The RFWiA / RSA Board of Directors has reviewed and voted to endorse the Employment First bill being sponsored by Representative Edming.  The goal of the bill is to prioritize competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities as the desired outcome while also "ensuring the self-determination and informed choice of the individual."  Rep. Edming's office has listened graciously to representatives of RFW and modified language to strengthen and protect a full array of service options.  RFW joins a number of other prominent organizations in endorsing the bill including Goodwill SEW, Easterseals, Bethesda, Headwaters, Black River Industries, Special Olympics of Wisconsin, The Survival Coalition, and the Wisconsin Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition.  To read the bill click here.  To read the letters of support click here.

A few key provisions of the bill:

No Rule Can Limit Choice
(6)  The department of workforce development, the department of health
services, and the department of public instruction may each promulgate rules to implement this section.  A department may not promulgate rules in implementing this section that limits access to or choice of allowable services, including prevocational services provided in accordance with 42 CFR parts 440 and 441, in the family care program under ss. 46.2805 to 46.2895, the Family Care Partnership program, and the self-directed services option, as defined in s. 46.2899 (1).

This Law Doesn't Limit Choice
(7)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit access to or choice of
allowable services, including prevocational services provided in accordance with 42 CFR parts 440 and 441, in the family care program under ss. 46.2805 to 46.2895, the Family Care Partnership program, and the self-directed services option, as defined in s. 46.2899 (1).

A Study Looking at Outcomes
(1)  By the date the department of health services makes its initial report under section 47.05 (4) (b) of the statutes, the department of health services shall submit a report to the governor and the chief clerk of each house of the legislature for distribution to the appropriate standing committees under section 13.172 (3) of the statutes on the feasibility, including a cost estimate, of conducting an independent study regarding the impact that the Employment First initiative under section 47.05 of the statutes and the corresponding prioritization of competitive integrated employment has had on the expansion or reduction in access to allowable services, the quality of life, levels of community integration, and overall satisfaction of persons
with disabilities in this state.

To view RFWiA’s letter of support click here.

 

Workers / 30-year-old partnership play vital roles in public safety, tourism, quality of life

During a visit to Rest Area 10 near Mauston today, Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch recognized workers associated with the state’s 30-year-old Rest Area Maintenance (RAM) program. Since 1987, the RAM program has provided employment opportunities to workers with disabilities who enhance public safety and the state’s tourism industry by handling maintenance duties at Wisconsin’s 30 rest areas and 13 Safety and Weight Enforcement Facilities(SWEFs). Earlier this year, Governor Scott Walker issued an official commendation of the RAM program anniversary.

“Today, we celebrate a unique state and local partnership that for 30 years has benefitted travelers, workers and taxpayers,” Lt. Governor Kleefisch said. “Wisconsin’s rest areas accommodate some 17 million travelers each year and have a well-deserved reputation for cleanliness. Behind each rest area is a dedicated team of workers and supervisors whose year-round efforts provide travelers a safe and convenient place to stretch and relax.”

Along with overseeing the State Highway System, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) operates rest areas and SWEFs. To handle daily maintenance duties at these facilities, WisDOT has a long-standing partnership with 23 community vocational rehabilitation programs across the state that provide job opportunities to about 350 workers with disabilities. Rehabilitation for Wisconsin oversees the state’s Rest Area Maintenance Program.

 

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Opportunities Inc., which has provided social and employment services for people of diverse abilities for the past five decades, celebrated its 50th anniversary Friday with a ceremony and luncheon at the Jefferson County Fair Park.

Keynoting the event was Wisconsin’s Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. On top of talking about the importance of Opportunities and programs like it, Kleefisch presented the nonprofit agency with a proclamation from Gov. Scott Walker honoring Opportunities’ contributions during the past half-century.

The gathering also marked National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month, with the message of inclusion driving innovation. The national campaign aims to raise awareness of how employing people with disabilities/various abilities can be a win-win for both industry and the individual employees.

Barb LeDuc, president and CEO of Opportunities, welcomed attendees and recognized those who helped to establish Opportunities five decades ago. Among those in the audience were Susie Waterman, a member of the Opportunities team and the daughter of one of the mothers who founded what was then a “sheltered workplace” 50 years ago.

Also present was Spence Jensen, longtime former CEO of Opportunities, who played a key role in the organization’s growth and success and, though retired, continues to support its mission. In addition, several past and present board members for Opportunities were on hand.

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Full Article Here

 

It's a "brand" new day at Riverfront, Inc.! Today we revealed a new brand, new name and new identity.

Riverfront Inc. will be switching to the new name of Aptiv in December.

Aptiv — a positive blend of the words aptitude, active, live and adaptive — is a created word, drawn from the ideas of natural ability, adaptability, energy, engagement, and exciting and fulfilling life. It's catchy, simple and concise. Aptiv is also unique.

The name Aptiv was developed because of the work we do every day provides people with disabilities the opportunity to:

· Showcase their aptitude for learning new skills
· Better-engage and play a more-active role in their community
· Live a more-meaningful and fulfilling life
· Find adaptive options that help them succeed in their goals.

The purpose of this new brand, new name and new identity is to better reflect that we serve people, that we are a vibrant organization with diverse services, and that we are able to serve a diverse group of people — youth ages 3-18 and adults — with any type of disability.

The new brand strategy focuses Aptiv’s service offerings under the three areas of live, learn and work.

aptiv

ab 146 signing

This week Governor Walker signed into law a bill, AB 146, allowing dental hygienists to provide services outside of dental offices in order that underserved populations have access to basic preventative dental care. These individuals may reside in long-term care, skilled nursing facilities and community based residential facilities (CBRFs). Dental hygienists are also able to provide care in hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, adult day care centers, prisons and non-profit dental programs. This is a wonderful bill that passed unanimously with bi-partisan support and the support of leading health organizations.

Please see Representative Bernier’s press release on her website.