Building Back Better – Reinventing Our Approach to Competitive, Integrated Employment

A New Results In Systems Excellence (RISE) Peer Action eLearning Community Open to ALL AoD Grantees Co-Facilitators: Cesilee Coulson and Karen Lee Peer Coaches from AoD Grantee Network TBD (One per Grantee Category)

Applications Due: July 27th, 2021

Launch Meeting: July 29th, 2021 | 2:00 – 3:00pm EST

It has been approximately 18 months came face-to-face with living through a global pandemic. In relation to supporting people with disabilities through this crisis in our nation’s history, providers of disability services have had to pivot and immediately prioritize the health and safety of the individuals they serve through the provision of remote, individualized supports, often via a hybrid virtual/home-based model that had to deploy unique and different strategies given the threats of COVID-19. Communities were called upon to invent new, creative ways for individuals (both with and without disabilities) to remain connected and vibrant with unprecedented constraints. And as AoD grantees, you were called upon to go the extra mile in terms of advocating for the interests of people with disabilities, advising on the development and quick implementation of alternative approaches to service provision, and monitoring (through research, data collection and exploratory engagement) the impact of the pandemic and these subsequent changes in systems on people with disabilities. 

Our economy has forever changed. The labor market is fluid and temperamental. The consequences of social isolation are clear. And the importance of employment as a part of both identity and socioeconomic independence is evident.  Now, as our communities begin to shift toward an eventual “post-COVID” climate, there is an opportunity to seize this opportunity, learn from our collective experience over the past 18 months, and pave a future that supports individuals with disabilities to work, live independently, and thrive in their communities. 

How will we “build back better” together? How can we ensure that competitive integrated employment is the expected outcome for everyone who wants it? How do we prevent our systemic approach to supporting people with disabilities from going backward, and instead move forward from the lens of seeing people as individuals and not as participants of a larger system?

Every single AoD grantee – whether you are a CIL, part of the DD Network, or a TBI state partnership program – are uniquely positioned to influence the future direction that your local communities and states take in advancing CIE.  Your roles may be distinct, your strengths and resources may vary, but there is no question that the AoD Grantee Network can provide tremendous contributions to assuring people with disabilities are fully included in the building back of local communities and economies. 

If you are interested in supporting a “building out and building up employment” vision for the future in your community and state, whether it be through policy reform, program implementation, or direct support provision, come join us! 

We have designed a dynamic peer-action e-Learning community that will engage and challenge you to build initiatives based on your organization’s unique footing (resources, strengths, assets, level of experience, and interests) to advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities, at both an individual and systems-level. If you want to engage like-minded professionals in the pursuit of quality CIE, and you’re ready to take your organization’s focus on employment and economic advancement of people with disabilities to the next level, this e-Learning Community is FOR YOU!

We will hold ten 90-minute sessions between July and December 2021. At each session, there will be content, conversation and the expectation to engage in the practices needed to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to emerge from COVID, through employment.  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 and/or mid-level program managers who are responsible for teams/staff that have advancement of employment of people with disabilities as part of their portfolio. For more details, you may review the tentative schedule and outline of the RISE community here

We are excited to launch this exciting new e-Learning community and start to build out our communities through employment advocacy and dedicated actions.


Reach out to the Disability Employment TA Center Project Team at:

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DETAC Monthly NewsletterIssue 4 |  2021 In this Issue: Check out our New Blog: Looking Inward ◆ New Resource: Using Discovery as a Tool to Increase Employment

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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 ◆

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The Disability Employment TA Center

Transforming AoD’s Networks through Systems Change, Innovation and Collaboration

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This website was created by The Lewin Group/TASH under the Administration for Community Living (Administration on Disabilities) . Contract HHSP233201500088I / 75P00120F37007.