EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
September 1, 2015
10:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.
100 W Randolph
5th Floor, Murdock Conf. Rm (5-300)
No location- will need to connect by phone
Present in person: Anna D'Ascenzo (IDES), Sarah Myerscough-Mueller (IDHS), Robin Jones
(Co-Chair), Melissa Picciola (Equip for Equality), Margaret Harkness (Illinois Council on
Developmental Disabilities), Dale Morrissey (Developmental Services Center), Kathy Carmody
(Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities), Doug Morton (IDHS), Rosanna Diaz,
Sharon Slover (The Menta Group), Elana Weinstein (Asian Human Services).
Present via phone: Crystal Caison (IDES), Caroline Alamillo (IDES), Thomas Frederick (Elm
City Center), Rene Luna (Access Living), Cyrus Winnett (IARF), Susan Fonfa (IHFS), Sue
Walter (Public), Bill Bogdan (SOS), Lynn Canfield (Champaign County Mental Health Board),
Melanie Fleenor (ISBE), Phil Milsk and Rooshey Hasan.
Robin Jones (RJ) discussed that on June 26, 2015, she sent a letter to the Governor's Office
(GO) asking for an extension to file their plan with the General Assembly (GA). Jones asked the
GO to have until December 31, 2015. Jones indicated is waiting to hear back from the GO on
her extension request. Jones indicated the extension was due to the large plan completed by
the taskforce as well as the people involved, and change of administration. RJ indicated she has
not received a response from the Governor's Office yet.
RJ discussed that in August 2015 she was invited by GO and asked to attend a meeting in
Springfield to discuss the taskforce. Jones could not go because she was giving a training and
could not send someone in her stead. Jones asked the members and others present if anyone
went to the meetings held that day in Springfield with the GO. A brief discussion about the
Sarah Myerscough-Mueller (SMM) discussed a meeting she had with representatives from the
GO regarding human service issues. She indicated that there were two representatives looking
at all aspects of the Employment First initiative. Rosanna Diaz (RD) suggested that data be
pulled together to support the Employment First Initiative. Sue Fonfa (SF) spoke about data
already being pulled together hoping it will show the benefits of the Employment First initiatives.
A discussion ensued about the State and Providers data sharing.
SMM also discussed two reports that were being worked on for Vision Quest Selection
recommendations. The two reports detailed one for mental health and the other for
developmental disabilities. SMM stated that once the reports are done the recommendations will
be shared and discussed before they go to the GO. SF suggested that costs needed to be
addressed in the recommendations and that it needs to be clear that costs are not increasing
but being moved around to be more efficient.
SMM updated the taskforce on provider transformation. SMM stated that there are 4 provider
agencies working on their strategic plans to endure consistency with Employment First. SMM
stated that the process is confidential until the plan is submitted at the end. SMM also discussed
capacity building like working on webinars for provider training, agencies, stakeholders to take.
Some topics of the webinars are job negotiation, funding, and other topics that will have a direct
RJ asked about archiving the webinars on-line so that more folks could watch them at a later
time so that the information being trained on would not be lost after the initial view. SMM said
that archiving the webinars could be done and discussed the value in doing so.
RJ asked about a website for EEOPWDT to see if members thought that would be beneficial.
SMM said DHS is working on an Employment First webpage also. There was a suggestion that
there be one webpage for both. RJ was against that saying that EEOPWDT covered others
areas besides employment and was more expansive than the Employment First initiative. RJ
said that the GO was working on creating the EEOPWDT webpage but that it was stopped after
the administration changed. RJ asked IDES if creating and maintaining a webpage was
something they could do. Anna D'Ascenzo indicated that it was something she would take back
to IDES and discuss.
Phil Milsk (PM) gave a legislative update and said that not much has been done since there is
no budget. However, he indicated that a bill passed that would require training for schools on
the PUNS list but that the bill said it was subject to appropriations so if there is no funding it
would not go anywhere. PM also discussed a bill that passed which would require charter
schools to be held to the same health standards as the public schools in some situations. For
instance, this bill would require charter schools to carry Epi-pens and inhalers.
Doug Morton (DM) and Melissa Picciola (MP) gave an Employment Workforce Systems update.
They are waiting for additional comments from members before they move the
recommendations forward. Also they discussed that there were a few meetings over the last few
months discussing the implications of WIOA.
A discussion regarding BEP and State Use Programs ensued. Suggestion to integrate persons
with disabilities to get commensurate wages was fine but fear that they would recommend cuts
the State programs without an alternate solution were discussed. MP stated that they would not
be recommending getting rid of the program but to just bring the payments up to the level it
needs to be. MP stated that the ideal was that the recommendations would be done by the end
of September so that they could meet their December 31, 2015, deadline.
RJ discussed the Provider workgroup because Theresa Garate was not present. RJ discussed
finding new leaders for that workgroup because the group has had problems getting started. It
was discussed that the workgroup has not met in months. Cyrus Winnett (CW) offered his
leadership for the group but RJ said she wanted to keep the leaders as members.
Anna D'Ascenzo gave administrative updates regarding folks who have not turned in their
Ethics certifications yet. Also discussed being subject to the Open Meetings Act and what that
Motion to adjourn was called by Margaret Harkness. Sharon Slover seconded that motion.
Meeting was adjourned.
Next meeting is November 19, 2015.