The Road to Success
The Rehabilitation Services Bureau
In July the Iowa City Area Office had their report out for the Quality Assurance Process.† One of the discussion items was the office performance on quality indicators related to cultural diversity.† An employee reminded us that there are many factors that influence a person and mentioned concerns about working for a specific employer due to the contracts the Federal government awarded them to support the war efforts.† While we were talking about cultural diversity at the time and that was our focus, I thought more about her comments later and realized that in my focusing so narrowly upon cultural diversity I failed to realize the point I think she was making.†
Human diversity is a broad area with many content subjects imbedded within it.† Each individual is influenced by human diversity and his or her response to the differences among us.† In rehabilitation those individual differences have a great impact upon an individual’s success or failure.† Recently while attending a meeting in which we were discussing human diversity and the importance of encouraging a student’s connectivity to school and community I was reminded of the disservice we make when we focus so narrowly upon only one aspect of the human condition.†
During this meeting a gentleman representing cultural diversity announced to the group that there was no such thing as a deaf culture and that the importance of disability was only relevant according to the culture within which the person lived.† While I was at first astounded at his boldness to proclaim that only ethnic or racial cultural backgrounds should be considered as the totality of human diversity, I was angered by his seemingly total lack of understanding that negating diversity of all levels besides one’s own agenda does nothing to further the cause of enhancing a sense of contribution and value on the part of all people.† After unsuccessful attempts to advocate for disability as an element in human diversity with this gentleman I simply and matter of factly told him he “was wrong” and there was plenty of research on various topics I could provide to him if necessary.† Ultimately the group did focus on all diversity, but this experience caused me to pause.†
After the interaction with this gentleman I thought about the conversation with the Iowa City Office.† That employee was right and I didn’t really understand what it was she was explaining.† We must consider all of the diversity that enriches our communities.† If we focus only narrowly on one aspect, we may miss the critical point that contributes to the success of our clientele.† While as an organization we are compelled to track our performance on the 2.1 standard against which RSA measures our success, we must not lose sight of the fact that diversity encompasses so much more than the cultural backgrounds.† Indeed, if we consider all aspects of human diversity (race, ethnicity, disability, age, creed, religion, etc.) we then have elevated our organization to what it espouses to become.† An organization dedicated to individualized services with respect and consideration given to all persons regardless of their background.† It is not in ignoring the various conditions of our human experience that validates us as humans, but it is in embracing human diversity and all subsets therein that elevates us as a dignified, ethical organization and community.
you to the
is continuing to progress with the assistance of various staff and
classifications from the Rehabilitation Services Bureau and the Administrative
Services Bureau.† As of Monday, September
12th, the Eligibility module was approved by IVRS and submitted to
Quilogy for development.† Daily teams
meet to work through the modules on Authorizations, Application, and Case
Management, and each team member was given little or no notice of the meeting
and yet they pleasantly responded. †Next
week a team of Counselors, one Supervisor, and one Rehabilitation Assistant
will join the RSB Chief in working through the detailed components of Plan
Development.† The schedule for IRSS has
escalated resulting in RSB being asked to make all IRSS activities a priority
just behind client service delivery.†
Consequently staff arranged their schedules to spend an entire week in
As you know there is plenty of work to do without the IRSS project.† And yet these staff cleared their calendars so that the vital work could be accomplished and IRSS could move forward.† RSB owes a debt of gratitude to these individuals who volunteered to participate so that IRSS would become a reality.† IVRS also appreciates that Quilogy has realized the need to provide notice to RSB so that staff can adjust their schedules so that a variety of staff can participate in the process.† Consequently IVRS still plans on seeing IRSS being implemented in early 2006.
Value of IVRS Partnership
By Connie Ehlers
Vocational Rehabilitation Services proudly shares highlights from the first
year of the Improving Transition Outcomes local demonstrations in
Hawarden, Counselor Randy Van Zee partnered with
Without VR participation countless youth would be ill prepared for the world of work. Communities would suffer from the resulting decrease in civic participation and an increase in public assistance. A remedy is dissemination of accurate information about VR services spread via the schools, youth, families, team partners and more! Just as an “ounce of prevention” is said to be “worth a pound of cure” strategic community participation by VR yields tremendous benefits for youth with disabilities preparing to transition to post-secondary education and/or the world of work.
First Year Progress
The three communities received funds to implement strategies and activities developed by local partners specifically for improving transition outcomes for youth with disabilities through the use of intermediaries. Intermediaries facilitate local partnerships and relationships essential to connecting youth to services, opportunities and supports for a successful transition to post-secondary education and/or the world of work.
Hawarden has successfully:
C.A.S.E. curriculum based on
2. Opened the “Falcon Joe” coffee shop to provide entrepreneurial experience for youth
3. Secured businesses for classroom presentations, job shadows and work experiences†
Grant funding was the spark that ignited community efforts. A year later it is imperative that the fire remains lit despite the probability of low fuel. Sustainability must be independent of grant funding. Determining the cost per youth and the overall community impact will be essential to marketing these interventions to other stakeholders in the community and securing ownership.
with recognizing their successes and acknowledging that they have learned
several lessons during the past year, communities also have challenges.
strengths of one community appear to be potential resources for another. The
collaboration that exists within the community teams now needs to extend to
other teams across the state.† Only by
communities sharing “how we did it” with other communities will the State of