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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, December 07, 2017 9:15 am

Verbatim: Easterseals Arc Adds Extended Services to Help People with Disabilities Succeed at Work

The following was released on Thurs. Dec. 7, 2017 by Easter Seals Arc of Northeast Indiana: 


Fort Wayne, Ind.— Beginning in January, Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana will offer Extended Services and Workplace Assistance to people with disabilities who are employed in the community. The Indiana Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services has approved the additions to the list of Medicaid waiver services provided by Easterseals Arc.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in helping individuals with disabilities prepare for and find jobs in the community, but some situations require more follow-up support than others,” said Thomas Summerville, vice president of employment and community supports. “These new services will allow us to provide additional support to individuals we have placed in area jobs as well as those who have found jobs on their own.”

As a Vocational Rehabilitation Services provider, Easterseals Arc assists people with disabilities as they prepare for, obtain, and retain employment in the community. However, individuals may need follow-up support that is not covered by Vocational Rehabilitation. Also, Vocational Rehabilitation’s Order of Selection policy prioritizes serving individuals with the most significant disabilities. Individuals with less severe disabilities who find jobs on their own or with other assistance may require additional support to successfully retain those jobs. Easterseals Arc’s Extended Services will fulfill those needs.

“Area employers have found that people with disabilities are an overlooked talent pool, but sometimes the employer just doesn’t have the expertise or resources to give someone the little bit of extra training or support they need to really thrive,” Summerville explained. “This is where we can step in with Extended Services to help the individual succeed and save the employer the time and cost of hiring someone new.”

To qualify for Extended Services, an individual must be employed in a community-based, competitive job that pays at or above minimum wage and have Medicaid waiver funding. The services include activities such as:

  • Training for the individual and/or the employer or co-workers to increase workplace inclusion
  • Job-related safety training
  • Job-related self-advocacy training
  • Reinforcement of work-related personal care and social skills
  • Training on use of public transportation or acquisition of appropriate transportation
  • Facilitating (but not funding) driver’s education training
  • Coaching on job-related tasks

Workplace Assistance provides a range of personal care services and supports during community employment hours. The services are designed to ensure the health and safety of the individual, therefore helping them retain employment. Examples of Workplace Assistance include help with meals, hygiene, and medication administration.

“Successful community employment is a win for everyone,” Summerville said. “Individuals gain the independence, confidence and self-esteem that come along with a paycheck, while employers gain dedicated employees.”