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The Center for Excellence in Employment of People with Disabilities in Partnership with the Maryland DD Council, Announces Additional 12 TIP Grants

Maryland Works, Inc. andthe MD DD Council have partnered for a third round of TIP (Transforming and Improving Practices Through Customized Technical Assistance) grants, providing $116,335 to agencies statewide, three of which are in rural areas. These grants will fund technical assistance from subject matter experts so that people with developmental disabilities have improved employment outcomes and meaningful days when not working. To date, Maryland Works has invested $116,778 and the MD DD Council has invested $224,274--bringing the total investment in TIP grants to $341,052.

Year-one grants resulted in approximately 130 people with developmental disabilities working in competitive employment and 200 people engaged in the community and having meaningful days when not working. Year-two grantees are currently working with subject matter experts to improve services and supports; their results are forthcoming.

In addition to improving the agencies' organizational structures and the employment and community-based outcomes for people with developmental disabilities, TIP grants also provide grantees with an engaging learning community that allows them to share successes, challenges and strategies.

TIP grantees selected for this round of funding are:

Delmarva Community Services - to help the agency transform from a facility-based to a community-based model.

Gallagher Services - to help the agency change its organizational structure and redefine its employment services.

•New Horizons Supported Services/Compass, Inc.: - to help develop and implement a peer mentoring service.

The National Center on Institutions and Alternatives (NCIA) - to help create a skills and interest assessment tool, a training curriculum for staff, and new policies and procedures.

•Penn-Mar Human Services - to help implement a successful program to help people become self-employed.

•Spectrum Support - to help management develop an employment plan for people in day programs in Baltimore and Cumberland.

•The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region - to help create an inclusive workforce training center in a hotel where people with and without developmental disabilities learn about the hospitality industry.

Jewish Community Services - to help develop a comprehensive employment model.

•The Arc Carroll County - to help infuse a consistent person-centered thinking and planning process throughout the entire agency.

•The League for People with Disabilities - to help the agency learn about best practices in employment supports.

•SEEC: (Seeking Employment, Equality, and Community for People with Developmental Disabilities) - to help streamline and expand employment supports and build the capacity of the agency.

•Community Options - to help improve employment outcomes by strengthening the resiliency of the board, staff, and people with developmental disabilities.

U.S. Department of Labor Acts to Protect Individuals with Disabilities from Workplace Exploitation

Consistent with its mission to protect the American workforce, the U.S. Department of Labor has revoked Rock River Valley Self Help Enterprises, Inc.’s certificate under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) after finding nearly 250 workers with disabilities were being exploited.

Section 14(c) of the FLSA is designed to offer more job opportunities for workers with disabilities when their disability affects their productive capacity for the work being performed. After applying for and receiving a certificate from the Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), the employer may gauge their hourly workers’ productivity and calculate the appropriate sub-minimum wage as a percentage of the rate for experienced workers performing similar jobs in the area under the Section 14(c) provisions.

The WHD investigation revealed a failure to timely perform appropriate wage surveys and failure to conduct proper time studies on all jobs performed by workers with disabilities. The investigation also revealed that the employer attempted to mislead and obstruct WHD’s investigation by concealing relevant information from WHD during the investigation, hiding work that the employer had not time studied but had the workers perform. On some weekends, Self Help unlawfully paid workers with gift cards instead of wages.

The nature of these violations, coupled with Self Help’s repeated failure to demonstrate current compliance with the law—despite being provided guidance and numerous opportunities to do so—led WHD to revoke the employer’s Section 14(c) certificate, effective immediately and retroactively. WHD also denied Self Help’s pending applications to renew their certificate. Absent this certificate, Self Help must pay all current workers at least the full federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.In addition, Self Help must pay back wages to all workers who performed work at the subminimum wage over the last two years. These determinations may be appealed to the WHD Administrator.

“The Department of Labor is committed to protecting Americans with disabilities from exploitation in the workplace,” said Ruben Rosalez, Acting Regional Administrator. “When employers violate federal law and obstruct investigators, we take decisive action to protect vulnerable workers, their families, and other employers who play by the rules.”

The Department is taking proactive steps to assist Self Help workers who may be impacted by the revocation and require additional assistance. In coordination with federal and state partners, the Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Employment and Training Administration are working with local, state, and federal agencies to identify resources and support for the affected workers in Self Help’s geographic region, should they be needed.Additionally, law enforcement agencies have been notified of this action.

Source: DOL


DDA Releases Two-Year Rate Setting Study Report

On Friday, November 3rd the Maryland Department of Health’s Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) released a two-year developmental disabilities service provider rate setting study. The rate study will allow the DDA to move from a prospective to a reimbursement payment model and streamline the payment process. There are four major advantages of the system recommended by the rate study:

  • Providers will receive the same payment for providing the same level of support.
  • Individuals will be supported by a flexible system that allows for changes in service authorization to meet needs without requiring a change in contract or rate – allowing for portability so individuals can easily relocate without financial concerns about care.
  • Increased accountability in the provider community and within DDA, including additional rate transparency around the authorization and payment for staffing required for individual care.
  • The system will be responsive both to different levels of support needs and local economic conditions through predetermined calculations for adjustment.

To read the report click here

Source: DDA

State Accepting Proposals to Invest in Apprenticeships

Kelly M. Schulz, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor today announced that the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation has received exclusive Federal funding to establish an Apprenticeship Innovation Fund. The Federal grant allows Maryland to provide incentives for innovative apprenticeship solutions for Maryland’s businesses. This initial investment of more than $620,000 is a part of a United States Department of Labor ApprenticeshipUSA Expansion Grant, which was awarded to Maryland in October 2016.

“We are excited about this great opportunity for Maryland’s businesses. This new funding award spotlights the Maryland Department of Labor's deep commitment to the Apprenticeship model as a win/win for Maryland businesses and working families alike. The plan is for Maryland businesses to use this opportunity to invest in their company, their communities and the State by investing in offering apprenticeships,” said Maryland Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz.

The Maryland Department of Labor plans to use this award to more strategically align apprenticeships with Maryland’s workforce system, to expand existing traditional apprenticeship opportunities and to create new opportunities grounded in labor market demand. The Apprenticeship Innovation Fund will provide seed money to businesses committed to creating new apprenticeship opportunities to meet their workforce talent pipeline needs.Under the leadership of Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland has increased apprenticeships from 7,186 in 2012 to more than 9,500 by the end of 2016.

For more information about Maryland apprenticeship opportunities, please visit theMaryland Department of Labor website, e-mail the Department’s Apprenticeship team, or contact the Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning at (410) 767-2173.

Source: DLLR






































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