Iowa APSE’s Legislative Efforts!
Happy National Disability Employment Awareness Month from Iowa APSE! Iowa APSE continues to be a leader in Iowa’s Employment 1st initiative and recently wrapped up our Annual Conference highlighting national experts in disability policy. The conference has geared up Iowan’s to be active in this next legislative session to continue to advocate for Employment 1st. This year Iowa APSE is advocating and educating on the Iowa’s Employment Services Redesign Workgroup that is pushing for rate realignment, new definitions that align with CMS recommendations and certification for staff.
Iowa’s Employment Services Redesign Workgroup is made up of a variety of stakeholders including providers, parents, advocates and community members. This group of stakeholders worked collaboratively with the intention to leave no job seeker behind and to create a reimbursement structure for Iowa that values competitive integrated employment. Currently there is not a balance in Iowa’s funding for employment; a disproportionate amount of funding is designated for segregated facility based employment. Current figures that have been shared detail that 80% of funding goes to segregated facility based employment and 20% of funding for supported employment. Iowa APSE continues to advocate for the state to move forward with the recommendations of the workgroup, in fear that it will halt the momentum of Iowa’s Employment 1st initiatives if not moved on.
Additionally, Iowa APSE continues to be the leader of training in the state of Iowa offering ACRE certified training for Employment Specialists twice a year and the CESP certification at our state conference. To continue in the spirit of NDEAM, Iowa APSE features success stories on our website at www.iowa-apse.org. Iowa APSE also commends the Iowa DD Council and IDAction for taking the lead with Take Your Legislator to Work, assisting self-advocates in connecting with their legislator. Additionally, the Iowa DD Council website features a new employment video every week of October is celebrating NDEAM – http://www.idaction.org/videos/
In just a few months Iowa APSE will host its annual Iowa APSE Day at the Capitol connecting with legislators to share the impact of their efforts and to continue the momentum of Iowa’s Employment 1st initiative. Together we can make a collective impact.
-Ashlea Lantz, Iowa APSE President