Please take a minute to read about Angelique and Glenn. See what it means to be able to move into your own home after living in a skilled nursing facility. You'll understand why your generosity is so important.
In California, nine out of 10 adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities are currently unemployed despite the state’s overall unemployment rate of 6 percent. These adults may have autism, Down syndrome or cerebral palsy and therefore are often overlooked when applying for jobs. However, they are perfectly capable, valuable and reliable employees.
The good news is that programs exist to help organizations hire people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. HireAble is a local, collaborative, employer-focused campaign between three nonprofit human service agencies: Contra Costa ARC, Futures Explored and East Bay Innovations. Its goal is to raise employment rates for people with IDD.
At ICA Fund Good Jobs, we work with East Bay Innovations to find an intern to round out our services team. Alva Gardner, who has cerebral palsy, was the candidate referred to us by EBI. Gardner is now our Entrepreneur Services Fellow and part of the Entrepreneur Services team. Her day-to-day work includes attending meetings, assisting with administrative work, helping develop work plans and creating and maintaining spreadsheets. Gardner is a talented and respected member of the ICA team who adds value to our office by producing high-quality work every day.
She is the perfect fit — smart, ambitious, thorough and has the drive of an entrepreneur. Before Gardner started, EBI provided a support person who helped us evaluate our office to accommodate Gardner’s wheelchair needs. Then, during Gardner’s first few weeks, EBI provided a job coach who helped acclimate to the office.
Just as we saw with Gardner, HireAble offers employers a pool of dedicated and qualified candidates to meet companies’ needs. These candidates are hardworking professionals who aspire to have a job and become a valuable member of your team. HireAble has experience connecting employers to this underutilized workforce and then providing support and training for a seamless transition.
ICA Fund Good Jobs works with local small business entrepreneurs to help create accessible good jobs that lead to equitable communities for all. In 2016, ICA Fund Good Jobs served more than 200 companies in the Bay Area and has been working with thousands of dynamic small businesses since 1996.
Part of my role at ICA Fund Good Jobs is to steward relationships between workforce partners and companies with job openings. When I talk to businesses about making their workplaces more diverse and inclusive, I explain that there are many reasons they should consider hiring a person with IDD.
First and foremost, an employee with IDD had to overcome challenges and work much harder to become part of the workforce. They have lots experience tackling challenges.
Second, people with disabilities are reliable, productive, creative and innovative performers. These are the qualities Gardner brings to our team at ICA Fund Good Jobs.
Finally, given an option, I would always choose to make my workplace diverse. Not only should organizations strive to be inclusive and forward-thinking, but studies show that the more diverse a work environment, the happier their employees are.
So what’s stopping businesses from engaging with this untapped talent? Some argue it’s purely logistics — organizations fear that they don’t have the proper facilities or equipment to accommodate people with IDD. Others fear the impact on current employees.
I say the proof is entirely otherwise. Bay Area businesses can set an example of inclusive, diverse and productive workplaces. It starts with programs like HireAble and it thrives with companies who are forward thinking and want the best not only for society, but for their company. I encourage our Bay Area businesses to explore hiring people with IDD.
Michelle Scott Hood is education manager at ICA Fund Good Jobs in Oakland.
Please take a minute to read about Cindy and Donald. You’ll get a glimpse of what aging with a disability means for some of the individuals EBI works with and a better understanding of why your generosity is so important during this time of political uncertainty.
Cindy lives with housemates in the community, and has been receiving services from EBI for almost 20 years. Now, aging with cerebral palsy is affecting her ability to walk unassisted, and at 62, her medical and personal care needs are dramatically increasing.
When Donald began receiving services from EBI over two
decades ago, he was using a wheelchair and had limited movement in one hand. Today, his mobility is decreasing, his support needs are growing, and his desire to live independently in the community is unwavering.
