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Services for Adults with Disabilities in Polk County. September 24, 2010. Goals of the System. Independent or supported living Community participation Post-secondary education Employment. Employment Values. Employment is not a choice, it is an expectation

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Services for Adults with Disabilities in Polk County

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Services for adults with disabilities in polk county

Services for Adults with Disabilities in Polk County

September 24, 2010

Goals of the system

Goals of the System

  • Independent or supported living

  • Community participation

  • Post-secondary education

  • Employment

Employment values

Employment Values

  • Employment is not a choice, it is an expectation

  • Employment services are strength-based where the individual is treated respectfully

  • Employment equals minimum wage or better

  • Businesses should employ people with disabilities as they would anyone else

Adult services in iowa

Adult Services in Iowa

County System

  • Central Point of Coordination

  • Case Management/Service Coordination

  • Eligibility


    • Medicaid (Waiver Programs)

    • County (Match or 100% for people or services not eligible for Medicaid funding)

    • IVRS (Vocational/Postsecondary Services)

Array of services

Array of Services

  • Community Living

  • Employment

  • Post Secondary Education

  • Community Integration

Community living options

Community Living Options

  • Community Housing

    • Residences typically owned, rented, leased, by the organization

    • Approximate other homes, apartments, townhouses, in the neighborhoods in terms of size and number of individuals.

    • Long-term housing that provides stable, supported community living and services are focused on home and community integration.

Community living options1

Community Living Options

Supported Living

  • Owned, rented, or leased by the person or persons who live there.

  • Two to four persons living in a residence.

  • Service planning often identifies the number of hours and types of support services provided.

  • Generally long-term in nature but may change depending on the needs.

Community living

Community Living

  • Successful in developing and maintaining integrated living arrangementsfor people with intellectual disabilities.

  • Moved from institutional living in the 60’s to large group homes in the 70’s and 80’s and now to generally comparable living situations as people without disabilities.

  • However, in the U.S. we still have over 700,000 people with intellectual disabilities living with parents who are 60 and older

  • For people with mental illness, housing remains a major issue.

Community living providers

Community Living Providers

Link AssociatesCandeo

Mainstream LivingEaster Seals

Crest ServicesBroadlawns

The HomesteadHOPE

Behavioral TechnologiesChild Serve

Progress Industries Behavioral Health Resources

Optimae LifeServices

The other unemployment rate

The “Other” Unemployment Rate

  • The unemployment rate for Iowans with disabilities is 70%

  • Twenty percent of Iowans with disabilities live in poverty

  • Being unemployed means they live on government benefits, either collecting $1,063 every month from Social Security Disability or $478 from SSI.

  • A total of $10.5 billion paid in 2008

The challenge of employment for people with intellectual disabilities

The Challenge of Employment for People with Intellectual Disabilities

  • Fewer than 15% participate in postsecondary education (PSE) and perhaps even worse, they are the least likely expected to do so.

  • Of all disability groups, youth with intellectual disabilities have the lowest rates of engagement in PSE, work, or preparation for work after high school.

  • 57% are receiving services in facility-based settings (workshops/activity centers)

Labor market

Labor Market

  • 60 % of jobs in Iowa now require some level of postsecondary education.

  • 49 of the top 50 fastest growing jobs all require postsecondary education

  • The median wage for workers with no college is close to the poverty line.

  • A postsecondary credential is the best bridge out of poverty.

Employment education training options

Employment/Education/Training Options

  • Employability and Project SEARCH

  • Supported Employment

  • Group employment or enclave

  • Organizational Employment

  • Skills Training

  • Supported Education

Employ ability

Employ Ability

  • Employ Ability is an internship program for individuals with disabilities to learn community safety skills, employability skills, and work skills.

  • Prepares individuals with disabilities for employment in the competitive workplace. Also learn how to create and update a resume, learn and practice interview skills, and complete applications.

  • Exposes them to a variety of different work environments

Project search

Project SEARCH

  • 9 month program for students with disabilities in either their last year of high school or after graduation.

  • Takes place in a hospital setting

  • Individuals served are 18 to 25 year with significant cognitive and/or physical disabilities, and learning impairments

    A typical day includes:

  • Classroom instruction in employability and independent living skills

  • Participation at one or more worksite rotations

Project search1

Project SEARCH

  • The heart of the program is the worksite rotations.

  • Participants build their communication and problem solving skills, as well as job-specific skills, through these workplace rotations.

  • These are unpaid student internships – analogous to the apprenticeships in other career-technical programs.

  • 84% placement rate

Employment skills training

Employment Skills Training

Employment Skills Training Services are organized formal training services that assist a person seeking employment to acquire the skills necessary for specific jobs or families of jobs.

Short-term, typically 6 to 10 weeks with a combination of classroom and on-the-job training

Skills training

Skills Training

  • Banking

  • Food Service

  • Janitorial

  • Manufacturing

  • Retail

  • Administrative Assistant

Supported education

Supported Education

  • Emerging best practice in the employment field for individuals with disabilities.

