Rhode Island College, Office of College Communications and Marketing, News Release

RELEASE DATE:   Feb. 4, 2014


CONTACT:           Laura Hart, 401-456-8977, lhart@ric.edu

         Rebecca Keister, 401-456-4679, rkeister@ric.edu




PROVIDENCE, R.I., Feb. 4, 2014 – Rhode Island College and the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities will host a public forum, “The State of Employment for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: A National Perspective on Trends and Systems Change,” on Thursday, Feb. 13, 6:30-9 p.m. at Alger Hall, Room 110, Rhode Island College, 600 Mt. Pleasant Ave., Providence. Those wishing to attend the free forum are asked to register through the Sherlock Center website, www.sherlockcenter.org, by Tuesday, Feb. 11. 

The State of Employment forum represents the first in a series of collaborative forums and workshops this year designed to raise awareness of effective policies and practices in integrated employment and transition. 

Panelists for the Feb. 13th event include Executive Director for the Association of University Centers on Disabilities Andy Imparato, Dean and Research Professor at the School of Global Inclusion and Social Development William Kiernan, Director of Employment Systems Change for the Institute for Community Inclusion John Butterworth, Director of Employment Services for Berkshire County Arc Rick Hawes and Chief Operating Officer of WORK, Inc., Sharon Smith.

The U.S. Department of Labor defines “integrated employment” as jobs held by people with significant disabilities in a workplace where the majority of workers are not persons with disabilities. Individuals participating in integrated employment perform the same or similar work as those without disabilities, and as such, receive comparable wages.

Although employment and a meaningful life for adults with developmental disabilities have long been the goals of families, service providers and advocates, a January 6th letter of findings from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights has increased statewide focus on these issues.  The U.S. Department of Justice issued findings concluding that the State of Rhode Island violated Title II of the A.D.A. by unnecessarily segregating persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities through the use of particular sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs.

On Friday, Feb. 14, the Sherlock Center will host “Conversion: From Workshop to Integrated Employment,” from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Rhode Island College. The cost for the daylong workshop is $15. The featured speaker, Margaret Van Gelder of the Mass. Department of Developmental Service, will present “A Blueprint to Employment First: the Massachusetts Experience.”

Director of the Sherlock Center Anthony Antosh, Ed.D, stated, “It is important to examine policies and practices throughout the country that promote quality transition and integrated employment.  It is not only important to believe in these outcomes, but it is equally as important to implement practices that have been proven to be effective and that can be sustained over time.”

On Thursday, April 3, the public is invited to a free forum, “Employment: A New Day for Day Services,” from 7-9 p.m., at RIC. A workshop entitled “Make it WORK: Encouraging, Supporting and Managing Integrated Employment Services” follows on Friday, April 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Another forum, “Introduction to the Discovery Process and Customized, Community Employment,” is scheduled for Thursday evening, June 19, and a related, daylong workshop will follow on Friday, June 20.  Lastly, on Friday, Oct. 4, RIC and the Sherlock Center are hosting a daylong workshop, “Transition to a Self-Determined Life.”

Sponsors for the series include the R.I. Developmental Disabilities Network, the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities, the R.I. Developmental Disabilities Council, the R.I. Disability Law Center, the R.I. Parent Information Network, Rhode Island College, the Department of Human Services Office of Rehabilitative Services, the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island and R.I. Chapter of the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE).

Housed at Rhode Island College, the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities is the federal University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) for Rhode Island.