My Work My Choice – Thank You

To all of those involved with the “My Work My Choice” campaign: We want to thank everyone–government representatives, workshop representatives & staffing, parents, families, friends and especially the special needs individuals for all of the hard work that went into going to Harrisburg and keeping our sheltered workshop programs going. We could not be more proud of the people involved from across all of Pennsylvania who supported this cause for those who needed their voices to be heard! People listened and changes are being made!

Important Meetings Regarding ODP

We need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. With that in mind, the Westmoreland County Blind Association will be hosting meetings on February 8th to determine what action is needed to have the Commonwealth revise their “Proposed Changes” for individuals with an intellectual disability.

What will be discussed?

  • Update information on several large Organizations joining our group to provide assistance.
  • Updated information will be provided on the potential of a hearing in Harrisburg.
  • Review the outcome of meetings held with ODP and a SELECT few Providers.
  • Provide contact information from other Providers, family members, advocacy groups, etc. throughout the Commonwealth, in order to build a stronger network.
  • Determine dates for a RALLY in Harrisburg.

As you are all aware, it is getting to CRUNCH TIME!!! Our voices are definitely being heard and we cannot stop until there is a change.

Who should attend?

  • Providers
  • Families/Caregivers
  • Consumers
  • Politicians

*We are arranging for conference calling for those of you that are unable to attend in person.

Times: 9:30 a.m. or 6:00 p.m.

Location: 911 South Main Street, Greensburg PA 15601

Please RSVP Tim Miller or Deann Wallbaum at 724-837-1250 or at tmiller@wcbainpa.org.

Action Needed – My Work, My Choice

PLEASE take time to comment on Proposed Changes that the Commonwealth is planning to make on individuals with an intellectual disability.

These changes will eliminate an individual’s CHOICE on where they want to work.  

The deadline to comment is January 17, 2017.  

Here is the information that you can use to comment on these changes.  

As a concerned resident of the Commonwealth, I would like to take this opportunity to Comment on Appendices A through H of the Consolidated and Person/Family Directed Support Waiver Renewals, effective July 1, 2017 (PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 16-2086).  My comment will specifically focus on Appendix C pertaining to the service known as “Community Participation”. 

I firmly believe that ALL individuals with developmental disabilities should have a CHOICE to achieve greater independence and opportunity in their lives.  As you are well aware, this is also the mission of the Office of Developmental Programs.  The most important piece of this statement is CHOICE.  I do not agree with limitations placed on ones CHOICE in Appendix C pertaining to Community Participation.

The following limitations placed on attendance in Vocational or Adult Training Facility settings take away ones CHOICE.  

  • From 1/1/18 to 6/30/18, a participant may not receive Community Participation Support services in a licensed Adult Training Facility or a licensed Vocational Facility for more than 75 percent of his or her support time, on average, per week.
  • From 7/1/18 to 12/31/18, a participant may not receive Community Participation Support services in a licensed Adult Training Facility or a licensed Vocational Facility for more than 50 percent of his or her support time, on average, per week.
  • Starting 1/1/19, a participant may not receive Community Participation Support services in a licensed Adult Training Facility or a licensed Vocational Facility for more than 25 percent of his or her support time, on average, per week.

The amount of time an individual wants to attend Vocational or Adult Training Facility settings should be the CHOICE of each individual and should not be mandated.

Please contact Governor Tom Wolf at Office of the Governor, 508 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120 or call 717-787-2500 or fax 717-772-8284.

You may also email your comment to RA-odpcomment@pa.gov

If you want to get more involved, contact Tim Miller at tmiller@wcbainpa.org or at 724-837-1250, ext. 16 

A-Team Pennsylvania

We hosted our first meeting of A-Team Pennsylvania yesterday at WCBA in Greensburg. More than 25 staff members from a dozen pre-vocational providers came together to form this new mission for disabled workers. Vincent M. Loose, President & CEO of UniqueSource, was our guest speaker. See the A-Team Photo Album for additional event coverage.

Here is a little more information on the initiative:

MY WORK. MY CHOICE.
A-TeamGoal: Promote people with diverse abilities experiencing the dignity of work in a full array of employment settings.

Mission: Ignite the passion and energy of persons with diverse abilities and their families…
-to advocate in a grassroots efforts.
-create awareness in the community.
-advise those who care for our citizens with special needs to ensure service choices are protected and sustained.

We are looking for serious volunteers who would like to join the A-Team to ignite the passion and energy of persons with diverse abilities along with their families to ensure that service choices are protected and sustained. Please contact the Westmoreland County Blind Association at 724-837-1250 to learn more.

Our A-Team/Pennsylvania campaign will continue in preparation for our “Embrace the Abilities Day” in Harrisburg on October 17th and 18th. Many of our intellectually and developmentally challenged individuals, family members, staff members, and providers from numerous pre-vocational organizations throughout the state will be traveling in support of this cause. Actual stories and videos will be shared with legislators and the Wolf Administration during this meeting. For more information, please visit A-Team Pennsylvania or this website.

WCBA Charity Event for Orlando Tragedy Victims

In light of the recent tragedy in Orlando, Florida our Adult Training Facility individuals have requested to hold a Bake Sale/Lunch with all proceeds being donated to the victims and families. This charity event will be held on Friday, June 24th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Westmoreland County Blind Association parking lot at 911 South Main Street, Greensburg, PA.

These uniquely special individuals with their staff members diligently work so hard on baking products to sell such as pepperoni rolls, cookies, breads, fudge as well as hot dogs and haluski. Their biggest excitement and fulfillment comes from knowing that they are helping underprivileged or less fortunate individuals. Please consider joining us for this event to partner with some of the most selfless and amazing individuals.

The Adult Training Facility, which was started in 2008, is where individuals (20-60 years old) with intellectual disabilities work with a dedicated team to learn a variety of skills essential to everyday living. The WCBA offers the ATF consumer educational experiences, social development, daily living and survival skills, as well as vocational and prevocational training. Our consumers learn personal hygiene; basic household skills like cooking and laundry; social and community awareness through frequent field trips and participating in charitable work.

Proposed Work Innovations Opportunity Act (WIOA) Regulations

We have a few concerns about the proposed Work Innovations Opportunity Act (WIOA) regulations. The expanded qualifications issued to the definition of ‘competitive integrated employment’ may negatively impact the WCBA’s efforts and the individuals we work with who have intellectual disabilities.

Please consider voicing your concerns! You can download the sample letter then find the contact info for your local representative using this link, Find Your Representative.

WIOALetter