Community Partner Update: July 2006

Important Resource Restored

We are happy to announce that Southern Illinois University, Evaluation and Developmental Center (EDC) at Carbondale will resume offering the residential component of their independent living training program. Effective Saturday, August 12, 2006, the residential service will be offered 8 months (2 semesters) of the year, August to December and January to May. Counselors are encouraged to continue referrals to the program.

EDC is able to restart the service because DHS/DRS has restored their funding to the FY 2006 level and a few select services such as Drivers Education Evaluation, Psychological Evaluations and some transportation will be authorized from local office budgets. Specific information regarding authorization for those services will be coming soon.

EDC staff are pleased to continue the service that our customers and their families as well as our counselors have found so valuable and DRS is also very pleased to continue to have this fine resource available

Workforce Investment Act Update

The Reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act passed the Senate unexpectedly late last week. It must still be reconciled with the bill which passed the House months ago. Possible conferees include Congresspersons Judy Biggert and Danny Davis from Illinois. As the Senate version is analyzed, we will share this information through the Illinois Rehabilitation Association network.

Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill

The appropriations bill which includes funding for the state-federal Vocational Rehabilitation program was marked up in committee a couple of weeks ago. The good news is that this bill includes a 4.3% cost of living increase for VR. Advocacy organizations are pushing for an additional $258 million to pay for transition requirements mandated by IDEA and the restoration of the migrant grants, supported employment, and projects with industry [which were eliminated in the Bush Administration Budget]. Stay tuned!

DHS Disability Hiring Liaison

DHS recently got the go-ahead from the Governor's Office to hire an important position within the Office of Human Resources (OHR). The disability hiring liaison will help qualified applicants with disabilities negotiate the sometimes difficult state hiring labyrinth. They will educate stakeholders about the reasonable accommodation process and the Successful Disability (SD) Option. They will maintain lists of qualified applicants with disabilities in different job titles. The position will answer directly to the OHR Director; interviews are currently being scheduled for this important position.

Community Rehabilitation Program Procedures Manual/Phase II SEP Training

DHS/DRS invites you to attend upcoming trainings held from July 6 through September 26. These trainings are designed for staff from DHS/DRS and our community partners. Our Facility Advisory Committee worked with DHS/DRS to update the Community Rehabilitation Program Procedures Manual and recommended we conduct a combined training to give staff the opportunity to participate in training together. We accepted this recommendation and also added the Supported Employment Phase II Training.

Staff who interact with DHS/DRS are encouraged to attend one of the sessions as this training will inform them of the rules DHS/DRS uses when working with community partners and customers.

Pre-registration is requested as several sites have limited room. To register for this training, please contact Judy Robinson at You can also contact Judy at 815/223-7758 (V/TTY). Please make sure to let her know if you need reasonable accommodations. The training schedule is provided below:

