Employment First Conference, Part III

Day 2 of the conference started with a keynote from David Hoff. David is the program director for the Institute for Community Inclusion.  Much like the previous days keynote this presentation was about letting everyone know the importance of employment for people with disabilities in the community.  I thought David told a great story of a job coach going to employer and not getting the individual employment.  David said he was that employer and at this point of his life , prior to working with people with disabilities, he knew nothing about this population.  He said if he was approached differently that he probably would have ended up hiring the individual with a disability.

The importance of that story is about education.  Those of us as “job coaches” need to do two things much better. The first is explain  to employers why they should hire your client, how that individual would improve their business. The second thing we have to do is educate them on what we bring to the table as a job coach. Most employers don’t have a clue. I think most employers would be willing to hire employees with disabilities. However, they just aren’t sure where to find them.  That is where we come in and can match them up with appropriate candidates.  Job coaches also need to explain to employers that we can give an appropriate level of support to our clients at their place of business at no extra cost to them.

When the keynote was over I headed over to a breakout session that detailed college programs that promote employment.  I was disappointed to find out that the closest program in the Cleveland area was at Kent State. It’s pretty discouraging that there isn’t any post secondary program in Cuyahoga county considering it has largest population of any county in the state.

Another aspect of this breakout session that I found disappointing was the program that was presented from my alma matter, The Ohio State University.  It was discussed about all the opportunities there are to learn skills regarding employment for those in the program. However, what I saw from the video that was shown is pretty remedial tasks that the participants in this program.  This is a big issue for people with disabilities.  Many times they are put into jobs that are beneath their education and intellectual level. Examples of this would being a bagger at a local grocery store or taking carts from a parking lot back into the store. Now there isn’t anything wrong with these jobs.  However, I  know several Autistic adults who have bachelors or masters degrees who do this type of work.  They certainly are capable of more and we really need to do a better helping them get work that their college degree says they are capable of doing.

The last breakout session of the day that I attended was regarding medicaid and medicaid buy-in. Considering I knew very little about this subject I thought this session was great because it really taught me a lot on these issues. Based on what I learned it sounds that many medicaid programs lack for a better term suck.  However, there is actually one medicaid program out there that is very beneficial to people with disabilities. This program is called Medicaid Buy-In for Workers with Disabilites (MBIWD). If you have a disability you must be employed to receive MBIWD. There are two great benefits of MBIWD. The first is that with other medicaid programs don’t allow you to have many resources. However MBIWD gives you the opportunity to be able to make more money, keep it, and still maintain medicaid on this program.  The second great benefit of MBIWD is say you don’t have a job but you go and cut someones lawn one time. Say they write you a check for $20. Well, you are eligible for this program! Therefore, encourage someone with a disability if they don’t have a job to do something at least one time to get paid for and they can receive medicaid. I feel that most don’t know about this program and as a result a lot fewer Autistic adults aren’t on medicaid that should be.

If you like this blog spread the word for others that you may think may like it as well. As always send any questions or comments to us at autismpersonalcoach@yahoo.com

 

 

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