Community Capacity Building
February 11, 2016
1:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn, Cary, NC
Members Present: I. Azell Reeves (Chairperson), Anna Cunningham, Jason Faircloth, Joshua Gettinger, Kerri Bennett-Eaker, Jim Swain, Amanda Bergen, Deb Goda for Sandra Terrell, Dreama McCoy for Bill Hussey
Members Absent: Representative Verla Insko, David White
Guests: Danielle Matula, Catherine Bergen, Alexander Bergen
Staff/Contractors: Karen Hamilton, Jill Hinton, Devika Rao, JoAnn Toomey, Yadira Vasquez, Philip Woodward
Welcome and Introductions: Chairperson I. Azell Reeves welcomed all members. Members introduced themselves, and the meeting began.
Approval of Minutes: Chairperson I. Azell Reeves asked for approval of the November 19, 2015 minutes.
MOTION: Jim Swain made a motion to accept the November 19, 2015 Community Capacity Building Committee minutes. Amanda Bergen seconded the motion. Azell asked if there were any recommended changes to the minutes.
Danielle Matula commented that in the paragraph where it states she shared that their “director position” has been vacant for some time, it should have said their “Section Chief position.”
Dreama McCoy and Amanda Bergen seconded the motion to approve the changes to the minutes. The motion was approved.
Azell Reeves asked Philip Woodward to give an overview of the ACCESS North Carolina travel guidebook/information. The legislature eliminated the DVRS program in 2015, so there were no more ACCESS guides printed. There is now an on-line website at: www.nc.gov/services/access-north-carolina. Joshua Gettinger asked if there was anywhere in our new Five Year Plan that this could fall under. Azell said that it was possible it could fall under that the new goal of Community Living. The question was could DVRS transfer the information to another person or agency? There is no longer a general statute protecting the program. There were many ideas about using an app to make the travel guide available. It cost $110,000 for 10,000 copies back in 2012.
Based on the agenda, Azell asked if this was something the members wanted to recommend as a topic to be considered as a future RFA. She also stated that there could be other collaborations with other state agencies as well as what we have in-house: O’Neill Communications.
The members considered recommending that the O’Neill Communications group and the NCCDD staff explore the possibilities of creating an app or putting the ACCESS North Carolina booklet on our website. They will provide the CCB members an update on progress of looking at the benefits of both suggestions. Members should send their comments to O’Neill Communications or staff, and they will compile the recommendations for this committee.
Devika Rao stated that they did look at this as a result of conversations in the Community Capacity Building Committee in November 2015. It looked like a website would be the better start rather than on desktops or mobile apps. Kerrie Eaker agreed since most people will go to the specific website. For example: Biltmore, parks, and other recreational opportunities.
Azell said many people with disabilities don’t understand that they can access a park or reserve a beach wheelchair, so there is a need to promote this information.
Yadira Vasquez updated the members with the current fiscal information. Joshua Gettinger asked about the $714,000 and the $224,000 amounts pending Council approval. Yadira explained that it was to fund initiatives coming up for continuation funding approval. Anna Cunningham stated that the report was good. Azell asked the members if there were any further questions, and there were none.
While waiting for Linda Emery to call in, Azell asked about sustainability of Project SEARCH and if there were other agencies or programs across the state where they could receive technical assistance from Linda Emery or Pat Keul.
Linda Emery, Project Director for the Project SEARCH initiative contracted through Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical, called in and Azell welcomed her to the meeting. Linda gave an update on the Year 2 contract that just ended and plans for Year 3 that just began January 1, 2016. They began the initiative with NCCDD in 2014. They have been able to meet their goals and are now in their third year. They plan to start three more new programs. By this August 2016, there will be12 programs operating statewide (8 through this initiative).
They were able to establish 3 the first year, 2 the second year and 3 in this final year. Of the students that completed the program in 2014, 65% of these students obtained employment. They’d like to work to increase this percentage. They recently, in January, had a statewide meeting, and it was an enthusiastic group with people supporting Project SEARCH from DVRS, schools, agencies, and businesses. It was a large group of people addressing strategies for young people with I/DD to get employment. Linda informed the CCB members that they would like to increase family involvement to help implement Project SEARCH programming. The types of jobs range from working full time and part time.
Azell asked if there were any questions from the members. Deb Goda asked how many jobs were full-time. Linda said that they tracked how many hours interns were working and thought they worked at least 16-20 hours or more. Joshua Gettinger asked if this project was sustainable to go on after this third year. He asked what kind of support would be needed. Linda stated the technical assistance and licensing have been supported by the Council so that the operation of the program year after year is minimal other than space needed. He asked how it could be spread more around the state. She stated that Project SEARCH grows organically – meaning with the sites already operating, other programs hear about it and start up. She stated the Council may want to consider some initial seed dollars to have statewide training more sustainable; to have a state-level team, someone from DVRS, the Council, and DPI who could organize the ongoing training and how communities can learn about Project SEARCH, including marketing.
