PolicyWorks acheives its mission through three fundamental principles: advocating, innovating and connecting.
One of the fundamental principles of PolicyWorks is that individuals with disabilities have a right to live barrier-free lives and to be fully included in all aspects of community life. Our primary focus is on national policy that addresses employment, access to health care and quality of life issues for people with disabilities.
Programs in this area include our national initiative to replicate our successful College to Career transition Program (C2C) in communities across the country and to expand CareerACCESS, a collaborative initiative to remove policy career barriers faced by youth on the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program.
One of the fundamental principles of PolicyWorks is that individuals with disabilities have a right to live barrier-free lives and to be fully included in all aspects of community life. Our primary focus is on national policy that addresses employment, access to health care and quality of life issues for people with disabilities. Within that focus, priority areas include mentorship, college-to-career transition, and social insurance programs for individuals with disabilities.
We at PolicyWorks believe that advocacy by and on behalf of people with disabilities is a critical element in effecting change and that organizations need to work with self-advocates to ensure that priority issues are publicized and addressed at the national, state and local levels. To this end, the
PolicyWorks team seeks to work with other advocacy and self-advocacy groups to build partnerships that bring attention to critical needs and potential policy solutions. Our national partners include: World Institute on Disability, the National Council on Disability, EIN SOF Communications, The Interwork Institute at San Diego State University, California State University at Fullerton, the University of California, Berkeley, Florida Atlantic University and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Currently we are working with partners on three initiatives:
- College to Career Transition Program National Replication
- Peer Mentoring inclusion in WIOA programs for Transition-Aged Youth
- CareerACCESS policy and pilot development
PolicyWorks believes in innovation. We pursue innovation – through the use of technology, and the introduction of new tools and emerging best practices. Our programs are cutting edge in collaborative, multi-agency partnerships and we are creating the path for others to follow in a number of the areas of college to career transition, peer mentoring and youth transition programs which are being featured by the Florida State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency in response to the challenges of the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act.
Innovations include electronic tools and client survey, online educational materials and courses and tracking systems and the development of electronic toolkits.
We are currently developing a model college to career transition program that is drawing national and international attention. We have worked with our California partners at SDSU and UC Berkeley to establish an online course available for instructor use that has everything needed to deliver the Professional Development and Disability course, developed by Paul Hippolitus which is the anchor to the C2C model.
We are also on the cutting-edge of work with peer mentor training with our partners at Stand Among Friends/Florida Atlantic University, PolicyWorks developed a 21 hour course for peer mentors and a course for the Project Coordinators of Peer Mentoring programs which is designed to be taught in person or by webinar.
Management information systems and client tracking systems have been developed for the Ticket to Work program by our development partners, Drs. Ben Schooley and Sue Feldman.
PolicyWorks staff developed an innovative client survey tool and tracking system for C2C which is being used by the three universities in California. PolicyWorks also developed a unique Pathways to Success Toolkit for the National Youth Transition Collaborative in partnership with US Metro Business Leadership Network and TranCen which guides transition-aged youth through the resources and strategies available to make their transition a successful one.
Creating connections is an important PolicyWorks priority. It includes connecting individuals with disabilities to jobs, services and supports to help them live independently. It also includes connecting to other organizations to strengthen our collective impact, identify joint resources and use existing resources more efficiently.
Whether working with individuals or with human service and advocacy agencies, PolicyWorks strongly believes that shared connections enable everyone to leverage resources and optimize outcomes. A prime example of this is our College to Career Transition Program (C2C) which is a collaborative effort of the Interwork Institute of San Diego State University, California State University at Fullerton and the University of California, Berkeley. The California affiliates of the United States Business Leadership Network also support this project which is funded by the Kessler Signature Employment Grant Program. As this project enters its replication phase, initial partners include: The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Florida Atlantic University’s Stand Among Friends and Broward College.
The C2C Program is anchored by the Professional Development and Disability Course developed by Paul Hippolitus at Berkeley. Each university is providing credit for this course which focuses on the development of disability awareness and pride and covers a range of soft, medium and hard skills in a compelling fashion. The C2C program provides peer mentors to students while they are in class and beyond and placement supports are available.