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


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).

“Who I Am”

The new “Who I Am” PSA features nine real people with disabilities. Rather than be defined by disability, these individuals are the sum of their many life roles — which includes working in jobs they love. To learn more about the Campaign for Disability Employment, go to whatcanyoudocampaign.org.


Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities Launches “Expect Me to Succeed, I Will” Campaign

The Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities kicked off DD Awareness Month at the Oregon State Capitol this past Friday. At the event, they premiered a brand new video: “Expect Me to Succeed, I Will.” Take a minute or two to check out this excellent message and beautifully executed content from OCDD. Great start to the month!

OPB Think Out Loud Episode on Sheltered Workshops Now Online

Stream OPB’s Think Out Loud episode on sheltered workshops here.

As much as 61 percent of working Oregonians with disabilities work in what are called “sheltered workshops,” where they perform assembly line tasks and are paid a fraction of minimum wage — sometimes as little as 40 cents an hour.

But for advocates of the sheltered workshops, these are safe, cost-effective and supportive work environments for people who would otherwise be unable to find employment elsewhere.

In 2012, eight Oregonians, with the help of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Oregon and Southwest Washington filed a lawsuit against Governor Kitzhaber and high-ranking officials at the Oregon Department of Human Services in an effort to reform the sheltered workshop system. The Department of Justice announced last week that it would join the lawsuit, claiming that these sheltered workshops violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Don’t Miss the 2012 Project Employ Resource Fair Tuesday May 15th in Tigard

Project Employ Resource Fair – Tuesday May 15th 2012
11AM – 7PM

This is a fair for transition students, their families and educators, local business owners and hiring managers, job developers and job coaches, developmental disabilities organizations and local and state agency representatives. Don’t miss this free event!


Rob Stern, HR Director; Karen Burch, OVRS; Job Developers,
Kelly Wallace and Kathy Holmquist; Emily Lang, Employee

Representative Gelser – HB2283 Impact on Transition Services Forum
Debra McLean – “Finding the Right Fit” Customized Employment

Cynthia & Andy Owens – “Mission Possible” Overcoming Barriers
Emily Harris – Mobile Technology for Job Seekers & Employees


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