Deb Goda asked if the 34% (actually 35%) of students who aren’t employed are still actively looking for a job and are being supported. Linda said that they do continue to support them and that those students graduating in May of 2014 did get jobs. Those graduating in May 2015 have had ongoing support to find employment. The VR Counselor drives the decision-making of next steps. Anna Cunningham asked with regards to the placement process; one thing they are finding the need for placement opportunities with the same skill set the students gained. Was this something they’ve done in the past or that could be an add-on rather than waiting for graduation? Linda said they do not have to wait for graduation, and they encourage the young people to actively seek employment while attending the program. The ongoing training is very important to explain how the process should work and how to start job development while the students are in Project Search. The model is relatively new in N.C., so she feels there does need to be continued support to see the collaboration continue.
Azell thanked Linda for the update, and Linda stated she really appreciated the committee’s questions and support and is always open to answering other questions.
Azell stated that she didn’t hear about the greater collaborations with other agencies. She talked about Pat Keul who provides technical assistance. Do we have someone to provide technical assistance? Joshua Gettinger asked how this affected DVRS. Jim Swain said that there are some concerns and issues regarding the outcomes. The members think that maybe they should be pushed outside their comfort zone to collaborate more with businesses rather than just in hospitals and larger models. Anna Cunningham said she has seen the program in High Point and stated that there is another similar program at UNC-Chapel Hill. She mentioned the quality of the job coach and the quality of the interactions in a hospital setting. Dreama McCoy talked about the great program they have in Charlotte with the Sheriff. She asked how they have they built capacity in other states? Jim Swain said that DVR does have contracts with some of these agencies/programs. He also said that the public can go in Open Window to see the contracts out there in DHHS. Kerri Eaker stated that sustainability cannot be discussed in the last year of a grant. As we go forward, it should be discussed sooner (possibly in the RFA). She thought there are a lot of agencies already doing something similar to Project SEARCH, and they should put their money on the table. Azell suggested that if members have additional comments to send them to staff. Dreama asked if they could submit some kind of timeline of plans for sustainability. Anna asked how they can maximize social capital.
Continuation Funding for NC ADA Network and Fiscal Agent/Intermediary initiatives:
Since it was presented earlier to the Council, Azell asked if the members had any other questions for Karen Hamilton, NCCDD contractor, who made a presentation earlier to the full Council about the ADA Network initiative and their partnership with the Southeast ADA Center.
Azell said there were two cards received from the Council members. First question, “What was being done in Sampson County?” Karen said they worked with the Big Blue Store in Sampson County with 35 employees. The topic was that they were discriminating against people with service animals. The result is they are no longer doing this since the ADA Network provided training to the store.
Second question was, “How or who do they coordinate with?” Karen said that they match people with other groups that have more experience to train other collaborators. They pull in collaborators from the community they are working in – depending on what the issue is.
Anna Cunningham asked about the new regulations regarding service animals and how do they keep up with all the information that comes out? Karen said that is why their collaboration with the Southeast ADA Center is so important. Joshua Gettinger asked about the oldest groups they have and how they’ve evolved and become less dependent. Karen spoke about how the Alliance of Disability Advocates began as a small grassroots program and is now a center for independent living. Azell asked how many staff there are to monitor and work with the grassroots programs. The ADA Center provides ADA training, technical assistance, publications (for readability) and links to national initiatives and collaborations. Alliance of Disability Advocates is the fiscal manager.
MOTION: Joshua Gettinger made a motion to approve continuation funding to the Alliance of Disability Advocates, a state center for independent living, for the NCCDD “ADA Network Fiscal Agent Initiative” for up to $40,000, with a 25% required minimum match, for the period of July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017 for year two of three. Jason Faircloth asked if they did any work with school systems. Azell reminded the members that this was a grassroots effort for people with disabilities. Anna Cunningham asked if they were responsible fiscally, and the answer was yes. Kerri Eaker asked if there could be more staff to help with the NCADA Network. The CCB members asked if this recommendation could be made to the NCCDD Executive Committee and the NCCDD Administration. Anna Cunningham seconded the motion. The motion was approved.
MOTION: Jim Swain made a motion for continuation funding for the In-House NC ADA Network Initiative for the period of July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017 for an amount up to $60,000 with match requirement waived since this is an in-house initiative of the Council. Joshua Gettinger seconded the motion. Amanda Bergen talked about the gentleman from Rocky Mount who came last year as a result of this project, and the members agreed they are getting their money’s worth. The motion was approved.
Discussion of Potential RFA Topics:
Please refer back to the potential RFA discussion earlier in the minutes under Old Business. Azell also reminded the CCB members to refer back to the minutes dated November 19, 2015 for potential RFA topics.
Wrap Up and Reminders:
Chairperson I. Azell Reeves reminded members to check their packets and fill out the committee preference forms, the conference announcements, and the minutes from meetings that didn’t make it into the mail-out. She asked if members are interested, to please respond promptly when they receive notification from Cora Gibson, NCCDD staff member, regarding upcoming conferences or other events.
Azell asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Deb Goda and Anna Cunningham made a motion to adjourn. Dreama McCoy seconded the motion. Motion carried. Chairperson I. Azell Reeves adjourned the meeting at 3:05 p.m.