Event Celebrates Our Partnerships, Friends and Customers

We had a great event in mid-December that brought together our partners, our friends and individuals who use our services and their family member.

Partners included: Dawn Hicks, Stand Among Friends, Michelle Rubin, Autism after 21, and Alicia Roots, representing the College of Medicine.

Friends included: Dr. Caren Sax, Ed.D from the Interwork Institute at San Diego State University, Elaine Katz and Stephanie Holcomb representing the Kessler Foundation, Zack Gibson, representing the Governor’s Office and Sue Abel from Independence Works.

The event also included individuals who work for the partners and individuals who have participated in our services and their family members.

CollaborationWorks Sponsors Think Tank Session

The CollaborationWorks partner – Stand Among Friends, PolicyWorks, and Autism After 21. sponsored a workshop at the College of Medicine focused on developing strategies that will assist the new center in reaching its full potential to support individuals with disabilities reach their full potential and connect to jobs and careers.

This session was led by Dr. Caren Sax, Ed.D. and included Elaine Katz and Stephanie Holcomb, Kessler Foundation, Sue Abel. IndependenceWorks, Dawn Hicks, Stand Among Friends, Steve Allen and Barbara Butz, Skeets Friedkin, a Stand Among Friends board member, Rod Reed, and Shawn Fiala, PolicyWorks and other friends.

Florida Peer Mentoring Program Update

Seventy new project coordinators have been trained for the Florida Peer Mentoring Program! In addition, 70 service providers continue to embrace peer mentoring as a valuable tool for youth to develop self-advocacy skills and connect to jobs and careers. A total of 89 youth have started the online course and 42 have completed!

Mentoring Works

WINTAC Project Starts Year Four—with 12 new states interested in initiating peer mentoring pilots

WINTAC map of peer mentoring pilotsAs we start our fourth year as a partner in the WINTAC/Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center, we are excited that with the assistance of CSAVR, we have identified 11 new states and a total of 15 agencies that are interested in working with PolicyWorks to develop a peer mentoring pilot in their state. Each state identifies their own focus and goals and PolicyWorks and our WINTAC partners will support them with information, training, communities of practice and evaluation services.

States include Washington, Nebraska, Michigan, Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, Maine, Virginia, and Oklahoma.

PolicyWorks Board Finalizing the 2019-20 Strategic Plan

PolicyWorks board and team around conference tableThe PolicyWorks board is hard at work capitalizing on our recent annual meeting in Washington D.C. Top priority areas include the identification of advocacy issues that complement our program focus, including policy changes in Social Security that will look at changing the definition of disability to separate disability from the “inability” to work as well as changing the way disability is portrayed in the film and entertainment industries. Other policy priorities of the PolicyWorks board include the full implementation of the WOIA with respect to services that are focused on careers – not just jobs – and full integration of the national workforce system.

Fall Update

Arts2Work logoFall 2018 is busy a time for PolicyWorks. On November 5, 2018, we participate in the Inaugural Symposium hosted by the Coehlo Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. The following day, we present at the conference hosted by the Alliance for Arts and Culture followed by participation in meetings with the national Arts2Work project.

On October 30th, at the National Conference for the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) in Long Beach, CA, the PolicyWorks team presented a panel of states piloting peer mentoring as vocational rehabilitation services. These states include Alaska, Florida, and Mississippi.

The Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC) provides training and technical assistance to State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (SVRAs) and related agencies and professionals to help them develop the skills and processes needed to meet Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requirements. In November 2018, we look forward to meetings with the WINTAC team in Washington D.C. for the Rehabilitation Services Administration.