Assets and Neighbors
Fairfield DD is one of six statewide demonstration sites in the Ohio Microenterprise & Customized Employment Demonstration Project (MCED) chosen by the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission. In addition to Fairfield DD, the other demonstration sites include the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Linking Employment, Abilities & Potential (LEAP), Goodwill Industries of Northwest Ohio, Inc., Columbus Speech & Hearing Center, and the Burdman Group, Inc.
The program is a comprehensive effort combining resources from Griffin-Hammis Associates, LLC, and collaborators from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Virginia, Georgia and Minnesota. Here in Ohio, the program is capitalizing on the extensive network capabilities of Ohio APSE.
Now referred to as Assets and Neighbors, “this new program fits well as one of our many Innovation Initiatives,” said Superintendent John Pekar. “It provides the resources needed to enhance our customized employment and micro-enterprise efforts and provides additional funding streams and choices for the individuals we serve.”
The initiative is designed to develop, demonstrate and support the phased implementation of a financially, technically and programmatically viable approach to community employment of choice for Ohioans with disabilities. Specifically, this initiative will:
4. Provide vital statewide Immersion Training sessions on Discovery (assessment), Business Planning, and employment strategies for under-served groups (people with autism, psychiatric disabilities, TBI, sensory disabilities).
The Fairfield County Community Action Team has established the following purpose statements for the local effort:
4. To utilize flexible strategies and tactics that increase individualized employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities.
Three basic premises constitute the rationale for each main purpose. They are:
Bridges to Transitions
Bridges to Transition is designed to provide training and resources needed to ensure a successful transition from school to work for individuals with developmental disabilities ages 14-22. The goal is to provide independent customized employment opportunities for students at the time of graduation.
“The Discovery Process,” which is a process of learning what the student wants to do, their strengths, what jobs are available, areas to work on, how to dress for work/appropriate hygiene, how to interview for a job, job coaching, job development, and follow along services to help them keep their job once working.
Educating individuals families, and school districts about the training and employment options for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Developing a plan of employment that fits each individual's needs.
Monitoring the progress of each individual and ensuring that the plan fits his or her needs.
Providing education about the effects of employment on SSI/SSDI benefits and/or the Ohio Medicaid Card, if applicable.
Coordinating services with school districts in order for the individual to make an easy transition from school to work upon graduation.
Bridges to Transition is a partnership between the Fairfield, Hocking, & Perry County Boards of Developmental Disabilities,the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission (RSC), Ohio Association of County Boards (OACB), school districts, employers, students and their families.
Services are coordinated through The Employment Connection.
Business and Employment Incubator
Art & Clay on Main
Site houses arts and business incubator as well as the Blue Shoe Arts studio and gallery
The Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities purchase the business assets of Art & Clay on Main in 2010, a business that on Main Street in Lancaster that has housed the ceramics studio and gallery since 1999.
Fairfield DD operates the business as a creative arts and business "incubator" for individuals with disabilities, and also continues the retail ceramics operation and hopes to continue serving individual artists, groups and county schools with specialty art classes. In addition, Blue Shoe Arts Studio and Gallery, supported by Fairfield DD, moved into the space from its former location at the Opportunity Center on Coonpath Road in Carroll.
"We talked about finding space outside our Opportunity Center building so that Blue Shoe Arts could play a more active role in Lancaster and Fairfield County's vibrant arts and cultural community," said John Pekar, Superintendent of Fairfield DD. "With the purchase of Art & Clay on Main, we saw an opportunity to move into a turnkey situation and work with the former ownership to continue their good work, while at the same time expanding employment and social opportunities for individuals we support."
Art & Clay and FairfieldDD had partnered in the past. Blue Shoe Arts had exhibited work at the downtown space for a number of years, and had been the focus of Lancaster Festival ArtWalk shows in both 2008 and 2009. In addition, groups from both the Opportunity Center, which provides a day program for adults with disabilities, and Forest Rose School, both of which are operated by Fairfield DD, have worked on ceramic projects at the downtown business.
“This is a fantastic opportunity and I’m pleased that the mission of Art & Clay lives on,” said Becky Hajost, former owner who started the Art & Clay concept. “I’m also excited to be involved in a transition and advisory role as they work with the many downtown museums, as well as schools and churches throughout the community. I’m also excited that Art & Clay will continue to be part of the downtown landscape and become a lynchpin of future development as community leaders create a vision for what the downtown business district can become.”
Fairfield DD looks forward to the role that the Art & Clay and Blue Shoe collaboration can play in the city’s vision, as well.