  • The goal of Supported Education is to assist individuals with disabilities so that they may access and sustain participation in a postsecondary educational setting of their choice.

What is supported education

What Is Supported Education?

  • Broad range of services and supports designed to help people with disabilities access and succeed in post secondary education.

  • Occurs in the community on an academic campus, such as vocational/ trade schools, colleges, and other post secondary educational settings.

Why supported education

Why Supported Education?

  • One year of postsecondary education is the tipping point towards self-sufficiency

  • The majority of job openings for people with high school or less will be low-wage jobs and many of these will be part time or transitional jobs.

  • Over an adult's working life, high school graduates earn an average of $1.2 million; associate's degree holders earn about $1.6 million; and bachelor's degree holders earn about $2.1 million

Service providers in polk county for employment training services

Service Providers in Polk County for Employment/Training Services

  • Link Associates

  • Easter Seals

  • Goodwill Industries

  • Candeo

  • Optimae LifeServices

  • Mainstream Living (group employment only)

  • Progress Industries (group employment only)

Choosing a provider

Choosing a Provider

  • Scorecard

    • Barriers to employment

    • Populations served

    • Type of job placements

    • Referral to placement time

    • Hours worked and wages earned

    • Job retention

Other services

Other Services

  • Group Employment

    • Takes place within a business or company

  • Organizational Employment

    • Facility-based work

  • Community Integration or Day Habilitation

    • Provides opportunities for the community participation of the persons served when employment may not be an option.

Employer survey findings

Employer Survey Findings

  • Twenty seven percent of companies recruit people with disabilities

  • Nineteen percent report employing people with disabilities.

  • Among small companies 10.7 percent report employing people with disabilities

  • 22.6 percent of medium-sized companies

  • 53.1 percent of large companies report employing people with disabilities.

Survey findings

Survey Findings

Employers were asked to list the reasons why they thought people with disabilities were not actively recruited or hired.

  • Costs of providing accommodations

  • The 'skills gap' - i.e. the mismatch between the nature of the skills people with disabilities have to offer and those required by the labor market

  • Concerns about attendance and retention

  • Fear of or experience with legal problems

  • Not sure how to find qualified candidates

Changing perceptions

Changing Perceptions

Change attitudinal barriers by

  • Providing facts and statistics to dispel myths and misconceptions about people with disabilities.

  • Help employers understand the connection between employing people with disabilities and gaining access to customers with disabilities, their family members, and friends.

  • Utilize employers who have hired people with disabilities to communicate with other employers about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities

Changing perceptions1

Changing Perceptions

Costs of Accommodations and Benefits Impact

  • Many cost $0. According to the Job Accommodations Network, two-thirds of reasonable accommodations cost less than $500.

  • According to a Cornell University study, human resource managers report their company’s health, life and disability costs rarely rise in response to hiring people with disabilities.

Changing perceptions2

Changing Perceptions

Attendance, Punctuality and Performance

  • A review of multiple studies revealed that employees with disabilities have better safety records, equal or better turnover and absentee rates, and equal or better job assignment flexibility, compared to non-disabled employees.

  • A recent study found that nearly all the employers (97%) who had hired someone with a disability in the past indicated they would hire an individual with a disability again in the future

Economic impact

Economic Impact

  • Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Americans say they prefer to patronize businesses that hire people with disabilities.

  • A survey conducted by the Gallup organization asked customers what they think “makes a business a good one.” The top three responses

    (1) Those that offer health care insurance

    (2) Those that treat the environment well

    (3) Those that hire people with disabilities

The ada


  • Passed in 1990 and amended in 2008

  • ADA is not an affirmative-action law but an equal opportunity law.

  • The objective is not to create jobs for people with disabilities or fill quotas, but instead make it possible for them to fill jobs that would exist in any case

The ada and disclosure

The ADA and Disclosure

Every job seeker with a disability is faced with the same decision: "Should I or shouldn't I disclose my disability?“

The worker with a non-apparent disability must make a choice without knowing

  • How the employer will respond to disclosure

  • How far the information will spread in the workplace

  • What ways it might impact on his or her personal or professional quality of life over time.

    Ultimately, the decision of whether to disclose is entirely up to the person.

The stigma factor

The Stigma Factor

Harris Poll

Percent of Public “Very Comfortable” with Disability

  • Wheelchair User: 58%

  • Blind: 46%

  • Deaf: 38%

  • Intellectual Disability: 33%

  • Mental Illness: 19%

Solutions for improving employment

Solutions for Improving Employment

  • Improve secondary education for students with disabilities and enhance transition services from school to adult life

  • Increase access and support for postsecondary education and training

  • Better utilization of funding, moving away from segregated services to community employment

  • Extensive employer awareness campaigns

  • Different employment models, including self employment, staffing companies, and businesses operated by people with disabilities

Contact information

Contact Information

Pat Steele

515 283-1230


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