The Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination and the National Council on Disability celebrated National Disability Employment Awareness Month with a Congressional Briefing on Monday, October 28 2019.
SUCCESSES OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES TRANSITIONING TO COMPETITIVE INTEGRATED EMPLOYMENT
Attendees learned about competitive integrated employment (CIE), community jobs where people with disabilities work alongside co-workers without disabilities and are paid competitive wages. They also heard success stories about transitioning to CIE from people with disabilities and their families and about states efforts to expand opportunities for CIE. Learn more about CIE at www.integratedemploymentnow.org.
This briefing was presented in collaboration with the House Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus and its co-chairs Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).
With generous support from the Autism Society of America and Anthem
Lekisha Logan is a lifelong resident of Danville, Virginia and graduated from Dan River High School. She works at Dell’Anno’s Pizzeria in Danville, where she has worked since 2011 when she transitioned from a sheltered workshop where she was paid subminimum wages. Lekisha started in the dining room cleaning and clearing tables, and now works as a dishwasher. Lekisha has presented at The Arc of Virginia’s Annual Convention, sharing her experience in competitive integrated employment. She also has presented to a group of college students at Averett University about the importance of inclusion in all aspects of life.
Eric Cottrell works at Piedmont Regional Feeding Clinic in Danville Virginia, where patients receive therapies to improve eating and health. Eric grew up in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, where he graduated from Chatham High School and later moved to Danville. He has worked in several types of industries, but has always come back to the helping field because his passion is helping people. Eric transitioned to competitive integrated employment from a sheltered workshop where he was paid subminimum wages in 2011. Eric has presented on his experiences to attendees of The Arc of Virginia’s Annual Convention and was interviewed for a video on competitive integrated employment created by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center.
Tonya Milling, originally from North Carolina, has worked in the disability field for over 20 years and has a passion for the rights of people with disabilities. Her career brought her to Virginia in 2011, where she joined The Arc of Southside as executive director and led the agency through a transformation from segregated services to inclusive supports that are built around the person and not their disability. At that chapter of The Arc, she and the leadership team successfully closed all of the segregated facility-based programs, which included a group home for 15 people, a sheltered workshop for 130 people, and a private day school serving 30 students with disabilities. She and the leadership team developed and implemented new support services that partner with people with developmental disabilities to build their own lives with the supports they need to live the lives that they choose. In January 2018, Tonya became the executive director of The Arc of Virginia, where she is advocating for change, so that every person with a developmental disability can have access to supports to live their life in their community.
Acacia McGuire Anderson is the Statewide Employment First Coordinator for Oregon. Her role includes overseeing the transformation of Oregon’s employment services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to focus on community employment and inclusion. Her previous experience includes working as a services coordinator and as a program manager and prior to that a direct support professional for an employment provider in Oregon.
Joe Carroll, and his wife Linda, are the parents of Jeremy “Tad” Carroll, a 45 year old man with developmental and other disabilities. The Carrolls have been involved as advocates in the developmental disabilities community, including starting an early intervention program in their community with educators and other parents when Tad was three years old and serving on the boards of The Arc of Oregon and The Arc Mid-Columbia and as a member of the Oregon Council Developmental Disabilities. Tad worked in a sheltered workshop being paid subminimum wages, often earning less than 10 cents an hour, for almost 20 years. Starting in 2017, Tad began working with Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and his employment team to transition to competitive integrated employment. Tad was hired in November 2018 by a local restaurant delivering meals. He is paid above minimum wage and is paying taxes for the first time in his life. Because of his job, Tad has become more integrated into the local community, improved his communication skills and made new friends.
Kyle Stumpf is a 29 year old man from Dubuque, Iowa. Kyle graduated from high school in 2009. After graduation, Kyle was employed in a sheltered workshop earning subminimum wages for approximately four years. In 2014, Kyle was hired at a local franchise for a major pizza chain in Dubuque, where he works alongside co-workers without disabilities and is paid above minimum wage. Kyle just recently celebrated his five year anniversary there. Kyle is also a very active participant in the community. He volunteers and participates in numerous events and recreational activities throughout the community. He has attended statewide conferences on self-advocacy and on competitive integrated employment. He currently attends many political events, telling his story and encouraging candidates to support disability rights.
Bill Stumpf lives in Dubuque, Iowa with his son, Kyle, and is a licensed practical nurse working with people with intellectual disabilities. Prior to pursuing nursing, Bill was employed in a paper factory for 30 years. He became active in the disability movement shortly after his son Kyle, who has Down syndrome, was born in 1990. He has been active on numerous local, state and national organizations over the years. He currently serves on the board for Disability Rights Iowa and is a member of the Iowa Coalition for Integration and Employment. Along with Kyle, Bill has been engaging political candidates at the local, state, and national levels supporting disability rights, including related to voting rights for people with disabilities, healthcare reform, and competitive integrated employment.
Joshua Laird previously worked in a sheltered workshop doing piece work and on an enclave lawn crew, both jobs where he was paid subminimum wages and had no co-workers without disabilities. At the sheltered workshop, he had behavioral challenges, did not communicate much and seldom smiled. Beginning in 2016, Josh began attending a training program to help him transition to competitive integrated employment in anticipation of the sheltered workshop closing. Through this program, Josh expressed an interest in finding a job where he could work outside and independently and was introduced to the manager of a local marina. For the last three years, Josh has been working for the marina three days per week during the months of May through September and has received Certificates of Appreciation after each season. In the last year, Josh has taken a second job working at Salisbury University in the dining services building approximately 20 hours per week. He has enjoyed and is succeeding at this second job too.