IN THE COMMUNITY
Martin O’Malley, Governor - Anthony G. Brown, Lt. Governor
Catherine Raggio, Secretary - George P. Failla, Jr., Deputy Secretary
In This Issue:
DISABILITY HISTORY AND AWARENESS MONTH
Eighth grade students at a Baltimore County Middle School and seventh and eighth grade students from a Prince George’s County Middle School learned about the laws that have brought people with disabilities into the mainstream of community life. Colleges and universities across the State held student forums and panel discussions on disability issues, sponsored disability service fairs, and screened films that focused on the lives of individuals with disabilities. The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, the Department of Natural Resources and other state agencies organized meetings and seminars on a variety of disability topics. A federal agency hosted an employment and accessibility training program. Local non-profit organizations and county commissions on disabilities held awards luncheons recognizing individuals and businesses for their support of the disability community. Throughout the month of October, individuals and organizations across the Maryland celebrated Disability History and Awareness Month.
Disability History and Awareness Month kicked off a week early, as Governor Martin O’Malley and Secretary Catherine Raggio announced it during the Governor’s cabinet meeting held in Frederick as part of the Governor’s Capital for a Day activities on September 23. School children from Lincoln Elementary School assisted in the announcement, correctly identifying Franklin Delano Roosevelt as an American president who had a disability.
Governor O’Malley proclaimed October Disability History and Awareness Month in Maryland saying, “Disability History and Awareness Month serves as an outstanding tool in creating greater awareness, understanding and support for individuals with disabilities. By emphasizing disability awareness activities in our school systems and focusing on the lives and accomplishments of people with disabilities, we are working toward a future where every person with a disability is respected and valued as a contributing member of our community.”
Governor O’Malley signed the Executive Order proclaiming October Disability History and Awareness Month in Maryland on July 26, 2009 as part of the State’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) anniversary celebration. The Executive Order instructed State agencies, in particular the Maryland Department of Disabilities, Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland Higher Education Commission, to conduct activities that will lead to increased public awareness and acceptance of people with disabilities. A calendar of Disability History and Awareness Month activities and lists of films and books for all ages are located on the MDOD website, www.mdod.maryland.gov.
ARRA FUNDING ANNOUNCEMENT
Seven Maryland non-profits will develop and expand employment programs for underserved individuals with disabilities
Grants funded by The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
The Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) has awarded grants to seven community non-profit programs that help people with disabilities go to work. DORS awarded the grants, which are funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, on a competitive basis to agencies who agreed to target to individuals with significant disabilities who have traditionally been underserved.
• PDG Rehabilitation Services, Inc. (Glen Burnie) will expand an employment support program for offenders with severe mental illness.
• MD School for the Deaf (Frederick) will initiate the Work-to-Learn Transition and Work Preparation Program for high school students who are deaf and have an additional significant disability.
• Humanim, Inc. (Baltimore & Columbia) will expand its “Start on Success” (SOS) program to Harford County. SOS will coordinate internships and employment for Harford County Public School students with significant disabilities
• Arc of Baltimore will expand Project Search, which operated for the past two years in Baltimore City, to eastern and mid-northern Baltimore County. Project Search focuses on students with developmental disabilities by combining academic, work preparation and real work experiences in a business setting.
• Arc of the Northern Chesapeake Region will initiate “Ready, Willing and Able!” a program that helps people with disabilities develop small businesses or become employed in jobs that are specially designed to meet their needs and those of their employers.
• Deaf Independent Living Association (Salisbury) will enhance job development services to include innovative, practical, hands-on employment services for individuals who are deaf or who have a hearing loss
• Horizon Goodwill Industries (Hagerstown) will enhance their Employment Connections program, which provides employment services for recently released offenders with significant disabilities.
Individuals with disabilities who are currently receiving services from DORS should consult with the rehabilitation counselor assigned to them to learn more about these programs. Those who are not currently receiving services from DORS can find out if they are eligible by referring themselves online at www.dors.state.md.us or by contacting the DORS office in their community. To learn about locations, visit www.dors.state.md.us/DORS/AboutDORS/DORSLocations/, call 1-888-554-0334 or e-mail email@example.com.
The Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD), as part of its commitment to employment for individuals with disabilities, has developed a series of articles addressing key components of career development and the job search process. These articles are intended to supplement the MDOD Work Matters fact sheets produced by the Department of Disabilities that provide answers to a wide range of work related issues facing individuals with disabilities, their families and potential employers. The Work Matters fact sheets, which are available online at www.mdod.maryland.gov, provide information on a range of topics including the Maryland Employed Individuals with Disabilities (EID) program, assistive technology, disclosure, the rights and responsibilities of individuals with disabilities in the workforce, workplace accommodations, legal issues and tax related information.
