Uncertainty is a dominant theme as we begin 2017.
It’s hard to predict what public policy shifts will result from major political changes at the national level. This holds true in many state and local jurisdictions as well. Legislative and regulatory challenges seem inevitable.
Whatever difficulties confront the integrated employment community, one thing will remain steadfast throughout 2017 and beyond:
APSE will continue as a forceful advocate for Employment First initiatives and the rights and needs of citizens with disabilities in the workplace.
Last month, we celebrated our accomplishments for 2016–a year of milestones for our association, membership, advocates, and partners. Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get inspired by APSE’s new initiatives to strengthen the inclusive employment movement. Consider these our new year’s resolutions:
Continue to improve educational opportunities. Our June national conference in Portland, OR, offers community leaders, businesses, and individuals with disabilities the opportunity to network with friends and colleagues from around the world. More than 100 breakout sessions led by national experts will present state-of-the art strategies for equitable employment. APSE aims to surpass our 2016 attendance record.
The Regional Institute–located this year in Atlanta, GA–will present practical workshops where disability service providers can fine-tune their business models to improve and expand their offerings. Session topics such as funding, hiring, and staff development will put new tools in the hands of providers so they can better serve their constituency. The content of many in-person sessions will also be available through an e-learning course.
Continue to expand the CESP certification program. APSE is proud to offer the first national certification program for employment support professionals. We more than doubled our certifications in 2016 and aim to build on that achievement in the new year.
Continue to enhance our communications capabilities. APSE launched a comprehensive rebranding effort last fall that we’ll unveil in 2017, including a redesigned website and new logo. We look forward to a fresh look, but the project goes much deeper than cosmetic changes. The goal is to create a clear message about what we stand for, convey how we advance the Employment First cause, and communicate more effectively with our members and the public. We’ll incorporate many suggestions from our members, including:
- A more concise, readable format for emails and other content.
- Member success stories.
- A new membership database that gives APSE members more control over which communications they receive. The aim is to deliver content that is more relevant to each member’s work.
Continue to seek out partnerships and collaborations with like-minded organizations. When we pool our resources, knowledge, and wisdom, we enrich members and constituents through expanded opportunities. The latest example is APSE members access to the DirectCourse College of Employment Services (CES) curriculum. The projects is a collaboration of APSE, Elsevier, and the University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center on Community Living. CES built the courses around APSE’s nationally recognized set of competencies.
Continue to provide more actionable updates and advocacy tools that help to amplify and multiply our message.
Uncertain times have strengthened our resolve. We will continue to advocate and educate until we complete our mission–employment and self-sufficiency for all people with disabilities.
Happy 2017 from APSE. Let’s make it another breakthrough year.