what it like to work in
those particular types of jobs that the person is showing an
interest in, where the particular job seekers’ skills would fit
in to specific aspects of that particular world of work and
where they would be a good match. Again, it’s going to the genius, going to
where the people know what it’s like to work in
these particular areas. Quickly the visual resume is a very different
process. What we look for is trying to create imagery
and content that’s going to get at the interest of the person
who would be hiring, and we’re not talking about labor markets,
where jobs are being recruited for, job descriptions that are not
flexible. We are
talking about customizing employment based on what we’ve learned
during the discovery process. One thing we know more and more from progressive
business owners that they are wanting to hire more — I guess
I should say they want to do smarter hiring. That involves getting to know who
the person is in terms of their characteristics and
personalities that can enhance the culture of the business and
what they look for in an employee. So the critical piece with that is for the
visual resume to show more about who the person is in terms of their
characteristics, their personality, and the visual resume can
tell the story of the individual as it relates to work that
they’re seeking. Using high resolution action photos with the
descriptive narratives, that really get to the skills
of who this person is. That is sophomore powerful than a one-dimensional
paper resume. This absolutely shows sophomore. It’s richer information about
who this person is and who can make a valuable employee in this
community garden that the — this is just one slide of the
visual resume. I think that’s pretty apparent. Finally I wanted to share with you job proposals
come after things have been identified in terms of what
businesses might be a good match and the skills of who the job
seeker is match well to the needs of the business. So this is a great, brilliant
proposal that one of the teams in this first year project same
up with. The business had a nostalgia theme, they had
a business that showed the various aspects of
the business of the past, a variety of nostalgia from the past
and that’s the area that the business was focusing on, they had
a classic movie theater that played classic movies and an
ice cream parlor. So
as the training team went out after the informational interview
they came back with an idea because we were working on, taking
the information that you learned and develop a job proposal so
they came up with this fantastic job proposal that ties into
either a business within a business or resource ownership that
brings into the fold, candies from your childhood. Candies that
may have been available in the 60s and 50s and later. With it
being a business within a business model as opposed to resource
ownership this is how it could look. Through braiding of
funding of the various state organizations that are part of this
project, they looked at the job duties which would be assisting
customers with purchases, stocking the kiosk and the main
inventory and the kiosk is part of what would be purchased for
this individual to be able to have a business within a business
that would be their charge. The wage, $8 an hour, at least, and
the equipment, again, if you think about the money that goes
into Medicaid waivers and other funding sources, to purchase the
kiosk for the business, in keeping with the nostalgia theme, the
vintage cash register, vintage candy scale and the old-fashioned
candies it totaled $3,550 for this person to oversee a business
around a product that fit well with this particular existing
community business that they had not tapped into so product
expansion that fits with this nostalgia theme. And I’m going to
finish quickly. These are the accomplishments that were
achieved during the first year. We completed home visits, to
show that’s a very different process than maybe you’re familiar
with, more of a social work type of home business, the cover I
home visit looks very different. Also very held customized
employment team consultations, planning, worked with job seeker
and employment specialists, completed discovery activities and
crafted profiles, practiced informational interviews in the
local business community, provided TA on organizational transformation moving into best practices,
hosted CE meetings with job seeker and support teams, met with
DARS staff and provided consultation to high school transition
staff and provided follow-up distance consultation as
the grant ended. We
didn’t want to lose contact in the process of where we were when
we were having the visits. So I know that’s a lot of
information to go through, but hopefully it gives you enough of
the grounding around systemically around what’s going on to make
this happen and when the training looks like so we are actually
helping people learn this methodology, helping them practice it
before they are exported to go out and use it in a real job
situation. With safe people and safe places, learning
these skills. And then the growing the project from one
year to the next, and I know that you will hear more about
year 2 of the project. RICHARD KRINER: Very excited about it, a lot
of good foundational learning we are going it use
and leverage as we go into year 2 and figure out how to build a
better mousetrap. It’s been a fun experience. Thank you guys. NANCY BROOKS-LANE: Thank you.

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