ICDD has funded two projects under its Competitive Pay and Meaningful Days Call for Investment! Congratulations to Anixter Center and Envision Unlimited! These will be 2-year projects with an investment of $189,040.
The purpose of this initiative is to improve the employment outcomes of people with Developmental Disabilities (DD) who are currently receiving subminimum wages by supporting providers to build, expand and sustain effective skills, capacity and competencies related to integrated employment, integrated meaningful day activities, and person-centered services. This initiative is also in response to the City of Chicago's minimum wage ordinance which accelerates minimum wage increase and removes the allowance of sub-minimum wage by 2021.
Aixter Center will:
- Anixter will support people with DD who desire to work in the community by providing a clear path to opportunity and removing barriers so that integrated employment can be achieved. The approach is to outreach to other agencies where sheltered work exists and offer to engage day program participants. As of September 2019, 634 people in Chicago work in sheltered worksites. These people are Anixter Centers' proposed target group to seek as customers with the goal of supporting 51 people with DD with obtaining competitive integrated employment. As a result, Anixter Center will:
- Increase the number of individuals with DD, including those with the most significant disabilities, who are employed in integrated community jobs that they choose paying at least minimum wage
- Increase the number of individuals with DD who meaningfully participate in their communities when not working; and pilot or implement and evaluate new ideas and approaches that can be replicated by other providers
- By targeting businesses to broaden Anixter's ability to support people with diverse needs, integrated job opportunities will increase, leading to more natural opportunities for people to engage with their community beyond work.
- This project plans three (3) phases that build on each other:
- Disability Hiring Model development and Identification: Anixter will create materials that can be used to facilitate conversations with Chicago-based business partners who express interest and investment in hiring people with DD
- Compiling a directory of businesses and corporations who have invested in disability hiring: Once guiding models are developed, a list of corporations who either want to engage in one of the models OR who already have a system in place to hire and retain people with disabilities is critical to highlight the existing opportunities
- Engaging with people from sheltered work sites to provide paths to integrated opportunities: Once a coordinated pool of opportunity is confirmed our activity will shirt from systems building to inviting people with DD to apply for those opportunities
- Anixter Center has created a network of partners. These partners are part of city agencies, private corporations, and associations that all express desire to promote and actualize the hiring of people with disabilities
Anixter Center's performance target is:
By September 30, 2022, 100 Chicago proper based businesses will be engaged to build the system for disability hiring and actualize the hiring of fifty-one (51) people with DD who receive deliberate support with obtaining competitive and integrated employment at minimum wage or higher.
Envision Unlimited will:
- Envision will eliminate their own subminimum wage program by the end of 2020 and increase the percentage of clients in their day programming that are in integrated community jobs over the next two (2) years.
- Envision will engage in employment training for staff and will make systemic changes to their practices that will ultimately lead to 124 clients obtaining competitive integrated employment by the end of the project period
- In order to achieve the goals of this project, Envision will use three (3) specific interventions:
- Obtaining technical assistance for all staff across departments. Seeking technical assistance for staff is a means to address the agency's limited capacity in the area of employment
- Ensure that clients have and are in possession of employment eligibility documents such as social security cards and government identification, and
- Dedicate staff to deliver job development services to clients. Envision will have their Job Developer work directly with the 64 clients in the 14(c) pillow factory so that those who desire may transition into higher paying work in the community
- Envision will track client job placement progress and retention for 30 days, 60 days, 6 months, and 1 year from their employment start date
- Envision will develop and issue a client survey that specifically asks about client satisfaction with respect to the employment services that are provided
- To evaluate their employment services, Envision will use the adapted Council on Quality Leadership's (CQL) Personal Outcome Measures to document choice and autonomy each client has in their life.
Envision Unlimited's performance target is:
By September 30, 2022, Envision Unlimited will eliminate their subminimum wage program and provide job development services to assist 124 clients in obtaining and retaining competitive integrated employment.