Portland Metro Area Brokerages eXPRS Start Dates for Personal Support Workers

Brokerages statewide are moving Personal Support Worker payments into the State of Oregon’s payment system, eXPRS, effective this year. Below is a listing of when Portland metro area brokerages will move into eXPRS:

UCP Connections: November 2014 (already active)
Community Pathways: February 2015
Inclusion Inc.: March 2015
Mentor Oregon: March 2015
Independence Northwest: April 2015
SDRI: April 2015


Oregon Offers Grants to Expand Provider Capacity for Employment Services to People with I/DD

From Mike Maley, ODDS Employment Coordinator:

Increasing provider capacity is one of the primary strategies of Employment First initiative. Today I have some exciting news to share in this area.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has issued a Request for Grant Applications (RFGA). This RFGA provides up to $750,000 to be distributed for a number of grant awards. The purpose is to expand Oregon’s capacity to provide individual integrated employment services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

This RFGA will fund:

  • Creation of new provider organizations to provide individual integrated employment services; or
  • Expansion of services by existing provider organizations to provide individual integrated employment services in Oregon. Existing provider organizations may be those already in Oregon, or may be outside the state and willing to expand services into Oregon.

Anyone wishing to view this opportunity or wanting to submit an application can see this RFGA at: https://orpin.oregon.gov/. The ORPIN reference number is DHS-3942-15.

This grant will increase the number of qualified employment specialists that can provide Discovery, job development, job coaching and other key employment services with the goal that more individuals with I/DD will obtain, maintain, and advance in individual integrated jobs.

DHS may approve a range of grant awards, with no single award exceeding $150,000, for an initial grant term through June 30, 2016.

Each application must seek funding to expand the organization’s workforce by at least one full-time employment specialist. Applicants must show that they will:

  • Increase capacity of employment specialists in their new or current organization;
  • Train new employment specialists to provide, at a minimum, the following types of services: Discovery, job development, and job coaching services, consistent with established core competencies and other requirements of DHS or its program offices; and
  • Engage the Office of Developmental Disability Services (ODDS) through Community Developmental Disability Programs (CDDPs), Support Service Brokerages and Vocational Rehabilitation through its local field offices in the implementation of individual integrated employment services for individuals with I/DD.

Facility-based providers awarded grants in Oct. 2014 as part of the “Provider Organization Transformation Project” are not eligible for this grant.

Proposals are due by 3 p.m. Feb. 5, 2015. Any specific questions regarding this RFGA can be directed to John Gardner with DHS Contracts & Procurement: john.f.gardner@state.or.us or 503-378-3523.

Thank you all for your continued involvement, support, and advocacy for services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Oregon. If you have comments or questions, please email them to employment.first@state.or.us.

~ Mike


Brokerage Association Announces Leadership Changes in 2015

From the Oregon Support Services Association:

In the spirit of the new year, the Oregon Support Services Association announces two changes in leadership. 

Larry Deal, Executive Director of Independence Northwest brokerage, has assumed the role of OSSA President. He follows in the footsteps of Margaret Theisen, whose tenure spanned the birth of the brokerage association and four incredible years of unprecedented growth and change.   We are deeply indebted and grateful to Margaret for her influential and principled leadership. Margaret passed the torch to Larry after the association’s Board of Directors meeting in December.  Larry brings with him 13 years experience in Oregon’s Support Services system, and a deep talent for innovation, communication, and partnership. Dan Peccia of Self Determination Resources Inc. and Bill Uhlman of Eastern Oregon Support Services Brokerage will continue in their roles as Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer respectively.

Additionally, the association will begin a transition from its first Executive Director. For the past year, OSSA has been led by the incomparable Kathryn Weit. Her advocacy, passion, and leadership has greatly furthered the mission of OSSA by promoting, assuring, and protecting the integrity of Support Services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities statewide. We’re excited to announce that beginning in February 2015, Katie Rose will assume the Executive Director role full-time. Katie will be leaving her position of six years as the Director for the Mentor Oregon Brokerage presently serving individuals in the greater Portland area. As OSSA Executive Director, she will report to the OSSA Board of Directors, which consists of the 13 directors of the Oregon Support Services Brokerages.

Katie can be reached at katierose@oregonsupportservices.org beginning February 1, 2015. Stay tuned for additional contact details.

If you’d like to learn more about the association, please visit www.oregonsupportservices.org.

January 29th/30th, 2015: Training on Customized Employment for Transition Students

Washington County Employment First, DHS Employment First Initiative, and the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities present three days of practical training on customized employment for transition-aged students. This training is for dedicated employment specialists, VR counselors, and others interested in supporting those with the most significant employment challenges. Employment Specialists must be certified as Employment Providers with Oregon VR and ODDS and have completed basic trainings on Discovery and Customized Employment. The Seamless Transition Pilot Discovery materials will be referenced during the two day training. Note: this is not for entry level job developers.

Following an initial 2-day training in January, participants will have the opportunity to work with Janet Stevely, Griffin-Hammis Associates in March around their specific students.

Participants will be expected to engage with transition student(s) during the course of study as practical application is required for completing the class. In addition, participants are encouraged to collaborate with their locale Employment First Teams and Seamless Transition Pilot projects.

January 29th – 30th, 2015; March 17th, 2015
8:00 AM – 4:30PM

Community Access Services
1815 NW 169th Pl #1060
Beaverton, OR  97006

Registration is $100 per person, payable to Community Access Services
*Approved Washington County participants are free.
Registration Materials here: Registration for Customized Employment Training

Contact Tara Asai at taraasai@gmail.com

Janet is a Senior Consultant with Griffin-Hammis Associates working on the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, the LEAD Center Customized Employment Initiative, the Kansas Small Business Technical Assistance and Outreach Center, and various other customized employment projects.  For the past sixteen years, Janet has operated Workable Solutions, a consulting firm based in Ashland, Oregon.  She is a former special education teacher/transition specialist, and has worked on state and national technical assistance projects.  Janet is well versed in microenterprise development and an expert in optimizing public benefits having helped numerous individuals achieve their employment goals through Plans to Achieve Self Support (PASS).