March 2016 Updates

CareerACCESS Updates March 2016

A policy initiative from the World Institute on Disability, PolicyWorks, and the National Council on Independent Living

In March the CareerACCESS initiative really picked up steam!

Team members from CareerACCESS met with key people in
Washington, DC and with stakeholders from Michigan, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts and California, receiving great interest in learning more about this national policy initiative.

CareerACCESS representatives met in DC with the Employment Task Force of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), the Institute for Educational Leadership, and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), as well as with senior officials in the Administration on Community Living in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

CareerACCESS colleagues in Michigan have begun the process of seeking a Congressional appropriation to enable prospective pilot states to plan for CareerACCESS. With that goal in mind, in-person meetings were held with staff from the offices of Senators Susan Collins, Angus King, Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, and with key staff for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Representatives Bill Huizenga, Barbara Lee, and others.

CareerACCESS representatives then traveled to Vermont to meet with their Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Vermont Center for Independent Living, two lead entities interested in how to pilot CareerACCESS in their state.

In Massachusetts, we met with the MASS Director of Vocational Rehabilitation, Nicky Osborne, over two days of meetings convened by MASS VR and the Salem Independent Living Center. We were joined by member of the National CareerACCESS Advisory Committee, Jack Mills, in the Boston convening. Panel discussions, presentations, meetings, question and answer periods were held over two days in both Vermont and Massachusetts.

The Directors of Vocational Rehabilitation Departments in both states convened and participated in the meetings. Senior state government officials and community leaders were both interested and excited to know more about CareerACCESS and how they can make a pilot project happen in their state.. Each state has committed to educating their Governor on CareerACCESS with the objective that their Governor sign a letter of support. We then travelled to Portland Maine to facilitate a similar all day roundtable convened by Dennis Fitzgibbons at Maine’s Alpha One Independent Living Center.

Common to all of the March stakeholder meetings from Cal
ifornia to Maine is the fact that the disability community and young adults with a disability are engaged with organizing and participating in these discussions.

With the advance of this important dialog by Bryon MacDonald,
Justin Harford, Steve Allen, and Barbara Butz, a new level of momentum has been achieved to bring CareerACCESS pilot projects to at least five states!

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