In this series, articles will cover job search techniques and how to alter a job search for a tight economy. Other articles will explore the purpose and effectiveness of resumes and cover letters, giving tips on how to make your materials work for you. Interviewing techniques and etiquette will also be addressed. An article will discuss the meaning of experience and the power of internships. We hope these articles assist job seekers by providing detail-oriented advice and encouraging them to rethink the broader way they think about work and about what each job, internship, or volunteer opportunity provides. In order for this article series to be as useful a resource as possible, we encourage you to think about what information you would like to see in these articles. Please email BBurnett@mdod.state.md.us with suggestions and ideas for topics and resources.
WORK MATTERS - EMPLOYMENT, CAREER DEVELOPMENT AND THE JOB SEARCH
General Job Search Techniques
Searching for a job or internship can be a daunting task. This article gives some tips to make the process more manageable.
- The first item on your to-do list is to sit down and think about your skills, experiences, and preferences. Doing this allows you to narrow your search, which means results that should be less daunting in number and breadth.
- If you have not done so already, draft your resume. Have a general resume ready for quick applications, but be ready to tweak it a bit to showcase your skills and experience for specific positions.
USING THE INTERNET
- When you are ready to begin actively searching for positions, the Internet is your most powerful resource with dozens of websites dedicated to posting job and internship opportunities.
- Two websites – SimplyHired.com and Indeed.com – scour the web for postings on job sites, company boards, and newspapers to present you with a fairly comprehensive list of posted positions.
- If you are interested in a specific industry or field, you might prefer sites that focus specifically on that area.
- Idealist.org posts positions and provides career development resources for the nonprofit and common good sector.
AmeriCorps.gov posts positions available through AmeriCorps programs nationwide. OrionGrassroots.org and SustainLane.com post job and internship opportunities in the environmental field. USAJobs.gov, StudentJobs.gov, and MakingtheDIfference.org post opportunities in the federal government.
- DisabilityInfo.gov, DisabledPerson.com, DisabilityJobSite.com, Disaboom.com, GettingHired.com, and JobAccess.org post positions in the disability field and for individuals with disabilities.
OTHER JOB SEARCH RESOURCES
- Beyond the Internet, be sure to keep an eye on the newspaper, visit your local One-Stop Career Center, and talk to people. Look at the network around you – family, friends, and neighbors – and see what resources are available.
- NEXT STEPS
If positions aligning with your skills, experiences, and preferences are slim, be creative! Especially if you are searching for an internship, part-time work, or entry-level position.
Think about what skills and experiences you hope to develop, then consider positions beyond the confines of your original search that would accomplish those goals.
If you feel like the position is too random, ask yourself if you could positively and productively answer this question in a future job interview: “Why did you do that?” If you can answer that question by discussing the skills and experiences you gained from the position, then it might be a good fit for you.
- Once you start applying for positions:
Be sure to keep records of your job search including the job title, company, contact information, the date you submitted the application and a record of the materials you sent in. This can be done with pen and paper or using Microsoft Word or Excel
Be sure that your voice mail has an appropriate message, and that your email address is professional.
Approaching a job or internship search with steps in mind and goals to achieve along the way makes the entire process easier to manage and (hopefully!) successful.
NEW STAFF AT MDOD
In August, Maxine Morris joined the Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD) as the new Program Administrator for the Attendant Care Program (ACP). The ACP provides financial reimbursement to individuals with chronic or severe physical disabilities who require attendant services such as in-home assistance with personal care, household chores, and transportation. Maxine manages the day-to-day operations of the program.
Maxine comes to the Department with a great deal of experience working with and on behalf of people with disabilities. She has worked with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for over 13 years in various capacities including REM case manager, Quality Improvement Specialist and Program Administrator of Medicaid’s school based services program. Prior to that, she worked for the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Center for Health Program Development and Management as a Social Work Consultant and a Medicaid Case Manager.
Maxine has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from Salem State College in Salem, Massachusetts.
Rachael Faulkner has joined the Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD) as Coordinator of Education Policy and Interagency Liaison. In that role, she will serve as the Department’s policy expert on education and will provide support for the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant as it impacts employment and post-secondary education outcomes for transition-aged youth with disabilities. Rachael will also act as liaison to the State Coordinating Council, the Governor’s Commission on Suicide Prevention and other groups related to education and transition to post-secondary education and employment.
Prior to coming to MDOD, Rachael served as public policy associate for the Mental Health Association of Maryland where she collaborated on the implementation of a grant to integrate school mental health services and positive behavioral interventions and supports in Maryland schools. In that position, she also monitored Maryland’s budget and legislation, and prepared and presented testimony on mental health issues.