  • July 6, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - Country Inn, Libertyville (capacity 50); Host: Marie Nelson, Associate Director of Employment Services, Lambs Farm. Country Inn, right at the entrance to Lambs Farm which is located on Rt. 176 just East of I-94. There is a North-bound exit at 176 but not a South-bound exit.
  • July 12, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - Ray Graham Association (capacity 50); Host: Kim Zoeller, RGA, Corporate Office Location, 2801 Finley Road, First Floor Training Center, Downers Grove
  • July 18, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - IMPACT (capacity 50); Host: Alton CIL, 2735 E. Broadway, Alton
  • July 19, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - Mt. Vernon One-Stop (capacity 50); Host: DHS/DRS, 333 N. Potomac Blvd, Mt. Vernon
  • July 20, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - SIU Evaluation & Developmental Center (capacity 35); Host: DHS/DHS, 500-C Lewis Lane, Carbondale
  • July 26, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - Cornerstone Services (capacity 40); Host: Don Hespall, Cornerstone Services, 777B Joyce Rd, Joliet
  • August 15, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - Champaign One-Stop (capacity 50); Host: DHS/DRS, 1307 N. Mattis Ave, Large Conference Room, Champaign
  • August 16, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - Bloomington CIL (capacity 50); Host: Living Independence for Everyone (LIFCIL), 2201 Eastland Dr., Suite #1, Bloomington
  • August 22, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - Anixter Center (capacity 75); Host: Helene Levine, Anixter Center, Polk Center, 2302 N. Clybourn Ave, Chicago
  • August 23, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind (capacity 50); Host: Greg Polman, Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, 1850 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago. The Lighthouse has a cafeteria and will serve a paid lunch if they know how many want to eat there. When you confirm your reservation, please let us know if you want to eat in the cafeteria.
  • August 29, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - Transitions of Western Illinois (capacity 100); Host: Jolene Kiser, Transitions, 631 N. 48th St., Quincy
  • August 30, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - Peoria One-Stop, DHS Conference Room (capacity 50); Host: Lizette Tripur, DHS/DRS, 2301 Northeast Adams, Peoria
  • August 31, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - Pioneer Center (capacity 50); Host: Pioneer Center, 3941 Dayton Street, Resource Room, McHenry
  • September 14, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - NICIL (capacity 40); Host: Kathy Fisher, NICIL, 229 First Ave, #2, Rock Falls
  • September 15, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - Stones Hayes CIL (capacity 50); Host: Stone Hayes CIL, 39 N. Prairie St, Galesburg
  • September 19, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - Soyland Access for Independent Living (capacity 50); Host: Jerry Wooters, SAIL, 2449 Federal Drive, Decatur
  • September 20, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - DHS/DRS, Suter Room (capacity 50); Host: DHS/DRS, 400 W. Lawrence Ave, Third Floor, Springfield
  • September 21, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - The Center for Sight and Hearing (capacity 50); Host: Bill McCoy, The Center for Sight & Hearing, 8038 MacIntosh Lane, Rockford
  • September 26, 2006 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.) - Thresholds (capacity 50); Host: Jay Forman, Thresholds, 4101 N. Ravenswood, Chicago

Customer Success Story 

We want to share this success story because it highlights the power of a true partnership between our DRS staff, the Living Independence for Everyone Center for Independent Living (LIFE CIL), Livingston Manor and Futures Unlimited. This story also showcases the tremendous impact of our Community Reintegration program. Our thanks to Sherry Benjamin, Rehab Counselor with our Bloomington Office, who wrote this great success story:

"Chris was at work one cold January morning in 2001. While at work in the parts department of a car dealership in Livingston County, Chris passed out. The next thing he knew he was being airlifted to the Specialty Unit at a nearby hospital for a serious surgery to remove a brain tumor. After several weeks in the hospital, he was sent to his parents' home to recover but new medical problems developed. He began having seizures. The seizures came at all times of day and night and he could not be left alone. His parents both worked and did not have time or resources available to stay at home with Chris. Just one short week after his 28th birthday, the difficult decision was made to put their son into a nursing facility where he could receive 24-hour supervision. Chris stayed in the facility for nine months while he continued to recover from the seizure disorder. These nine months were very tough for Chris and even though his medical condition improved it was mentally debilitating. He thought he was going to be stuck there forever. This is a heavy life sentence to bear at age 28.

The medical bills had built up and become disastrous. Chris had no money to put toward leaving the facility, even though medically he was doing much better. His life completely changed the day he found out that there was help available. Community Reintegration Program was explained to him by the Social Worker at the nursing facility along with a LIFE-CIL representative. He learned that he could get an apartment, the first month' s rent and deposit, assistance with food, furniture, kitchen appliances, and cleaning supplies. This new apartment also came with the services of a Personal Assistant (PA) who would help with his Activities of Daily Living since he would no longer have that care from the nursing facility. Luckily that PA would be his mom.

Well, needless to say this lit the spark of life right back into this young man. 'This has given me more independence, freedom and future than imaginable. It has opened an unbelievable amount of doors'. Chris wants to further his education in computer repair and is currently looking into classes at Heartland College. He is not staying idle in the meantime as he works part-time and is doing volunteer work. "