"We're excited about the opportunity to have our artists become part of the downtown community," said Ray Schmidt, Adult Services Program Manger with Fairfield DD. "It's extremely valuable for us to have our artists interact with not only other artists but with the entire community."
In addition to serving as the new home for Blue Shoe, the business continues to offer classes and welcome both individuals and groups into the ceramics studio to work on projects, serving as "Lancaster's own INclusive arts OUTlet." The Board is currently discussing additional options, such as a small cafe, to occupy the space, as well as offering regular community social events.
"This is more about empowering people with disabilities to earn a better living and become “of” the community than anything else," said Pekar. "Blue Shoe Arts has been very successful, but we felt we needed to take the next step that would allow the artists to lead more fulfilling lives. In this model, they can take a more active role as part owners of the business."
The new concept operated by Fairfield DD does not have the same profit pressure as a traditional business. Its goal is to meet operating expenses.
"Our purpose here is to provide jobs and training for people with disabilities," said Pekar. "It's similar to our partnership to operate THE ZONE at Ohio University-Lancaster.
"Our goal is “social profit,” such as providing employment opportunities and community involvement, not just for the artists but for other individuals we support. This gives them the opportunity to become a part of the fabric of the community."
Beginning January 2012, Fairfield DD will begin a new initiative geared to developing community connections for individuals. This initiative will assist individuals to explore and develop social opportunities and establish connections with other members of the community, based on their interests and passions.
Community Connections is rooted in Fairfield DD's belief that:
A vibrant community offers many opportunities for all of its members.
Everyone has his or her own personal genius.
The sum of everyone's personal genius contributes to the vibrancy of the community.
People gather together to share their interests, passions, and desire for human connectedness.
Community Connections is a way for people, regardless of ability, to join with others to explore their interests and passions, to meet others who share a common link, to discover their personal genius, and to contribute to the vibrancy of the community.
We look forward to this exciting new venture, and invite you back to this page to follow the rollout of Community Connections!
Discovery in Customized Employment
Staff members from Fairfield DD have participated in extensive and ongoing training and are excellent at providing Customized Employment/Discovery as a an alternative method of finding employment for some individuals served.
Customized Employment refers to paid employment opportunities that are matched and negotiated to meet the job seeker’s needed conditions for success and an employer’s needs in ways that satisfies both parties. It is based on an individualized determination of an individual’s strengths, interests, preferences and accommodation and support needs. This individual determination is called the Discovery process.
The Discovery process uses a team approach to get to know the person beyond the public face presented. Team members participate in the many stages of discovery which include an initial family visit, a Discovery team meeting, interviews, and observations which result in a Positive Personal Profile which identifies vocation themes and opportunities to be pursued for the individual. The process also includes another team meeting called the Employment Planning Team Meeting where the Profile is shared and team members identify vocational themes and options that can be pursued.
The initial family visit in an opportunity to explain the Discovery/Customized Employment process to the family and to begin learning about the individual’s interests, chores completed in the home, community activities that the person participates in, friends and transportation options. The family identifies team members who are available to participate in the process who are then invited to the Discovery Team Meeting. An example of a completed Positive Personal Profile/Employment Planning Summary is shared with the family in order to familiarize them with the end result of the Discovery process.
A neighborhood observation is also conducted to identify potential social and vocational opportunities that may possibly match the interests of the individual that are close to home.
The Discovery Team meeting brings together team members to discuss the individual’s strengths, talents, interests, personality traits, habits/routines, activities, dislikes, and needed accommodations and supports. Team members are asked to conduct interviews with teachers, staff and/or other people who know the individual well, or to observe the individual in familiar and unfamiliar social and vocational environments. All information gathered is documented and begins to form the contents of the Positive Personal Profile.
Interviews that are conducted with staff and/or others help to identify the individual’s learning style and provide a baseline for understanding the individual’s employability skills. It verifies and expands on understanding the individual’s interests and accommodation and support needs.
Social observations are arranged and provide opportunities for team members to observe and note the individual’s connections with others, communication style, activities in which the individual participates, environmental conditions which are important to the individual, things to avoid or dislikes, and supports needed.
Vocational observations are arranged in employment opportunities that match the individual’s stated interests. They consist of one to three 2-3 hour job try-outs where the individual can partake in specific job tasks that are identified as those matching the skills of the individual. Notes are taken during those observations that capture information that indicate the motivation of the individual, skill levels, the quality of their performance in terms of pace, correctness, stamina, skill level and employability skills.