Rachael has a Master’s degree in Social Work in Management and Community Organizing from the University of Maryland, Baltimore and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and American Studies from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
GOVERNOR O'MALLEY LAUNCHES 2010 CENSUS OUTREACH EFFORT IN MARYLAND
On Wednesday, October 28, Governor Martin O’Malley kicked off Maryland’s effort to count every person in Maryland during the 2010 Census. Joined by local elected officials, community and business leaders, the Governor officially launched the Maryland outreach campaign which features the campaign motto “Census 2010: It’s In Our Hands, Maryland.” The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the nationwide head count of U.S. residents every 10 years.
“Every Maryland household will receive its census questionnaire in early March next year. It is our duty to our country, our state, our communities and our families to be counted,” Governor O’Malley said at the launch today in Baltimore County. “Federal funding for programs affecting education, health care, highways, workforce development, housing and energy are distributed based on census population data. The success of the census and Maryland’s fair portion of these funds depends upon an accurate accounting of every Maryland resident.”
The U.S. Census Bureau will begin mailing questionnaires to households in late February through early March. Respondents will answer a 10-question census form, one of the shortest in the history of the bureau, based on their expected residency on April 1, 2010, known as Census Day. The Governor's plan puts specific emphasis on those areas of the State that the Census Bureau has deemed traditionally “Hard-to-Count.” Those are areas that, among other factors, had a low mail-back response rate in the 2000 Census.
In fiscal year 2007, Maryland received more than $5.8 billion in federal allocations for programs that rely in whole or in part on Census Bureau data derived from the decennial census and data produced by other federal agencies that are derived from Census Bureau statistics. The allocation per Maryland resident was estimated at just over $1,000 per year. A hypothetical undercount of 100,000 residents could cost Maryland taxpayers one billion in lost funding over the coming decade.
“It’s important that Marylanders with disabilities are among those counted as part of the 2010 Census,” said Catherine A. Raggio, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities. “The Census is a time when we need to be truly inclusive. We can not plan for future needs – transportation, housing, education, employment – if we do not have an accurate number of individuals with disabilities in Maryland in order to determine necessary funding and services on both a federal and state level.”
Maryland joins the U. S. Census Bureau in affirming that the Census is important, easy and safe. Federal law protects the confidentiality of personal, household census information for a period of 72 years. Furthermore, personal census information is not shared outside of the bureau with any federal, state or local government agency.
Governor O’Malley’s Census 2010 Outreach Campaign is implemented by a partnership of the Maryland Department of Planning, the Office of the Secretary of State and the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives. Key elements of the plan include a coordinated effort among State agencies to promote the census to employees and service recipients, a network of local committees providing outreach at the community level and the support of business and non-profit organizations reaching their customers and stakeholders.
For additional information regarding the Census and the outreach efforts in Maryland, visit the Maryland Census 2010 website at www.census.maryland.gov.
PORT DISCOVERY'S NEW DISABILITY AWARENESS EXHIBIT
This past September the Port Discovery Children’s Museum, located in Baltimore, welcomed a new traveling exhibit titled access/ABILITY. The exhibit, scheduled to stay through January 24th, was developed by the Boston Children’s Museum and sponsored nationally by the MetLife Foundation. The goals of the exhibit are to dispel myths and allay fears about people with disabilities; increase visitors’ awareness of a broad range of disabilities, including learning disabilities; foster communication and social skills around disability issues; and change disabling attitudes, foster an attitude of inclusion, and encourage curiosity about strategies, tools, and technologies that enable all people to participate fully in society.
The exhibit itself, presented in English and Spanish, offers personal snapshots of children and adults living with various disabilities and engages children in multiple activities, including maneuvering a wheelchair through a multi-sensory city walk, learning words and phrases in sign language, typing in Braille, using a hand-pedaled bike, and testing memory and attention. The exhibit also has a designated resource area with books and online resources.
In addition to the access/ABILITY exhibit, Port Discovery has been developing a range of programs specifically for children with disabilities since 1998. Through a partnership with Kennedy Krieger, the PACT: Helping Children with Special Needs initiative provides therapy to preschool aged children with disabilities and their families using the various Port Discovery exhibits.
Another program specifically designed for children with disabilities is Discovery Days. These events occur four days throughout the year and attendance is limited to a smaller number, enabling children with disabilities to freely access the museum without large crowds present. During these events community organizations are invited to come and share resources with parents, educators, and providers. In addition, one of the four days is specifically designed for children with autism during which the museum limits the use of lights and ambient noises. In the future, the Museum is hoping to relaunch this program with a possible new name and increasing the number of program dates from four to eight days per year, scheduling one per month from October to May.
The Museum is also in the midst of redesigning its Sensation Station exhibit to become the hub for the Museum’s programs for children with disabilities and in future planning, will run programs for children with disabilities and their families in this space. For more information about access/ABILITY and other programming please visit Port Discovery’s website at www.portdiscovery.org or contact Jennifer Sparks, Community Enrichment and Development Liaison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-727-8120.