Employment and Community Living

HDC Spotlight: Michael Curry

Michael Curry helps young adults with disabilities transition from high school into an independent life through the Human Development Center’s Postsecondary Apprenticeship for Youth, better known as the PAY Check program. Since joining the PAY Check team, Michael helped kick-start the first PAY Check program on the Northshore, which includes 4 young men from St. Paul’s high school.

Read more >

In Memory of Mark Martin

HDC is sad to share the news that Mark Steven Martin passed away on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. Mark devoted his entire career to serving individuals with disabilities.  He was committed to helping people with disabilities gain education, employment and the tools needed to reach their goals. For the final several years of his career, Mark served as Director of Louisiana Rehabilitation Services. The original notice can be found here.

Organize Your Finances and Disability Expenses

April is Financial Literacy Month and ABLEnow offers many helpful online resources to help you keep track of your personal finances. For example, ABLEnow offers an Expense Tracker to help you organize your Qualified Disability Expenses. With the Expense Tracker, you can:

  • add details such as dates, providers, and expense categories
  • upload receipts
  • enter expenses paid with cash
  • review expense totals

You can even download your Expense Tracker as a spreadsheet to print or save it for personal use.

Read more >

FCC Affordable Connectivity Program

The Federal Communications Commission offers an Affordable Connectivity Program to help ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare, and more. Discounts are up to $30 per household per month. Eligible households can purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from a participating provider if they contribute between $10 and $50 toward the purchase price.

Read more >

The PAY Check Program: A Pathway of Quality Services

The Human Development Center’s Post-Secondary Apprenticeship for Youth (PAY Check) provides transition services for young adults with disabilities by providing comprehensive pathways to quality employment.

Read more >

Making Mardi Gras More Accessible at Krewe of King Arthur

Dr. Rose Angelocci and her family on float at Krewe of King Arthur Mardi Gras Parade
Dr. Rose Angelocci and her family riding on float in Krewe of King Arthur

Being a member of the Krewe of King Arthur enables you to ride in one of the largest and most diverse Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. Since its beginning, the Krewe of King Arthur has been known for welcoming people of all backgrounds and ethnicities, including people with disabilities.

For people with disabilities, riding in a parade may not seem like an obvious way to participate in Mardi Gras as the crowds may be intimidating. However, Dr. Rose Angelocci, a Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC) at HDC, may change your mind. Dr. Angelocci, who is blind, has been riding in the Krewe of King Arthur since 2015 with her entire family. She was introduced to the Krewe by her friend Mary Leblanc, a long-time member and former Queen, who is visually impaired. Dr. Angelocci wants to spread the word to people with disabilities that riding in a parade can be considered a wonderful way to enjoy Mardi Gras. She points out that there are many other Mardi Gras Krewes that have riders with disabilities and the Krewe of King Arthur is just one example.

Read more >

Competitive Integrated Employment: Positive Outcomes for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

White man who appears to have Down syndrome working at computer

Positive outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who obtain Competitive Integrated Employment (CIE) were reported in a new research study (https://idd.vcurrtc.org/resources/content.cfm/1424 ) in the areas of economics, psychological health, and physical health. The research findings are summarized in the postcard below. Benefits were also identified in many other “quality of life” areas including self-determination, personal independence, autonomy and maladaptive behaviors.

* This summary and postcard are for general information and reference purposes. The original article is owned and copyright protected by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Citation: Taylor, J., Avellone, L., Brooke, V., Wehman, P., Inge, K., Schall, C., & Iwanaga, K. (2022). The impact of competitive integrated employment on economic, psychological, and physical health outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 1-12.

Learn more about this article and others by visiting the VCU-RRTC on Employment of Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities https://idd.vcurrtc.org/  

The VCU RRTC-IDD Journal Article Database catalogs journal articles on employment of people with disabilities. Each article has been reviewed and summarized by staff. The summaries are provided in order for you to determine if you would like to review the original research.

Competitive Integrated Employment Outcomes postcard (text at link)

HDC Spotlight: Ray Leger, BA, CWIC

Because October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), this spotlight has a special focus on employment. Visit the NDEAM homepage to learn how you can help build an inclusive workforce.

Donald “Ray” Leger has worked as a Certified Work Incentives Counselor (CWIC) for the Human Development Center’s Work Incentives Planning and Assistance project (funded by the Social Security Administration) since 2006.  Ray is passionate about being of service to others and has loved every minute of his role helping people understand how work affects their benefits. Today, he is Project Manager of the West South Central Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WSC WIPA) program.

Donald "Ray" Leger

Read more >

Free Webinar: Introduction to ABLE

ABLEnow Webinar

Registration is open for a free information session on Thursday, October 28, at 11 a.m. ET. This webinar will cover the advantages of ABLE accounts and the ABLEnow program.

NOTE: ABLEnow is the name of the ABLE account program administered by the Commonwealth of Virginia. The ABLE account program administered by the State of Louisiana is available here.

Discussions on the Future of Social Security

The Bipartisan Policy Center recently hosted a virtual panel discussion on Social Security’s Cost of Living Increase for 2022 and the Future of the Program. You can watch the recording here:

The Social Security Board of Trustees recently released its annual report on the program’s current and projected financial status, which clarified that while COVID-19 has not dramatically affected Social Security’s finances, its primary trust fund remains just over a decade away from depleting its reserves. Moreover, based on the Social Security Administration’s announcement of next year’s cost-of-living adjustment, beneficiaries will see one of the greatest increases in monthly benefits in nearly 40 years. These developments carry significant implications for how the program’s financing gap should be addressed, especially in the face of an economy and labor market still in recovery. This virtual panel discussion breaks down the key takeaways from the 2021 Trustees Report, the program’s cost-of-living adjustment for 2022, and what’s ahead for the future of Social Security.

Related to this discussion, find two attached documents: one from the National Association of County Behavioral Health & Development Disability Directors and the other from the Urban Institute. Both documents address significant and necessary reforms for the Supplemental Security Program that will reduce poverty.

Read more >