Members Present: Bryan Dallas (Chair), Kristy Giacomini, Patika Hackleman, LaDonna Henson, Rahnee Patrick, Consuelo Puente, Shelly Richardson, Melynda McKeever, Alyson Slaughter, Connie Heinz, Dr. Bruce Himelstein, Michael Predmore, and Kari Wright.
Members Absent: Matthew Fred, Matthew Hillen, Matthew Rosenberg, Homer Bizzle, Makenzie Hayden and Prerak Mehta.
DHS/DRS Staff: Francisco Alvarado, Administrator of Operations; Lizette Tripur, Acting ABC Region 3 and Supervisor - Peoria Field Office; Matt Abrahamson, Staff Liaison; and Tania Morawiec, Office of the Secretary - Special Projects.
Guests: Dorothy Reddic
Bryan Dallas welcomed everyone, noted a quorum was present and called meeting to order.
Motion: Henson made a motion to approve agenda for the January 5, 2018 meeting. Dr. Himelstein seconded and the motion carried.
Motion: Patrick made a motion to approve the minutes from the July 14, 2017 meeting. McKeever seconded and the motion carried.
Director's Report - Quinetta Wade, Director (Report given by Francisco Alvarado, Administrator of Operations)
Director Wade's husband recently passed and stated receiving numerous e-mails and cards from the SRC. She appreciates everyone.
- Director Wade will join full meeting February 9 and provide written report to council.
- She noted that DRS is focusing on filling vacancies. Encourages the SRC to give Lou Hamer the information of those interested in counseling positions. She will update us more in February.
- Wade states wanting to increase outcomes and will develop new referral sources and applications.
- She added working on WIGS to gain more outcomes.
Q: Health and wellness coordinator positions have been posted for 2 weeks for contract positions. Can we help move these processes along?
A: Francisco states he can speak to the hiring process - need to complete a CMS100 and secure a passing grade. He states to raise this question to the director. Working with HR and DRS to stream line for hiring processes.
Q: We will have number and access codes on our website for the public to attend meetings. Who do we contact if we want to post information on the website?
A: Send information to Matt Abrahamson to update website. Minutes have been posted however need call in information and potentially any future needs.
Q: Can we look into meetings at hotels with restaurants due to those without vehicles?
A: Will do so, and will book next meeting in a couple weeks.
Executive - (Dallas)
- Dallas states he will work with DRS staff on reports.
- Explains DRS staff attended Strategic Planning Session and their attendance was beneficial.
- Continues to revise WIGS. Current goal - Increase employment outcomes by 12%.
- Dallas continues to work on proposal to attend the National coilition of State Rehabilitation Councils (NCSRC) and Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) spring conferences.
State Plan - (McKeever)
- WIG assigned to committee will help develop new business relationships.
- State is looking at State Plan and their status on action items.
- McKeever mentions 1 year to complete State Plan and does not want to rush last minute.
Action Item: Committee members will be proactive in taking steps early, to complete State Plan before deadline.
Q: 36 new business referrals? And what do the individual council members need to do to help?
A: Nothing at this point. Need to schedule training. SRC will become more educated with future training.
Q: Does each SRC member need to come up with 2 to 5 business referrals?
A: Yes. 5 may be overwhelming May re-approach the amount at a later time.
Q: What is the 2 day training?
A: Talks about what to look at for a business and cultivate business relationships. Determine their needs and what it means to them. It presents on how to train and help with the communication side and build solid relationships.
Q: Do you know if they work with Delta Airlines at all?
A: It's not on the list. Delta should be included and everyone will receive the list.
Operations - (Dallas)
- Dallas states SRC needs to have a larger presence on social media. SRC started posting FB posts and tweeting.
- Mid December Facebook account has 3000 followers. LinkedIn has 1000 followers.
- 1 Facebook post went out this month regarding how to apply.
- Dallas met with those in charge of communication at DHS to hook into their already existing followers list.
- Dallas reaches out to SRC to ask about an appropriate amount of posts on social media. Once a week too much? It was pointed out that there needs to be numerous posts due to Facebook algorithms. Will lose spots on Facebook if we only post occasionally. Trying to add video content and pictures assists with visibility.
Action Item: Encourages SRC members to friend IDHS on Facebook to help move initiative forward.
Q: Can we translate some of this in Spanish?
A: Yes. Will communicate with IDHS to determine how to make this available in other languages.
Policy/Legislation - (Patrick/Rosenberg)
- In the process of finalizing WIG.
