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Registration will get you access to all 6 sessions. The link to each session will be sent the day of the session.

Session Schedule

Tuesday, October 13, 12-1 p.m.

We’re Still Here: Blended Customized Employment Services During Covid-19
Kristy Howe and Pabalelo (Pabs) Tshane, Dungarvin
The pandemic may be overshadowing everything in our state but many Minnesotans with disabilities are still looking to find employment. Fortunately, there are a lot of companies that are also hiring. The difficulty lies in the space between the two: how do you provide optimum employment services when trying to limit the risks of face-to-face contact and when many potential job seekers, and team members, have serious anxieties about jumping into the workforce? Join program directors  Kristy Howe and Pabalelo Tshane (Dungarvin, MN) as they share strategies for successfully and safely delivering employment services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thursday, October 15, 12-1 p.m.

DEED and DHS State Agency Partnership Advancing Employment First
Amanda Jensen-Stahl, MN DEED, Ryan Merz and Tony Gantenbein, MN DHS

Join the Minnesota Departments of Human Services and Employment and Economic Development to hear about state efforts to align employment services and advance Minnesota’s Employment First Policy. This session will provide a general update on collaborative efforts between the agencies and specifically address implementation of interagency agreements and employment service provider alignment efforts.

Tuesday, October 20, 12-1 p.m.

Unmasking Technological Barriers and Remote Access for People with a Hearing Loss
Wendy DeVore, Career Ventures, Inc., and Christine Marble, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Unit

The onset of COVID-19 has changed the landscape of how service delivery is conducted for all people served as well as providers in the employment support services industry. People with a hearing loss face additional communication barriers and challenging listening environments, both out on worksites as well as with providers when accessing support services remotely. One of the main coronavirus prevention techniques is to have people wearing masks. This makes speechreading an impossibility.

This presentation will identify some barriers and challenges that people who are Hard-of-Hearing, Deaf, or DeafBlind (HH/D/DB), face on a daily basis in this new “COVID environment”. We will address how providers can make their remote services more accessible, specifically focusing on exploring various possible approaches and uses of technology that is currently being used with people who are HH/D/DB. We will also review some current technology trends that are being utilized by, and with, people who have a hearing loss. Additionally, we will examine accessibility features embedded in some of the technology. Lastly, we will address how employment services could look differently depending on if you are working with a job seeker who is ‘culturally Deaf’ versus working with a person who primarily communicates using spoken language.

Thursday, October 22, 12-1 p.m.

It’s Not You, It’s Me: Breaking Up with Outdated Beliefs Using the Social Model & Disability Rights
Alli Strong-Martin, Lifeworks

Drastic changes in society’s approach to people with disabilities throughout the last two centuries are paralleled by evolving theoretical ‘models’ of how society thinks about disability. The charity model pities disabled people as needing to be helped, and the medical model focuses on what is ‘wrong’ with the individual; disabled people must be diagnosed or “cured.” The most recent models of conceptualizing disability include the social model, which focuses instead, on what is ‘wrong’ with society and investigates barriers to full community inclusion, whereas the human rights model insists that people with disabilities have equal rights as non-disabled people, and that governments must ensure policies are in place to guarantee those rights. The ways in which we as professionals and our organizations (intentionally or unintentionally) reflect these models strongly influence the philosophies behind the delivery of the work we do. In this session, we will discuss how to incorporate the human rights and social models into our work as self-advocates, family members, and employment first professionals, and how we can learn from the disability rights movement and the social model to inform the future work of supporting employment first.

Tuesday, October 27, 12-1 p.m.

Using Discovery Tools to Better Engage Families
Sean Roy, TransCen, Inc.

Employment providers are beginning to recognize the valuable role families can play as partners in employment success for individuals with disabilities. However, those providers may not know how to engage so high expectations and self-determination are maintained, and competitive employment is the common goal. This session will discuss how employment professionals, VR Counselors, and educators can use common job development tools such as the Positive Personal Profile and the Workplace Supports Plan to help families see their sons or daughters (of any age) in a new light and be partners in the process. The structured family interview will be introduced as a strategy to build relationships, set expectations, provide quality assessment information and to establish ways families can be involved in the process.

Thursday, October 29, 12-1 p.m.

Unlocking Potential: Removing Barriers to Disability Leadership
Ashley Oolman, Lifeworks, and Ajani Lewis McGee, Allianz

Led by two Black folks who identify as neurodivergent and living with a disability, this session will lead participants through an interactive discussion on how to address leadership barriers within their organization. Many service providers are learning the power of an inclusive culture, though often disability status is overlooked as a component of diversity. As a result, employees with disabilities are underrepresented, especially in leadership roles within organizations who provide services to people with disabilities. Come to explore key focus areas your organization can improve to create space for inclusive leadership and career progression for disabled employees.

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