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This summer is a prime opportunity to sharpen your skills and deepen your knowledge about what it takes to build and sustain inclusive communities where citizens with disabilities can thrive. Big changes are on the horizon for the Employment First movement, and a relatively slower pace at the office means more time to learn about the landscape. Whether you’re just starting out, or have logged years in the Employment First community, staying informed makes you a better advocate.

APSE makes it easy for you to deepen your expertise, we have gathered additional materials and resources to help you reach your professional development goals – whether you’re an individual with a disability, a family member, a support provider or an employer. For example, this summer we’re excited to open enrollment for our From Workshops to Workplaces: Achieving the Goals of Employment First eLearning course. The course is an excellent resource for businesses or organizations making the transition to an integrated services model. Below we’ve compiled resources based on your needs. Many are free, and others are available at discounted rates for members.

For Everyone

These resources are the perfect starting point for anyone in the Employment First community. Especially if you’re new to the world of Employment First, but even if you need to brush up on the history and context of our movement, we recommend these webinars for everyone.

The Employment First series, our classic introductory webinar covers the history and context of the Employment First initiative, and how it fits into the goals of people with disabilities and their families. This webinar is FREE, and it offers the context you need to be an excellent advocate for Employment First. Listen to the webinar here. (Note: You may need to download Flash to hear the webinar).

Success Stories: What is Possible in the World of Employment First?  Is a free webinar exploring best practices from around the country in rural, urban, and suburban settings. The webinar discusses the experiences of service providers, researchers, policy makers, and people with disabilities in programs serving a wide range of disabilities. Listen to the webinar here.

For Individuals with Disabilities, Parents & Families

Once you understand the Employment First landscape, you can delve deeper with materials aimed at individuals with disabilities and their families. These materials will help you become your own best advocate in securing the resources and supports you need to build meaningful, integrated employment opportunities for yourself or your family members.

Understanding ABLE. This webinar, available at a discount to APSE members, explores the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE). Signed by President Obama in December 2014, the Act has been hailed as the most significant piece of legislation for the disability community since the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The ABLE Act amends the tax code to allow states to offer tax-exempt savings accounts to qualified individuals without jeopardizing their eligibility for means-tested public benefits. Click here for more information about the webinar and an order form to obtain access.

Crucial Components of Effective Transition Program: 10 (actually 17!) “Things” Every Transition Program Should Have Recording is an excellent resource for students with disabilities and their parents, providing information on how to evaluate programs and services based on whether those programs adhere to 17 evidence-based predictors of post-graduation successful transition to integrated employment. Click here for more information about the webinar and an order form to obtain access.

Employment Support Professionals

These webinars are geared toward support professionals helping to create meaningful employment programs for those with disabilities.

Developing a Meaningful Day. This webinar, available at discounted rates for members, discusses funding and regulations for community-based supports. The course focuses on helping people with disabilities achieve active, full, and respected lives as valued members of their community through Person-Centered Planning. Self-directed supports are discussed in the context of Person-Centered Planning success stories, including how Community Living Services, a large service agency in Michigan, has paired Person-Centered Planning with individual budgets in a Medicaid-funded environment.  Click here for more information about the webinar, and an order form to access it

Employers Don’t Bite!…Really. This webinar highlights the basic philosophy and foundation of the rapidly growing Development model. The Corporate Development model emphasizes the creation of units that will provide a variety of disability focused services to businesses. The vision of the Corporate Development model is to foster a “one company” approach to serving business customers through a team that specializes in employer development, business consulting and corporate relations.

Certified Employment Support Professional Informational Webinar. Finally, if you’ve ever considered becoming a Certified Employment Support Professional, this summer is the time to take the leap. APSE’s national CESP accreditation program is a standardized, rigorous assessment program that allows service providers to demonstrate core competency in the array of skill areas necessary to assist individuals in integrated employment settings. Our free webinar offers information on the benefits of CESP certification and how to get started.

Already a CESP? Don’t forget about continuing education! You can access information on continuing education and recertification here.

Businesses, Organizations & Employers

From Workshops to Workplaces: Achieving the Goals of Employment First. This comprehensive resource is designed to help guide your organizational transformation from a segregated service delivery model to integrated and community-based employment services. The course provides clear steps for successfully managing different aspects of the shift, including funding strategies, staff and board development, and employer outreach. The time to access this rich resource is now: Enrollment is only open for a brief period this summer. Learn more and sign up here.

We also recommend Crucial Components of Effective Transition Program: 10 (actually 17!) “Things” Every Transition Program Should Have for support professionals. This resource offers an overview of the 17 indicators of post-school success for students with intellectual disabilities, and advice on how to evaluate transition programs for those indicators. Click here for an order form.

It’s easy to fill up summer days with all the fun the season has to offer. This summer, we also encourage you to use those longer days to take advantage of the professional development opportunities APSE has created just for you. Happy learning!