Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Meet SABE, Self Advocates Becoming Empowered

Recently we stumbled upon a great organization called Self Advocates Becoming Empowered. SABE celebrated its 20th year at its national conference In late September of this year.

SABE's Mission is to ensure that people with disabilities are treated as equals and that they are given the same decisions, choices, rights, responsibilities, and chances to speak up to empower themselves; opportunities to make new friends; and to learn from their mistakes.

SABE believes that people with disabilities should be treated as equals; that they should be given the same decisions, choices, rights, responsibilities, and chances to speak up and empower themselves; that they should be able to make new friendships and renew old friendships just like everyone else; and that people with disabilities should be able to learn from their mistakes like everyone else.

SABE’s efforts are focused in several areas:
1. Eliminate institutions;
2. SABE will support affordable and accessible housing for all people in the community;
3. National healthcare for all people;
4. Equal employment opportunities for equal pay for all people;
5. People with disabilities will have self-advocacy at all stages of their lives with funding to support state, local and national self-advocacy organizations;
6. SABE will educate people with and without disabilities on the options, choices and alternatives to guardianship so that full guardianship is not an option whenever possible;
7. Relationships;
8. SABE will be a political powerhouse to work on legislation that effects people with disabilities lives;
9. SABE will advocate for individualized services for all people with disabilities;
10. SABE will support flexible and available accessible transportation (airlines, trains, buses) for all people in the community across the nation; and,
11. SABE will educate people – all people - about disability issues that are important in their lives.

To learn more about SABE and join their movement go to their website www.sabeusa.org.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Washington State Supported Employment Program Best In The Nation

When community-based, competitive employment for individuals with severe disabilities was first being introduced in the academic literature during the late 1970s and early-1980s, some authors questioned whether such activity was fiscally appropriate. Specifically, many of these authors pointed out that, while individuals with intellectual and other disabilities could perform the tasks required for meaningful employment, they may not actually benefit monetarily from being competitively employed.

However, since the mid-1980s, numerous cost efficiency studies have examined economic outcomes of supported employment from the worker’s perspective. The vast majority of these have found that, while supported employees may lose governmental subsidies as a result of working within their communities, the competitive wages that they earn more than make up for these economic losses. In other words, supported employees generated a net monetary benefit as a result of working in their communities. These studies often involved small numbers of individuals and are now more than a decade old.

A more recent study which appeared in the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation in March 2010, explored the outcomes achieved by 104,213 individuals with intellectual disabilities who were served by state vocational rehabilitation agencies and wished to be enrolled in supported employment. Result found that 62.08% of participants became employed within their community via supported employment and that these individuals, on average, received greater monetary benefits from working than monetary costs. In Washington State the mean benefit-cost ratio was 13.54, the highest of all the states.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Resource for Developmental Disabilities: WAbilities.com

The Developmental Disabilities Council announces the launch of its newest communication, outreach and advocacy tool: www.WAbilities.com.
WAbilities.com is a blog created and managed by the Developmental Disabilities Council to educate and advocate on behalf of Washington State's Developmental Disabilties community. In the blog, the Council will share issues they are working on that may be important to those who advocate on behalf of people with disabilities. In addition the website will highlight important information and news from local communities, and state agencies. The plan is to use WAbilities to share important news and updates for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, expand the advocacy base, and highlight successful initiatives, programs and individuals.

The Developmental Disabilities Council is working to find new ways to communicate about happenings in Washington State. The Council is interested in hearing from its audience and would appreciate being informed about events and activities that would be important to include in its communication and outreach efforts.

Please be sure to tell everyone you know about WAbilities.com, and make sure to subscribe to ensure that you receive news, information and updates as they occur!

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

AtWork! Is A Non-Profit Business With The Same Issues As Any Other Business

Excerpt from an interview with Chris Brandt, AtWork! CEO, on NW Focus. Click here to see the entire interview.

I like to think we are a very caring organization because we care about the people we serve and care about the movement. But we’re also a very efficient and effective operating corporation. Like any medium sized business we have all the same kind of issues that any business does. Even though we’re a non-profit we have to make money. We have to invest in infrastructure and technology, in trucks for our landscaping business and innovations in Customized Employment. We have to attract, train and retain really professional staff.

We’re a lot more like a for profit business than we are different. Lots of people think that because we’re a non-profit that we don’t need to have the same type of business practices. But we do and we operate with a high level of accountability and integrity. We are audited all the time and we pass our audits with flying colors. We’re a going concern that wants to get even bigger. Our next strategic direction is to take this Customized Employment practice that we’ve fine tuned over the last three years and expand our services. We want to double in size over the next three years. That’s our new strategic direction that will be finalized by our Board in September.

Currently we serve people all over King County, even though we’re based on the Eastside. We serve people with disabilities in Bothell, Woodinville, Renton, Kent and downtown Seattle as well as the Eastside. We’re considering geographic expansion beyond King County but even just in King County there are 4,500 people that are signed up for Division of Developmental Disabilities services, that want employment who are not being served and there’s probably an equal number that we don’t even know about. So the market for our services for people with disabilities who need us is huge without going outside our current graphic area. And the needs of businesses and the business opportunities within our geographic area, businesses who can benefit from employing people with disabilities, or the markets for working with our landscaping, packaging and assembly or document management services, are huge markets in our geographic area as well.

This is truly a life changing organization.

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