Unedited Session Transcript

Including Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Individuals in One-Stop Centers

Brian Ingram


>>: Hello everyone. Does everyone have a hand out that wants one? They're up here on the front table. All right. It's the last speaker on the last day. So, let's go. My name is Brian Ingram. And I've been an employment consultant for about the past ten years and I've worked in various agencies around the Portland metro area as a private VR contractor. Right now I'm working on a demonstration grant from the Department of Labor. This project is funded by the Department of Labor, on a grant to demonstrate-

>>MALE SPEAKER: Do you want me to move to the next one?

>>: Yes. Technical glitches but that's okay. It's funded by the Department of Labor to demonstrate best practices around a one-stop for people who experience disabilities. This grant has many participants. First is Dr. Sowers, the codirector of the center on self determination at OHSU. Clover mow works for the center on self determination at OHSU who subcontracts with South East Works which is a neighborhood Portland one-stop. Heidi Soderberg is the coordinator there and Kenny Sparks is one of my many boss. We are to facilitate cooperation between different agencies and services. The theory being that if we're all employees of the various services out there, then it will be a little bit easier to bring it in, to work together as a team. But this is the project goal. Which is universal access at a one-stop that gives everybody equal access to every service. And you know, that's a big goal and something people have been trying to do for a long time.

So I thought we'd go through how we propose to do this. Firstly, the thought was that we would train all of the one-stop staff. Not just the specialist who sits in the corner. Train the whole staff to understand the best practices in the field of disabilities including the latest in assistive technology and building in accessibilities to every service that the one-stop provides. Another thing we tried to do was to get all the staff at one-stop to understand all of the different resources that are available for every client. So, what services do different agencies provide? For instance vr, the employment department, state and local services. And most importantly how do you access them for your clients. Another thing we're trying to teach the staff is how to take the league in partnering with the agencies sharing dollars and experience trying to assure that all needed access are accessed and not duplicated in achieving the same goal for the client. So that's the basic concept. Take the whole staff, train them to be aware of the services available, train them to be aware of the best practices in the field of disability and make it that anyone who comes to South East Works regardless of disability will get quality services using the best practices.

Now, one thing you may have noticed during the course of this conference is that I am not an expert on deaf issues (laughing). In fact I'm kind of a generalist. The reason I came to this conference was just to tell you one story. This is a story about a deaf client that came to se works and was served. Her name is Ana. There she is. I guess I am going to move. So this is Ana's history. Ana moved to Oregon from Russia when she was five. She graduated from the Oregon school for the deaf in 2000. She uses American sign language as her first form of communication. She lives with both parents. Neither parent ever learned to sign. She stayed home wanting to work but not knowing how to access services. This history is pretty typical of people experiencing disabilities in general but even more typical of the deaf population. After high school services kind of stop and people don't know how to access them. So there's Ana, sitting home watching television, planning on working in a sheltered workshop or on a janitorial crew.

So, this is how Ana came to South East Works and this is one of the reasons that a One-Stop can be a powerful tool. It is, ideally, a neighborhood kind of organization that people in various neighborhoods will get comfortable with and a whole family will access. Emma, who is also fluent in Russian, was working with Ana's sister. Ana's parents brought Ana in for help filling out an application to work on the janitorial crew. This began a process in which I was called in to consult. There's a huge population of new Russian implants. Emma runs an immigrant program. When she met Ana she knew she would need access for further services and therefore she consulted with me. So, here's what we did to start with with Ana. First I contacted Martha Smith at OHSU who has vast experience in working with the deaf in both educational and employment settings to talk with Ana and get a sense of where she was at. We contacted our on site coordinator. We have a partnership with the neighborhood voc rehab central in Portland. And we have an on site voc rehab counselor available to meet with any clients who might qualify for those services and also able to partner with us.

