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We always knew APSE members were amazing, but now we have the data to back it up. Last month we sent you a membership survey. We were overwhelmed by the positive feedback we received from over 400 members. We feel so fortunate to have such a passionate and engaged membership base. Thank you.

Since you took the time to share such useful information with us, we wanted to let you know what we are doing with it and how your opinion will shape the APSE of the future. There is so much that we could say, but what follows is more of a snapshot.

What you said:

  • You read the content we send you and find the information useful, but you have some input you’d like us to consider.
  • You want us to condense, combine, and optimize email newsletters.
  • You want to hear more membership success stories, including information about what organizational changes led to positive results.
  • You want more resources to help your organizations achieve the Employment First vision.
  • You want more control over the messages that you receive from APSE, so that you can choose what is most relevant to you.

Changes we’re making:

  • Email format and content updated: All of our email newsletters will be getting facelifts in the short term and redesigns in the longer term to make them more readable, more concise, and easier to scan for information that’s relevant to you. Although this is a processthat will take some time, you may have already noticed that we’ve made some small changes to the look of emails.
  • More news about policy changes: “Practice and Policy” and “APSE News Alerts” will continue to bring you news about important changes to national policy regarding employment issues. But we will add in more local news topics too, especially news about what types of local policies have been successful in members’ communities.
  • Changes to APSE event promotion: Rather than continuing to send out a separate monthly email about all APSE events (“APSE Happenings”), we’ll promote events in other email communications and on social media. This will make it easier for you to figure out which events you want to attend and add them to your calendar.
  • In depth articles about member success stories: We’ll feature members who have found meaningful employment in their communities, as well as employers who are great allies in the Employment First cause. These won’t be feel-good stories all about “patting ourselves on the back;” they will be honest, genuine, and rich with tips for how your organization can implement changes that have real-world results.
  • New membership submission page: We’re in the process of developing a submission page for the website and social media where users will be able to easily submit stories, as well as make other suggestions for APSE. Many of you indicated in the survey that you have personal stories that you would be happy to share. We are very excited about our new membership spotlight!
  • Notes from the executive director: The executive director will provide insights into the internal workings of APSE. Our goal is to be as transparent as possible. We want you to know about all of the hard work that goes into running this association. We want you to know that we are with you in the trenches fighting to make employment of people with disabilities a commonplace rather than fodder for inspirational stories.
  • New membership database giving you more control: We are testing out and in the process of choosing a new membership database that will allow you to opt-in to receive certain types of communications from APSE. This database will give us more flexibility in categorizing members and allow us to provide you with information that is directly relevant to the work you do.

At APSE, we are constantly looking for new ways to get the word out about Employment First and other issues surrounding career paths for people with disabilities. Your participation is an indispensible part of our efforts. As we continue to build our membership and stand firm in our cause, we hope you’ll continue to stand with us. If you know others who may want to join APSE, please send them to our membership page.

Want to get more involved with APSE?
There was one other finding of note from the survey that we wanted to mention. We were surprised to find that many of our members report that they have never volunteered with APSE. Volunteering with your state’s APSE Chapter is one of the best ways to advance the cause that we all care so deeply about. Does your state not have an APSE Chapter? Why not volunteer to start one? We would love to see an APSE Chapter in every state.

Also, keep in mind that registration is open for our 2016 Regional Institute, “From Workshops to Workplaces: Achieving the Goal of Employment First” (October 31-November 2 in Sacramento, CA). This conference will provide you with practical ideas and innovative strategies to ignite and motivate continued systems-change efforts. All members, non-members, and advocates are invited to attend!

If you have any questions about our survey, the results, or APSE more generally, please contact us. APSE truly belongs to members like you. We really appreciate your patience as we work to make APSE the best and most comprehensive national organization advancing the Employment First cause.