- Patrick points out that the policies within DRS that impact counselors internally need to be worked on.
- Large goal to increase employment outcomes and work with legislation to achieve.
- Will speak with General Assembly in April during session to raise awareness of SRC ideas.
Stakeholder - (Henson)
- Henson states the goal is to help increase DRS program applications from 14,000 in FY 17 to 16,800 by 6/30/2018.
- Stakeholder committee are working on increasing the number of schools per month, where all 504 students will be informed of services available within DRS.
- Stakeholder committee continues to work on developing additional lead measures and score card to identify the number of students opened with DRS since July 2017, from Application to Plan status.
Action Item: Update score card monthly to show progress.
- Henson states continuing to follow along with the VR Quick Reference Guide, being piloted in three locations Downers Grove, Springfield, and East Alton-River Bend field offices. Information pending on evaluation of outcomes piloted.
- Continue to analyze the information received in the two customer surveys, provider agency and employee surveys. Will work with DRS to prioritize areas for service improvement.
- Subcommittees working on previous established goals of improving office/counselor accountability and strengthening partnerships with all stakeholders identified during the Strategic Plan meeting.
- The Strengthening Partnerships subcommittee met and created some goals and measures for this goal. Subcommittee are working to determine by region the status of DRS outreach activities.
Action Item: The ABCs of the 5 regions will ask supervisors to provide information about outreach activities by office to include type of events, the partners or stakeholders involved, and frequency of events. Information is to be sent to Francisco to be incorporated in a spreadsheet and shared with the SRC. Information will be updated monthly.
Q: Quick reference guide on the pilot?
A: Trying to evaluate what to ask and to determine multiple choice answers. Should have a full report in February. Pilots not done, but never established a deadline. Survey's/evaluations will go out next week. Francisco states the pilot may be extended. Trying to create consistency through the entire agency in Illinois to provide for consumers.
Member Recruitment - (Rosenberg)
- Rosenberg was unable to attend meeting though sends a message stating there is nothing to report at this time.
- Every category is fully staffed.
- 1st terms expire July 1, 2018 - Council members include: Kristy Giacomini, Melynda McKeever, and Prerak Mehta.
Updates from other Councils
Blind Services Planning Council (BSPC) - (Slaughter)
- Slaughter shared the council has a Books in Braille Committee with 32 consumers and open positions available.
- Consumer Council for the Blind started a braille league.
- National Federation of the Blind has a convention at the end of October. This group has more resources and the ability to do different things, i.e. Braille Readers for Leaders for Students.
- National Federation of the Blind, NFB, are taking applications for 2018 scholarships, internship programs - many apply for these positions.
- National Federation of the Blind, NFB, sponsor people from Illinois to go to their meetings. Nest meeting in April.
- Slaughter will go to D.C. at the end of January to see how their legislative week works.
Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) - (Richardson)
- Richardson explains the need for a good board candidate from Southern Illinois for State Wide Independent Living Council.
- SILC works in conjunction with Dr. Magozy.
- ACCESS Living of Metropolitan Chicago - Illinois lead received grant funding for those with disabilities.
- SILC attends town hall meetings and wants to share with council.
Action Item: SRC members will keep an eye open for referrals. Send name and contact information to Shelly Richardson.
New Business (Dallas)
- SRC to monitor hiring initiative. SRC has not monitored this in the past.
- Francisco explains CMS puts out an annual report from all state agencies in terms of all hiring.
Will put last report on agenda for February 9, meeting.
- First 6 month report under new reporting metrics on WIOA. Title 4 Vocational Rehabilitation program, has responsibility of collecting data. RSA provided data collecting system but has decided to not continue with system. Doug Morton sent first 6 months of collections. Council will receive data quarterly or every 6 months.
- Matt Abrahamson sent out PDF of Vocational Rehabilitation document. Sent amendments to appendix II of orientation manual training for members. In addition the online self training Modules of RSA are down and not sure if they can be revised and/or re-posted.
Action item: Let Dallas know if there is any new business or anything you want to add to agenda.
- Dorothy Reddic, customer of Dekalb DRS states the challenges she has faced as a customer of DRS.
- She discussed her mental state when not receiving the accommodations needed from DRS and wants to receive their policies to know where things went wrong.
- Dorothy expressed gratitude when Northern Illinois University was able to accommodate her needs.
Action item: Look into the services being provided to better assist with those needing accommodations.
Motion: Patrick made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Dr. Himelstein seconded and the motion carried.