You might notice that was the first thing we did. Bring in the voc rehab counselor. There's no plan yet but we wanted the voc rehab counselor there from the very beginning. The last thing we did was a person centered planning process. Ana needed to-perhaps to clarify-that's a popular term. Person centered planning. It means a person driven planning process. Many different systems have aspects of this incorporated into various assessments. What we mean is specifically about employment for future planning, what it looks like is you have a meeting and you invite people who know and like the person that you're dealing with. Not necessarily professionals, but not necessarily not. You gather, you talk about somebody's strengths, capacities and gifts. You focus on the positive. You do not deny that there are barriers. You probably wouldn't have the meeting if there weren't. But you acknowledge this is not place to view it. You move on to figure out the next step. So we arranged a person centered plan for Ana and these people were invited. Ana of course, her parents, Emma was there for a number of reasons-at se works she knew Ana the best. Secondly she was fluent in Russian so she helped Ana's parent be part of the process. Voc rehab of course. Martha because she's very wise about things like this. Secondly we thought it best to have a second person besides the interpreter who signed in the room.

>>MALE SPEAKER: Can I ask a question?

>>: Certainly.

>>MALE SPEAKER: What was the language situation in the family.

>>: (Laughing) that's a good question. Well, of course her parents didn't sign. They both spoke very broken English. English was not how they chose to communicate. So most of the communication was in Russian. We had all sorts of interpreting going on anywhere. Does that answer your question? So, we came to what Ana was. And this is very clear cut. After the person centered plan it was determined that she wanted to be a cosmetologist. Usually you have two or three different venues you can forward from. But in Ana's case it was all about beauty. That's what she was interested in. She loved fashion, she'd been cutting her friends and family's hair since she was five. It was a passion that she had. Once she understood what we were doing that's what she wanted. She was very adamant and that of course was what we pursued. That wasn't the only thing we found out. We found out that her parents wanted more for her than to work on the crew they were working on which had been a doubt, so that was good.

We discovered that Ana was eligible for many resources that she wasn't receiving. She didn't have access to a tty, she wasn't using VR services. She qualified for transition services from the Oregon school for the deaf that she wasn't taking advantage of and also federal aid that she qualified for for professional aid or higher education. So, here's what we did. Part two. The first thing we thought we should do is before we proceeded we wanted to expose Ana to the real world situation of the profession that she was telling us she wanted to go into. So I ended upsetting up a work based learning experience at a very swank salon where there happened to be a deaf beautician. They met and hit it off and there was a sort of mentorship relationship that came from this. I knew that the local school had a two year cosmetology course. I called the director of the office of disabilities and said, hey, do you know anybody who was deaf who went through the program. There was. So I asked him to contact that person and he did.

So we were contacted by the beautician and we set that up. See if you recognize this experience. Ana met the beautician at the very swank salon and a week long job shadow where she was given pretty much the run of the place. She met all of the beauticians, had a great time and hit it off with her mentor. So much so that Ana and her mentor set up another work based experience at a different salon with another deaf beautician. We didn't know about it until a month later. They took off on their own. It was a good thing. The second thing I did was I went on the great beauty school quest. So we knew that if Ana was going to go to beauty school it would have to be a special school that would work with us and second of all in the structure of doing their program we would have to put in some supports. So I went to many, many beauty schools. Ten. I met with all sorts of people. I got my nails done. And I consulted very closely with the VR counselor, Susan Haywood and Martha Smith. People who knew more than I did essentially. So we knew this would be a critical piece.

Here's what we found. A beauty school that had a 100% graduation rate. What that means is the way this school was set up, if you stayed, paid your money and did not leave, you would pass the state test. They would let you study for ten years if you had to in order to get through. Secondly, this school was willing to participate with all of the different agencies, at this point there were five or six, working with Ana. Thirdly they had a class size that enabled Ana to have access to a lot of individualized instruction. It was one to five on a bad day. One to three on a good day. We found an interpreting agency willing to work closely with us and to guarantee a team of interpreters that would be with us for the duration of the schooling. Again, this was Martha saying this would be important. Believe it or not, beauty school is pretty complex. There's a whole language to it. There's biology, chemistry, a lot of very specific vocabulary and concepts.

So we were looking for a group of interpreters who would be willing to stick with us an work through the duration of Ana's schooling. So, one thing I want to say about the beauty school that I found really fascinating. You know, a lot of what I do is around universal access. That's a large part of the grant I'm working on. This beauty school practiced the finest brand of universal access I've seen. They basically would teach to the students. They would figure out how a student learned and they would teach them that way. It was mostly by time and error but at the same time it was something that when we saw it we knew that this was the place. The next thing that I did was put together a resource plan for Vocational Rehabilitation. And with any resource plan there are two pieces. There's the action piece and there's the money piece. So let me go through some of the actions. Ana said that she would attend all of the classes if she went. She said she would maintain her contact with the cosmologist who agreed to tutor her. We said that se works and OHSU would coordinate between all of the agencies. The interpretation costs were actually double the cost of the tuition.