All information obtained during the many stages of Discovery are summarized in the Positive Personal Profile which summarized the individual’s interest and preferences.
Discovery also identifies the conditions necessary for successful employment based on the individual’s complexities and individual preferences. Conditions are features that need to be in place in order for the individual to be their best and to make the greatest contribution to the workplace. Conditions also include finding out the type of task supports needed, the time of day that works best, environmental characteristics of the worksite, flow of work/pace, and the length of the work shift. Discovery looks at what an individual does, how he/she does it, what works, what doesn’t work, and where he/she is most motivated. All of this information in captured into a Positive Personal Profile which ultimately assists a job developer and job coach in job placement and the provision of worksite supports.
The Customized Employment/Discovery process is ideal for individuals with complex challenges. It captures information in a positive way, yet identifies information about the accommodation and support needs of the individual in a way that enhances the individual’s chances of successful employment.
Though starting with Customized Employment, Fairfield DD plans in the future to extend the Discovery process to all individuals served. Fairfield DD plans to hire a new position, Discovery Coordinator, in the first quarter of 2012.
Fairfield Transition Collaborative
The Fairfield Transition Collaborative, a countywide partnership, was developed in 2008 in order to collaborate as partners in developing, sharing and disseminating resources and implementing quality transition services. Since its inception it has become a statewide model for the provision of information on transition services to students, their parents, and all community partners so they will be able to participate fully in transition planning. The Collaborative task force provides clarification of roles and responsibilities of the staffs of the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities, school districts, the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission, and other community agencies and advocacy groups.
The taskforce has two special projects to be completed by 2012:
- Based on the results of the LEA Needs Assessment (Bridges to Adulthood document), school districts, in collaboration with the State Support Team, Region 11 and local community partners, will develop and disseminate cross training materials and resources describing the service delivery system, available to students with developmental disabilities as they transition from secondary school to adulthood.
- To develop, conduct and analyze a needs assessment survey, targeting students, parents, and teachers who will identify needed post secondary supports (for both students and parents), materials and resources that are needed in order to assist students while in school.
Fairfield / Vinton Strategic Alliance
The Fairfield/Vinton Strategic Alliance was formalized in 2011 by the Fairfield and Vinton County Boards of Developmental Disabilities with the purpose of maintaining long-term sustainability of services and supports for persons with developmental disabilities in the two counties.
The Alliance is a collaboration of the two County Boards of Developmental Disabilities based upon common values and philosophies. The Boards have determined to share administrative and programmatic resources and actively build a foundation upon which they conduct business in the future. The Alliance strives for improved outcomes for individuals served via quality, uniformity, best practices, accessibility to resources, and cost savings.
The Alliance had its beginning in 2008 when the Superintendent of Vinton DD resigned. The Vinton Board asked the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities (OACBDD) to assist in determining its leadership strategy for the future. After work and planning with OACBDD, Vinton DD determined that it wished to explore the shared services concept, and Vinton DD asked Fairfield DD if it would agree to share the services of its Superintendent. Both Boards agreed to a trial period during which time they would share not only a Superintendent but also a Services and Supports Director as well.
This trial period lasted for three years, and when both Boards met jointly in the summer of 2011 they agreed that the demonstration was a success and moved to formally create the Fairfield/Vinton Strategic Alliance.
The foundation of the Alliance is the Memorandum of Understanding entered into by both Boards (click HERE to download the MOU). This MOU:
Demonstrates the commitment of the Boards to the Alliance going forward.
Assures each Board’s individual identity.
Calls for the development of cost allocation methodologies for shared services.
Addresses indemnity issues.
More than an attempt to find greater cost efficiencies, the Alliance also is working to elevate the quality of services and supports available to those it serves.
The benefits for Vinton DD were immediately obvious. In the first year of the demonstration, Vinton DD was able to shift 7% of its annual budget from administrative expense to direct services and supports while gaining additional service and support expertise. In addition, through the Alliance, Vinton DD has the ability to add human and technological resources it may have struggled to acquire alone.
The benefits for Fairfield DD, while less obvious, were nonetheless just as clear and more future-based.
For example, Fairfield DD has been planning for its future information technology needs, including the implementation of virtualization technology and electronic document imaging.
For example, Fairfield DD has been planning for its future information technology needs, including the implementation of virtualization technology and electronic document imaging. Through the Alliance, each Board will share future planning and implementation cost while allowing a seamless flow of information between the Boards, at a lower cost to each as opposed to “going it alone.”