Like Cindy and Donald, many EBI consumers in their 50′s and 60′s are beginning to require more care. We’ve provided services to them during much of their adult lives, and we want to offer the support they need as they grow older. Unfortunately, we may face funding cuts for
even current levels of community-based services if threats to Medicaid (MediCal) become reality.
We’re hoping you’ll consider making a donation to EBI today at
(For a short time only, donations up to $1,000 will be matched by a generous donor.) Thank you
Dreaming about a peaceful getaway or a thrill-seeking adventure? Maybe going to a concert, dining at a popular restaurant, or wine tasting in California wine country? Looking to buy unique holiday gifts this year?
EBI’s Second Annual Online Auction will take place November 25, 2016 through December 4, 2016. This year, you’ll have time to shop for the holidays while supporting EBI’s services to individuals with autism, cerebral palsy, and other developmental disabilities, and to adults who’ve become disabled as a result of health crises, accidents, and acts of violence.
EBI’s goal is to assist individuals with disabilities to live and work as independently as possible. Every bid you make takes us closer to this goal!
I just wanted to add a little history, so all that have become close with Darlene and Norm and Barbara understand how courageous and pioneering they were.
In 1992, before supported living services were an option for people in the East Bay. Norm help to start an organization called HOUSE Inc. with several other parents of young people with developmental disabilities. At that time, there was only one group home in all of the Tri-Valley area and San Ramon. It was a group home for men and the quality of services was very poor. I think Dar had lived in a group home previously in Stockton and had a very rough time. Norm and Barb had taken her out of that home and brought her to live back home with them. The Guests and the other families involved with HOUSE Inc had heard about supported living because there were two agencies in the East Bay (Serra Center and Las Trampas) that were piloting supported living by transitioning people they served from group homes and dormitories to apartments. HOUSE Inc decided they were going to focus on developing affordable housing opportunities and the people with disabilities would then receive supported living. The problem was that Regional Center of the East Bay, had not decided that they were going to fund supported living for anyone outside of the two pilot agencies.
Soon after forming HOUSE Inc, the organization was successful in getting enough funding from the cities of Pleasanton and Livermore to buy two two bedroom duplexes. With a mortgage to pay, HOUSE Inc needed to convince RCEB to expand SLS. I remember Norm and Lloyd Hansen getting up at a RCEB board meeting and making impassioned speeches to encourage RCEB to fund SLS. They were successful and soon my old agency the Arc Alameda County was completing the paperwork to become a supported living agency.
The next challenge for Dar was that RCEB had never funded SL services for a person who needed 24 hour support, and they were trying hard not fund Dar's support. One hurdle RCEB put out for Dar is that she needed to get the maximum number of IHSS hours before RCEB would fund the difference up to 24 hours. Coincidentally, my agency was hosting an informational evening for families about IHSS. The Alameda County Director of IHSS at the time Tom McCormick came to speak to the families. He met Dar and Norm and Barb at the event and we told him of her opportunity to live on her own and he ended up saying he would authorize the hours.
Finally RCEB agreed to supply the rest of the funding for Dar's supported living services. She moved in to the HOUSE Inc duplex in Livermore with a young couple that provided most of her support. That must have been Spring or Summer of 1993. Word got out quickly about Dar's new living situation and another future SL client Laura Long and her father asked to visit Dar to see how her supported living worked. Laura had a similar disability and support needs as Dar, and was living at the time in a group home in Antioch, miserable. Laura was very excited about Dar's living arrangement so when EBI started the next year Laura became one of our first clients. Laura did not have any trouble getting 24 hour support funding approved by RCEB.
Today 300-400 people with developmental disabilities receive supported living services from Regional Center of the East Bay. Many of whom are folks who need 24 hour support. Dar and her family were incredible pioneers!
At age 15, he became a casualty of war.
At 22, he won a local lottery.
To read Ahmed’s story, click here.
Aubrey, a woman supported by EBI, was recently recognized by The Independent for her work with elementary school students in Pleasanton. To read the full article and learn how Aubrey helped teach children about expressing themselves and overcoming communication challenges, click here.