So what we said to VR was that we'll monitor the situation closely. If there's a way to cut down the hours without sacrificing Ana's education we'll do that. Thirdly, we had Martha on board to provide consultation and integrating the interpreters into Ana's classroom. Here's the money bit. Okay. Now to pay for the resource plan. Well, Ana's schooling cost including schooling and interpreters would end up being between ten and twelve thousand dollars which is quite a bit. South East Works paid a thousand dollars off the top using moneys that Ana could access through Oregon career vision. Se works agreed to provide consultation, coordination, job placement and write a pass plan. We're agreeing to provide all of the job department to create a supported employment position for Ana when she graduated. To maintain that and also provide a pass plan. This is one way a One-Stop can partner with other a agencies is that those are all Billable services.

If VR was to have that done they would have to pay to have someone do it. So they were willing to pay the difference of nine to eleven thousand dollars and Ana agreed to use the proceeds of her pass man to contribute to the cost of her further education. So we were going to send Ana to school. There were a number of different certificates you could get. The first is facial and nails. So we were going to get Ana through the boards on facial and nails, take her out in the community and find her a job. Let her establish herself professionally, a part time job, and set up a pass plan so Ana could contribute to returning to the same school that had been working with her to go the rest of the way and get her certificate to cut hair. So, Ana's currently in school. And she's doing very well. It's been pretty exciting. There have been a lot of bumps. It's been very, very interesting.

One of the most interesting parts has been trying to integrate the interpreters into the classroom and try to facilitate the instructors and interpreters working together. Ana has a lot-you know, she has a pretty sheltered background. Although she is very smart and very quick to learn, there are a lot of things that she misses. So it's kind of-it does take the interpreters and the instructors working very closely just to figure out what she knows and where she's at in relation to the other class. Just the other day she blew them all away. We expect her in two months to be graduated. Ana feels good about what she's doing and her ability to be able to support herself which was a huge concern. VR is working with the One-Stop as a team to coordinate her employment success. Her family sees her very differently. They see her abilities and encourage her to shoot high. Emma and myself have learned a lot about how to serve people who have hearing impairments. There you go. Are there any questions? Like I said I was here basically today to tell you a story. That's the story. If you have any questions? Go ahead.

>>FEMALE SPEAKER: I have a question. When Ana's finished with school and gets a permanent job, what's your plan for established communication with her boss and co-workers and customer as soon as.

>>: That's a wonderful question. That's where the grantor came in.-He is-no, that's where the mentor comes in. I went in and observed how she worked and how she communicated with her clients and co-workers and it gave us the heads up to some barriers she was going to have. Stacy was used to working in the hearing world where Ana was sheltered. She uses pictures and writing. If you think about it, the funny thing is, if you are cutting hair in a salon, you have an established client base. So as you cut someone's hair more than once certain things get established and don't need to be communicated. Stacy told us that it was a little tough at first but in reality you don't need to talk to people in order to cut their hair. Very good question, thank you. Anybody else?

>>FEMALE SPEAKER: One more. What about her social life?

>>: Her social life-another good question was pretty much nonexistent when we met her. Actually the first thing that happened around that was her meeting Stacy who began to introduce her to a lot of other people. Secondly her social life has tripled just by the fact that she's attending beauty school now. It's actually funny. I like to joke that I can spot a beautician now from twenty feet away because there's a certain philosophy that goes with working with a salon. Ana has it in spades. Her interaction and communication and socialization is really amazing to watch. It's one of the best parts actually.

>>FEMALE SPEAKER: Earlier you said that the charge for tuition and interpreting-the school was charging extra because they had to supply the interpreter?

>>: No. But the costs of interpreting are separate from the tuition so VR covered part of that cost and the school did as well. So actually if we wanted to force them, we could have made the school pay for all of the interpreting. But we didn't want to because it was such a cool place and we didn't want to get driven out of the door.

