Just a little placeholder to let the world know that we are alive and kicking despite neglecting update of this website!
Working hard on a wide variety of efforts, including:
- Organizational study for Arlington County
- Work in support of the Housing and Supportive Services Consortium (HSS)
- Developed and delivered capture and proposal training for a national nonprofit agency
- Developed and delivered a website for Delta Consulting Group, will add it to my portfolio shortly
- Serving on the board of the Washington Metropolitan Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (WMCCAI)
- Continuing to serve as secretary of the Northern Virginia Joomla! Users Group, President of Talltree South and MapleTree Pool Associations
- Will have an article in Quorum Magazine and shortly, a video
- Supporting other web and proposal-related clients
- And much more. Helping others debug code and write stories!
The Virginia Housing and Supportive Services Consortium (HSS) is an inter-agency collaboration supporting planning for integrated community-based housing opportunities and supportive services for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (ID/DD). The HSS Consortium includes:
- Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS)
- Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD)
- Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS), and
- Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA).
On January 7, 2015, the HSS Consortium convened a meeting with regional and state-wide stakeholders to initiate collaborative planning, incuding the regions of Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and the Richmond metropolitan area. Additional regional meetings are planned, leading up to a Summit anticipated in May 2015 to achieve and sustain rapid results and increased options for housing and services choice for people with ID/DD.
Ursa Major Consulting is pleased to be supporting the HSS Consortium. We worked witth Catoctin Consulting, Rapid Results Institute, and TAC, Inc. in this effort, and are now continuing with the development of the Housing Resource Guide (2017).
We are pleased to announce that we are assisting Virginia Industries for the Blind (VIB) with their strategic planning effort.
VIB is is a division of the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI), and provides employment opportuniities for Virginians who are blind or visually impaired in two manufacturing plants, eleven base supply stores, and six service locations. They have diverse contracts with federal agencies through the AbilityOne Program (e.g., contract management and closeout services for the U. S. Army), contracts through State Agency agreements such as the Virginia Court Debt Collection Office, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Virginia Employment Commission, and manufacture items as diverse as mattresses for the U. S. Navy and state colleges and universities and reflective vests for the Virginia Department of Trnsportation.
Given the improvements in assistive technology and more ambitious expectations of young people who are blind and people who lose their sight after gaining work experience, VIB is exploring ways to attract workers who are looking for more than traditional product manufacturing. In fact, some of VIB's experienced contract closeout employees have already been hired by the government, which is quite a successful outcome for those people.
We look forward to helping VIB plan the modernization of its business to meet the evolving needs of people who are blind or vision impaired.
We are pleased to announce that we are assisting Goodwill Industries of South Florida in implementation of new case management software. Goodwill is dedicated to providing rehabilitation, on-the-job training, work experience, and placement services to help people with disabilities and special needs overcome barriers to employment and become employed in the community. Goodwill of South Florida is one of the largest Goodwills in the country and serves a diverse population.
The anticipated benefits from this change include:
- Streamlined processes
- Reduced redundant work
- Better data and improved ability to access data on clients, programs, and services provided, both for daily operations and for strategic decisions
- Better insights into outcomes achieved, and
- Improved and easier reporting.
With Catoctin Consulting, we will assist Goodwill with the change process, from requirement validation and planning onward. We look forward to working closely with them to make this effort a success!
A major passion of ours is advocacy for employment and other opportunities for people with disabilities. For example:
- Disability employment research. We have experience conducing research related to the employment of people with severe disabilities. We have analyzed Social Security, census, and other employment data on incentives and barriers to work and have written policy papers for the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel.
- Policy and program improvements. We understand disability employment programs and the barriers faced by people with disabilities who want to work, yet are afraid of losing their benefits, supports, and healthcare. We have planned and facilitated meetings focused on legislative advocacy.
- Enabling Voices for Change. We planned and facilitated the first ever Beneficiary Summit for Social Security disability beneficiaries from every state and territory of the U.S. We facilitated a series of in-person and teleconference planning meetings with a committee of Federal staff and beneficiaries, designing and developing background white papers and read-ahead materials, designing agendas, coordinating conference calls to prepare participants. In this three day summit, we facilitated six concurrent session tracks and out-briefs to the full group. We developed a report of summit results that was presented to the President, Congress, and the Commissioner of SSA. The final report, "Voices for Change: Beneficiaries Paving the Way to Work, A Roadmap to Program Improvement", is available here: Beneficiary Summit Report with Photos.
- Nonprofit funding mechanisms. We are familiar with the challenges faced by nonprofit organizations in identifying, capturing, and applying funding streams to support their programs and implement practices that result in a quality work environment. We researched and compiled sources of funding including Federal, state / local, and private / foundation funding that could potentially be available to fund employment supports and services for people with disabilities.
- Quality Work Environment (QWE). We supported development of a clearinghouse of good practices for a quality work environment for people with disabilities, and supported development of the QWE Implementation Plan and the QWE Guidebook for the AbilityOne Program.
- Information systems. We have worked with nonprofit organizations across the country to develop requirements for and support development of the Employee Research System (ERS), to provide employee-level data on outcomes for employment of people with disabilities, and are now supporting system deployment.
- Collaborative websites. We developed the website for the Institute for Economic Empowerment, a research institute focused on employment of people with disabilities, and the website for the Alliance for Full Participation, a partnership of leading developmental disabilities organizations.
Contact us to learn more.
On February 6 and 7, 2007, Voices for Change: Beneficiaries Paving the Way to Work, a summit planned by and for Social Security disability beneficiaries, was conducted in Atlanta, Georgia by the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel (Panel).We worked hard on making this Summit happen, and the resulting report, Voices for Change: Beneficiaries Paving the Way to Work captured the views of the participants who hailed from every state and territory of the United States.
Unfortunately, that report and the other reports of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel are no longer available on the Social Security Administration's website. Does that mean the recommendations have been addressed? Do beneficiaries have greater input into these programs? Not that I know of.
Read the report again!