Hope’s New Employment, Media & Community Connections Program (EMCC) to Be Implemented Starting in 2016
Hope is moving forward on a phase out of our sheltered workshops, which isolated people with developmental disabilities from the community. Our new program, which will be community-based, is called the Employment, Media & Community Connections Program (EMCC). Download the EMCC-Brochure (pdf). 2016 will see the start of our first Work Activity Programs (Whittier and Gilroy) transitioning to the new EMCC Program. The EMCC will provide exciting opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to learn, socialize, and receive services and supports that will improve the quality of their lives and assist them to be valuable members of their community. Sheltered work environments will be replaced with training, classes, and work, both on-site and – most importantly — in the community. Person centered planning will be at the heart of each participant’s activities, beginning with an initial intake meeting to identify each individual’s strengths, interests, and support needs, and activity schedules tailored to each person’s personal goals. The EMCC program will have an improved staffing ratio of 1:8 on site, and 1:4 in the community.
Components of the EMCC Program:
Employment: Working and earning a paycheck are key ingredients that improve our participants’ quality of life. Participants will have opportunities to engage in job clubs and in opportunities that might lead to paid employment. Hope intends to utilize community groups to assist with job development, such as One Stop Career Centers, and the Leadership San Jose program offered through the San Jose Chamber of Commerce.
Media: Every individual will also benefit from training in technology and media as a means of connecting with their community. Participants will learn how to use a computer to access the web, read emails, or research community resources. Individuals may learn how to produce and edit videos. This model of utilizing media and technology has already proven to be highly successful in another Hope day program, resulting in improved quality of life through greater personal independence.
Community Connections: Participants will gain leadership skills as they serve and give back to their communities through volunteer activities. Seeing people with developmental disabilities contributing to their communities will have a positive impact on how the general community views individuals with disabilities. The program will also provide on-site classes that assist with community integration, tailored to the interests of the individuals, and will include personal advocacy training, utilizing a curriculum developed by individuals with intellectual disabilities. Classes such as art, Weight Watchers, and nutrition will be taught by community enrichment teachers, and will be open to the public for a small fee.
Hope Services operates seven Work Activity Programs, serving clients in the San Jose, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Hollister, Gilroy, Salinas and Monterey areas. These Work Activity Programs have been in operation for about 40 years, with an average staff to client ratio of 1 to 20. Clients earn wages at these workshops based on their productivity level, typically below minimum wage.
Federal regulators have asked all states to eliminate non-integrated / secluded work and home settings, and for all providers to find community settings more in line with what one would expect to find in the community at large. Some programs in the United States have been forced to close due to their non-integrated nature.
Hope Services is working with the San Andreas Regional Center, local and national agencies, State licensing authorities, and internal staff to transition all Work Activity Programs to programs that offer more choices for our clients. Each client will have a program tailored to his/her needs through a person-centered planning approach. Clients will have the same choices for work activities as they have today, but they will also be given options for community-based activities, classroom teaching, and media-based learning. The chart on the next page shows the targeted activity profile for each client.
Staff to client ratios will be improved to 1 to 4 for community activities; the overall blended program will have a 1 to 8 staff to client ratio. The program will focus on quality of life improvements.
Studies have shown that learning is enhanced when media is involved. Clients will have the opportunity to produce short films, appear in short films, and/or learn from short films. Person Centered Planning will be used to determine the extent of each client’s involvement with media. Hope Services will be investing in technology which will improve each client’s access to modern tools for learning. This program will be funded through the state as well as private donations.
Q1: What if we do not want to be a part of this transition?
All of Hope Services’ Work Activity Programs will be transitioned to the new program. Each client/caregiver will have the choice to opt-in or opt-out of the new program; if you opt-out you may choose another Hope Services program or new provider with assistance from your SARC service coordinator.
Q2: What is the timing of the transition plan?
Each facility will be transitioned to the new program over the next two years, with no lapse in service during the transition. The transition timeline for each location will be communicated via our parent/caregiver meetings, postings on Hope’s website (www.hopeservices.org), individual meetings, and flyers mailed to your home. You may also contact your program manager. The San Jose and Gilroy locations will be the first sites to transition and should be completed early next year.
Q3: How will the classroom settings work?
Hope Services will be building small classrooms (for up to 8 people) at each location for training and media production. Classes will include topics such as leadership, safety, health & nutrition, social skills, how to be a good friend, and career planning.
Q4: Will all locations be the same?
Programs at each location will be different and will reflect the community settings that they serve. Day activities will focus on the local community and work activities will begin with the work that is currently at the site. Over time, the work activity will migrate to more community / integrated work.
Q5: What are the staffing ratios for the new program?
Staff to client ratios will improve dramatically and provide for improved focus on quality of life domains. The community portion of the program will have a staff to client ratio of 1 to 4 and the overall program ratio will be approximately 1 to 8. Hope Services will be adding about 20 new employees as well as a new specialty director and trainers to help train staff on use of new technology and software.
Q6: Will we have to go to a different location for the program?
While each location will undergo some modifications, all clients will continue to go to the same location to begin and end each day at the same times as always. Hope Services will provide transportation during the day activitieswhen needed.
Q7: How will media and technology be used?
One example of the media and technology use would be to document the client’s activities via a short film (5 minutes) to be played at the annual ISP meeting. Some of the short videos that client’s produce—as long as the appropriate permission to release has been given—will be posted on YouTube and made available on public TV. Videos may include advocacy efforts (such as interviewing local Senators), nutrition (featuring products at local farmers markets), interviewing (for employment training), and safety training.
Q8: I worry about my family member’s safety; how will this be
This will be the programs’ highest priority. With an improved staff to client ratio, your family member will have improved supervision. While out in the community, our staff to client ratio of 1 to 4 has proven to be very manageable. All staff will complete mandatory safety training.
Q9: How can I support the program?
- Let your support staff know if you have special needs or suggestions.
- Help us identify community partners we can connect with.
- Volunteer to teach a class in an area in which you may have expertise.
- Make a donation to support the program financially.