>>MALE SPEAKER: Was there any consideration given to her going to Portland Community College where they would have provided an interpreter.

>>: Yes. At South East Works we work very closely with PCC. The reason we didn't go with them, it did come up, was the class size. They could have given her an interpreter but not the one on one instruction she's getting where she right now. We thought that was important. With Ana I don't think that language was the only barrier. There were a lot of issues around her limited exposure. We knew she'd need a lot of one on one. You guys ready for lunch? .

>>MALE SPEAKER: About Ana specifically or in general?

>>: In what regard.

>>MALE SPEAKER: You asked if there was anything else. Do you mean about Ana or anything-

>>: About anything I've spoken about today.

>>MALE SPEAKER: Actually, well-you talked about the philosophy of the One-Stop that you're at in terms of the staff learning about disabilities in general. And to me that seems like a really major challenge for folks. For all of the different disabilities, what are the specific issues that get involved. Are you getting any help from the VR agency in terms of training staff? How is the training happening?

>>: Well, training was a large part of the grant. So we've done a series of training over the two years of the grant which is over in September. So they all received a lot of really specific instruction around accessibility and resource leveraging. So I guess the answer to the question is us. The people working on the grant. We're not just educating people at South East Works either. We're going out in the town trying to model, really. And letting them know what's possible. Trying to get them to stop just kicking people out the door with disabilities because they don't know what to do. The other thing is that what we're asking them to do around disability isn't all that different from what they do already. You know, it's kind of like we're out there saying this is not rocket science. With a little education you can double or triple your effectiveness.

>>FEMALE SPEAKER: I'm Dorothy, I wanted to know about something to make sure I didn't miss something. Where you work is that called an employment network or are you-you know what I'm talking-

>>: I do. Yeah. As a matter of fact South East Works is a One-Stop which is a little different from an employment network. What an employment network is, which by the way South East Works is as well, it's an organization that can take ticket to work and use that to find people get employment.

>>FEMALE SPEAKER: I was trying to make sure where you were coming from. So thank you for explaining.

>>: Certainly.

>>FEMALE SPEAKER: I think one of the issues I have is-I'm from North Carolina and we have wonderful relationships with our One-Stop centers. In North Carolina one of the names they use is job link. They are directly located or housed in the security office. Some stay there and some work half a day but they work directly with One-Stop. When I was in Washington two years ago listening to some of the legislation and talking about organizing the One-Stop centers and so forth, but I think one of the things I keep hearing over and over again is that they want people to access these centers and to use the vouchers and all of the ticket to work works and all of these things, but it's like the old story if it ain't broke don't fix it? I mean you see people going to the one-stops and now we're having to train staff on how to work with persons with disabilities, whatever that disability is. And sometimes it-I keep hearing some of the first people that they asked to cooperatively work with them is Vocational Rehabilitation who's already done it for years and years and years. So in this grant, could you talk a little more about the premise of the grant. I was looking back here it said "to demonstrate best practices for one-stops-". Could you talk more about the grant?

>>: Like I said it's a Department of Labor demonstration grant-actually part of this hand out might be helpful. As you see on the first page-I hate this term but people working on the grant are embedded all throughout the service provider system in Portland, Oregon. The idea behind that was to facilitate cooperation and sharing of resources and expertise. So I work at the One-Stop. We have a coordinator at WSI which is the local WIA coordinator for the feds. We have Martha at OHSU. We at one point had -- -- we had someone at the YO center-youth opportunity center which is a different funding theme for youth services based on the enterprise zones. The idea would be that we would join staff and become one of them and model and demonstrate and train. One of the things you get a lot in the field of disabilities with professionals is that they get very intimidated. They see somebody with multiple disabilities and say, oh, my Lord. How do I get this person to work. I can't even communicate.

So oddly a major part of what we've been doing are saying calm down. The steps aren't so very different from anybody else. There are some different acronyms and rules about funding, but you guys are already really good about that. You know about twenty funding streams. This is just another one. Another thing that's proved to be important is train them around best practices. So everybody at South East Works now knows what a carved position is all about-I don't know if you know what that is? They know how to hire a job developer. How to create a position off a person centered plan. They know how to do person centered plans. In fact at the youth program we've coordinating the process for a briefer way for everybody who walks in the door. So the staff are getting hands on knowledge. Take this scenario, it's probably familiar. Somebody with a disability walks through the door. It's determined that they will not fit into any existing position. They're sent to VR who hires a job developer who spend a lot of money and either doesn't find the person a job at all or finds them a job that they lose in a month. So actually one of the things we're teaching the staff at SE Works to do is we've taught them what makes is good job developer, how do you do it successfully. Again, this is not rocket science. It's pretty easy to do. You hold the job developer accountable-I guess that's the negative side. The positive side is that you give them something to look for. You don't just say go find the job. .

