August Newsletter

In this Issue:  

New RISE Peer eLearning Community #3 ◆ New Podcast: From the Sheltered Workshop to Musical Mentor – A Conversation with Sunny Cefaratti ◆ New Blog from Nicole LeBlanc (DETAC Self-Advocate Engagement Adviser) ◆ New Technical Assistance Opportunity: Three-Part Provider Transformation Series ◆ Take Advantage of DETAC TA-on-Demand ◆ DETAC’s National Monthly CoP Webinars ◆ Coming Soon: DETAC Learning Management System 

New RISE Peer eLearning Community #3:
Walking the Walk: Prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Organizational Culture & Programming to Support People of Color with Disabilities to Achieve Maximum CIE


Leading for equity and engaging in equity work requires us to move away from the historical manners in which we provide services and build capacity towards a model which understands and prioritizes needs, particularly those most affected by inequity.

What possibly could be the most challenging but most essential element needed to change is that engaging and leading for equity requires the acknowledgment in the need to shift our own perceptions and practices to support more equitable outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Applying the equity lens requires both self and organizational reflection with recognition of how the existing systems preserve the vicious cycle of inequality and disparity.

As grantees, you have been called upon to create and apply innovative models when serving individuals with unique backgrounds most of which do not identify with the predominant population. This additional effort requires thoughtfulness, extra funding, and strategic planning, especially for Centers for Independent Living. The AoD Grantee Network can provide significant contributions in building and applying the equity framework to build organizational capacity and focus on the person-centered approach to creating equity.
The Equity Conversation is a capacity-building approach to organizational change focused on advancing employment opportunities for staff as well as job seekers in competitive, integrated employment. Equity has become the new buzzword in many communities. For this RISE eLearning Community, Equity is framed as the intentional action(s) to create inclusion, belonging, and communityThis is a change process which gives everyone access, a voice, and a seat at the table.
If your organization is ready to make changes, build community and apply the equity model through service delivery then this RISE eLearning Community is for you!
We have designed a community of practice that will engage and challenge you to:

  • Embed equity as a central principle in your work to advance people of color with disabilities in the generic workforce and economic mainstream.
  • Identify intentional steps as an organization towards building capacity by applying the equity lens through inward reflection and assessment (staff/client).
  • Have inclusive and person-centered conversations in a safe & productive way.

We will hold ten 90-minute sessions between September and December 2021. At each session, there will be content, conversation, and the expectation to engage in equity practices needed to ensure that everyone can develop a framework for organizational change.  Each participating entity will also receive two 1:1 consults to supplement the ongoing group coaching for bringing a concept related to employment to reality within their organization. Participants should include senior-level executive leaders who are responsible for teams/staff that have the advancement of employment of people with disabilities in meaningful competitive, integrated employment as part of their portfolio.

We are excited to launch this Peer eLearning Community and start to listen, learn and practice engaging the crucial capacity-building work from an equity lens framework. We look forward to engaging with CILs through this Peer eLearning Community!

Interested CILs should complete the application here.

Application is required by 11:59 PM ET on August 30, 2021.

New Podcast: 
From the Sheltered Workshop to Musical Mentor: A Conversation with Sunny Cefaratti

Following the DETAC’s webinar in June to celebrate Olmstead, we had the opportunity to take a deeper dive into Sunny’s journey from leaving the shop and how she developed a meaningful life through self-directed services and her passion of music as the Co-Founder and Autistic Self-Advocacy Mentor at the Musical Autist.

New Blog:

Building Our Own Career Pathway –  A Self-Advocate’s Perspective
Check out the new blog from DETAC’s Self-Advocate Engagement Consultant, Nicole LeBlanc, as she reflects on her journey to competitive, integrated employment and provides advice to other self-advocates for developing a career pathway based on their interests, passions, preferences, and direction.

New TA Opportunity Coming Soon! Be on the lookout!  
What: Three-Part Provider Transformation Workshop Series

This three-part provider transformation series is intended for Centers for Independent Living (CIL) and Councils on Developmental Disabilities in supporting them in how they can engage with and support the transformation of disability service providers to offer new, integrated person-centered services such as (but not limited to) customized employment/discovery, supported employment and financial capability into their programs for individuals with significant disabilities. Guest speakers (grantees, providers, and Subject Matter Experts) in the field will share their experiences with transformation by outlining high-impact strategies, evidence-based practices, and real-life examples, including lessons learned. Registration is limited, apply here:

Because this workshop series is focused on supporting CILs and Councils to improve the partnerships with employment service providers, Vocational Rehabilitation, and other stakeholders needed to advance competitive integrated employment, CILs and Councils are welcome to invite additional partners to participate in the workshop series as well.

The webinar series will be facilitated on the following dates:

Part 1: Setting the Stage: The Importance of Being Connected and Working in UnitySeptember 8, 2021, from 3:00-4:30 PM/EST

Part 2: Getting Creative: Applying Innovative Strategies to Guide Transformation and Increase CIE:September 22, 2021, from 3:00-4:30 PM/EST

Part 3: Taking Action: Next Steps and Implementation to Keep Momentum:October 6, 2021, from 3:00-4:30 PM/EST

Spots are limited, register here:

Taking Advantage of AoD TA-on-Demand

Need advice from an Expert? Reach out! Send your requests directly to the AoD Disability Employment TA center at or fill out the form here.

