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 

Lions Club Donation

Thanks to the 
District 14-E Lions Club (Westmoreland County) who recently donated a check to the Westmoreland County Blind Association in the amount of $3,240 for equipment needed in our Work Activity Center!

Our Shredding Department has many options to fit your document or hard drive destruction needs. Whether you are a large company, small business, or have your own personal documents, no job is too big or small! By selecting WCBA as your document destruction service, you will be supporting our employees with visual, intellectual and/or developmental disabilities to help maintain their independence and productivity.

For many, finding meaningful employment in today’s economic climate is difficult and have diminished employment opportunities in our community. It is through the kindness of our neighbors that the WCBA mission endures!

Volunteers Needed

We are in need of volunteers for answering telephones and/or stuffing envelopes for our direct mailing projects. The work would be performed during our business hours of 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Shifts are very flexible and based on your preferred days and times. Contact Rebecca Labuda, Human Resources Coordinator at 724-837-1250 ext 14 to learn more.

David Marks Honored with UniqueSource Achievement Award

On June 13 UniqueSource® Products & Services (UniqueSource) hosted an evening filled with inspiration during the Embrace the Abilities Dinner, which also served as the organization’s 60th Anniversary celebration. A highlight of the event was the recognition of 25 outstanding Pennsylvania workers who were honored with UniqueSource Achievement Awards for the exceptional character they demonstrate in living and coping with disabilities, particularly in the workplace. Congratulations to David Marks who was recently honorees!

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“This is a milestone year for UniqueSource,” said Vince Loose, the organization’s President & CEO. “For 60 years we have worked with nonprofit organizations across the Commonwealth to provide sustainable employment opportunities for Pennsylvanians with disabilities; and tonight, we have the privilege to honor several of those workers who inspire us every day through their strong work ethics, positive attitudes and exceptional performance. They remind us how important it is to embrace each other’s abilities.”

About the Award Winner
David Marks, from New Stanton, was recognized during the dinner, held at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, for not only his character, but also the personal fortitude, work ethic and abilities he exhibits while living and working with a disability.

Marks works as a shredding operator for Westmoreland County Blind Association. In addition to being one of the company’s top shredders, he also maneuvers and prepares pallets, helps to unload trucks with incoming documentation and removes hard drives from computer systems that are ready for destruction.

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.

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