>>MALE SPEAKER: Question about helping a person find a job. Suppose you've got a high school student who's transitioning from school to work. Sometimes say they graduate, they don't know what to do. Where is information about your service? You know, like you say getting access but not knowing about your service.

>>: Well, Billy, one thing you can do is take my card and contact me through E-mail. I'm assuming you're in Seattle?

>>MALE SPEAKER: Vancouver.

>>: Oh, then you could go to South East Works. Unless you're saying BC-are you saying USA?

>>: No, I'm a graduate student. But my point is if it's a high school student they don't know about South East Works. How can they get information. Who can refer them. Who has that information?

>>: Right. Well the transition specialists at the high school. That's a partner I haven't mentioned yet. We're working with public schools. They should know about us. All of the VR counselors should know about us. How else? We advertise in the paper. You could walk in off the street. We have an open door policy at South East Works so we could serve anybody. In somebody from Vancouver wanted to come down specifically to hook up with us that's fine. We're trying to spread the word as much as we can. It's not really a secret. So the normal channels. If you mention it to a VR counselor they ought to know in the Portland/Vancouver area.

>>MALE SPEAKER: You have the grant and that's Department of Labor, is that state or U.S.?

>>: No. That's federal. It's a federal demonstration grant around WIA services-work force investment grant. It sounds like we're doing a lot I guess. Is to try to make sure the services remain once the grant dollars is gone. One of the things we have to do is move to a fee for service model for some of the services we're providing. That's really for the sole purpose of continuing service once the grant is over. So for things not covered under WIA, we're going to end up having to charge for. I'm not looking forward to that though. Because it's pretty good for research leveraging. You're getting all of these services for no cost to you. Please kick in.

>>MALE SPEAKER: Has someone in the mean time been looking for other possibilities for grants?

>>: Oh, yes. The Center of Determination at OHSU and se works are always looking for grant dollars. The thing is that a lot of the reason this project looks like it does were the terms of the grant. If we brought in other grant dollars it wouldn't look the same way. That's part of what happens. It's not like we've been able to locate a grant or funding source that will fund us entirely. So it's a challenge-it is a challenge. But we're trying to face it.

>>MALE SPEAKER: You're part of a local work force board, right? Does that-is it that board involved in helping to finding funding resources?

>>: Not so much finding the funding resources, although the board has been a great help in terms of bringing in partners and helping us and work with us closely. Who knows, in the future we'll probably-right now we're wrapping things up and I've been working very hard job developing lately. Trying to find people who don't have jobs jobs before the end of the grant. I'm kind of the grunt. So I do a lot of hands on work and don't really deal with the funding as much. Well, is that about it guys?

>>MALE SPEAKER: My understanding is that the U.S. Department of Labor is, you know, behind this. And they're supposed to be funding this program with other federal, state, local governments as well as private money. I can't see why there should even be a possibility of the One-Stop folding or not being able to do what they need to do.

>>: Right. And the one-stops in this process are separate. The one-stops will go on one way or another regardless of whether I'm there. The people we've trained will go on. That's a real cost effective way of getting cost effective services for people. This training has become a part of the training for any employee at South East Works. So that will continue. You know, you may not have-and actually people like me, I said that in the beginning not having a disability specialist off in the corner. You know, you go there. But have people experiencing disabilities being able to access all services. Now you can't expect every person at the One-Stop to be an absolute expert on everything but you can expect them to know enough to know what somebody needs. Even if they don't know how exactly to do it- one thing we've not done is job develop. But everybody knows what that looks like and getting that. It's kind of a fine line. I agree with you though. I think they should fund it. There's not a lot of money flying around there right now. Would we like to go to lunch? Thank you very much. You've been a wonderful audience. I had a great time.

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