DETAC’s National Monthly Webinars & “Office Hours with the Experts”

The Center hosts monthly national webinars on the second Tuesday of every month from 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET.  “Office Hours with the Experts” are held on the 2nd Friday of every month from 12:00 noon-1:30 p.m. ET. The Office Hours are an opportunity for AoD grantees to further engage directly with subject-matter experts who participated in the last monthly national webinar to seek advice on specific projects, trouble-shoot challenges that have arisen with employment systems-change work, and brainstorm or get feedback on new ideas that you are contemplating. We encourage all of AoD’s grantee network and DETAC’s national Community of Practice to take advantage of our monthly webinars and the subsequent office hours to help inform your ongoing work to improve CIE outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Monthly CoP Webinars: Coming up in September:

Partnership Works! A story about the successful collaboration between a Center for Independent Living, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Workforce Development through Pre-ETS in Missouri

Webinar:              Date: September 14, 2021   |   Time: 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm EST
Office Hours:      Date: September 17, 2021   |   Time: 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EST

Based on a successful state-level collaborative model between Missouri’s workforce development and rehabilitation systems as well as a Center for Independent Living, this webinar will showcase the key ingredients necessary to develop a partnership that focuses on supporting youth with disabilities that are being served through Pre-Employment Transition Services under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Participants will learn how to create partnerships, identify areas of collaboration to help youth excel in preparation for and during employment, and maintain relationships during uncertain times when youth with disabilities need the strongest support to achieve their potential in competitive, integrated employment and economic self-sufficiency.


Julie DeJean
Chief Executive Officer
The Whole Person, MO

Kim Gee, MS, CRC, LPC 
Manager of Youth Programs & Services 
MO Vocational Rehabilitation

Yvonne Wright, BA, MPA 
Deputy Director
MO Office of Workforce Development

Registration at:

In Case You Missed Them Live:

Overcoming Systemic Racism in the Education System to Build Equity for Students of Color with Disabilities
August 10, 2021

 Here is the link to the recording:
 For centuries, students with disabilities, particularly those who identify with underserved or marginalized populations have been faced with extraordinary challenges as they navigate the school system as a young person with a disability of color. Educators are presented with challenges in connecting with individuals of different backgrounds in addition to providing quality integrated special education services that lead to competitive, integrated employment outcomes. Providers of services for youth with disabilities are hungry for resources to support their colleagues in the education system to enable and empower them to raise the bar in providing equal services to youth with disabilities of color. During this webinar, participants will learn how to apply assessment tools and unique strategies that help in breaking barriers and identifying realistic solutions to supporting students with disabilities of color that are struggling to navigate the complexities of being an underserved or marginalized population in local education system.

Reflecting on the Americans with Disabilities Act: Advancements in Technological Support Solutions on the Job in a COVID World

July 13, 2021

 Here is the link to the recording:
 We celebrated the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by highlighting the importance of technological innovation in supporting and propelling individuals with disabilities to secure and maintain competitive, integrated employment (CIE). Participants got the opportunity to hear opening remarks from Alison Barkoff, Acting Administrator for the Administration for Community Living, on the impact that technological advancements have had in fulfilling the promise of the ADA. Then, participants learnt about innovative assistive technologies and applications that help individuals with significant disabilities improve their productivity and interpersonal communications in the workplace. Experts from the AT3 Center also spoke about the role that federally-funded assistive technology programs in every state and territory under the Assistive Technology Act can play in partnership with AoD grantees at the state and local level to enhance employment and economic outcomes for individuals with disabilities by increasing access to vital assistive technologies. Finally, participants heard the real-life success stories of two individuals with disabilities who benefited from individualized technological solutions to help them achieve CIE.

Celebrating Olmstead: It’s Time for 14(c) Phase-Out: Lessons Learned from Advancing Legislation & Leaving the Shop

June 8, 2021

 Here is the link to the recording:
 The June webinar focused on celebrating Olmstead by helping attendees understand the history of civil rights for people with disabilities. Additionally, the webinar highlighted Washington state’s successful model of passing legislation to permanently phase out 14(c) and sheltered work in the state, delving into the valuable role the Washington Council on Developmental Disabilities played in bringing stakeholders together in executing a coordinated advocacy strategy with state legislators. Participants also heard about the remarkable journey of four self-advocates from Washington State, Maryland, and Rhode Island who transitioned out of sheltered workshops or segregated work and into CIE, optimal self-sufficiency, and full community inclusion. 

Coming Soon: DETAC Learning Management System

The AoD Disability TA Center’s Learning Management System (LMS) will be a state-of-the-art, interactive platform where AoD grantees can complete courses on a variety of topics, receive professional development, participate in peer-learning communities and topical discussions, and download AoD-grantee specific curriculum and trainings. Be on the lookout: we are busy developing the system and the LMS will be available within the next couple of months!

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