In addition, since the Alliance was formalized, a third position, in program support, began to be shared by both partners. Vinton DD now shares part of the cost of this position that previously was borne 100% by Fairfield DD.
Debra Buccilla, Board President of Fairfield DD, stated “the formation of the Alliance has given us greater stability in our senior leadership, and provides us the opportunity to move toward the future with a partner that shares our philosophy and passion.”
John Timms, Board President of Vinton DD, said that the formation of the Alliance “has begun a cycle of continuous improvement for Vinton DD, provided additional tools and expertise we would have had difficulty getting on our own, and has shown the community that Vinton DD is committed to spending local tax dollars wisely. I believe it was one of the reasons that Vinton DD was successful in its request for a levy renewal in 2010.”
Alliance work in 2012 will include:
Analyze the processes and human resources in both programs to determine additional opportunities for sharing, employing an “opportunity driven” approach.
Focusing on unifying systems and streamlining processes to achieve greater cost efficiencies in both counties.
Maximizing information technology.
Assuring that no sharing arrangement detracts from the individual identity or uniqueness of either program.
The Fairfield/Vinton Strategic Alliance owes a debt of gratitude to the BHN Alliance, a collaborative sharing effort between the Belmont, Harrison, and Noble County Boards of Developmental Disabilities. The first sharing alliance formed between County Boards, the BHN Alliance provides invaluable insights and guidance to Fairfield DD and Vinton DD as we developed our strategic alliance.
Lancaster Sensory Trail
In 2008, a local, multi-agency group led by the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities envisioned a picturesque walking trail near Forest Rose School in Lancaster that was unlike any other.
It would be a trail that would have everything from life-size musical instruments to a boardwalk through a wetland to a wheelchair-accessible treehouse. The trail would not only be a fun place for the students at Forest Rose to spend their time, but the entire community could enjoy it as well.
On April 22, 2010, the multi-agency group celebrated the completion of the first phase of that project it helped envision in 2008, now known as the Lancaster Sensory Trail.
The project has been planned by a multi-agency group led primarily by the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities, the Fairfield County Soil and Water District,the U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service, the City of Lancaster, the Southeast Ohio Center for Independent Living, and Heart of Ohio RC & D. It’s been developed with in-kind and cash donations, including more than$24,000 from the 2008 and 2009 Run for the Rose 5K races.
In April 2008, 20 volunteers completed a stream side clean-up. The first "Run for the Rose 5k Race," sponsored by a community volunteer group, was held in June 2008 to help raise funds for the trail. In August 2008, the extension of the asphalt bike/walking trail was completed by the Lancaster Department of Transportation, Shelley Materials, Spires Paving, and Lancaster Parks and Recreation. In the fall of 2008, the design for the sensory area was completed by Fairfield SWCD and NRCS staff. The sensory area contains a large concrete pad and three paver patios which showcase specific sensory stations. The concrete pad contains four large outdoor musical instruments, which were installed in the fall of 2009. There is an overlook to Fetter’s Run Creek from one of the patios. Staff also designed and implemented drainage improvements with help from Lancaster Parks and Recreation staff. The Heart of Ohio RC&D Council has been instrumental in facilitating the project and organizing project members into working committees.
Patios were installed through the efforts of the Lancaster Lowes and Nessley’s Lawn and Landscaping. The Lowes volunteers are "Lowes Heroes," part of the Lowes volunteer community improvement program. To date, Lowes Heroes have donated over 200 hours of work by placing gravel, framing the pathway for concrete, and setting the pavers for their patio.
Two future phases of this project will include a ground-level tree house to be located further north along the trail overlooking Fetter's Run, and a bridge over Fetter’s Run connecting the trail and school grounds with a restored wetland/prairie.
Phase I of the Lancaster Sensory Trail was named the 2009 Project of the Year by the North Central Association of Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Councils.
The award was presented on April 13, 2010 by Reed Madden, president of the Ohio Association of RC&D Councils, at the North Central Association of RC&D Councils’ Annual Conference atAtwood Lake Conference Center in Delroy, Ohio. Heart of Ohio RC&D is one of nine councils in Ohio. Accepting the award were Vicki Kohli of the Fairfield County Soil and Water District and Jodi Blais, Fairfield DD’s Director of Educational Services.
“While this concept was conceived to help Forest Rose students by helping to stimulate their senses, it has certainly become something that the entire community uses and benefits from,” said Fairfield DD Superintendent John Pekar. “Our students use the trailand the musical instruments every day that weather permits, and we see people of all ages there at any given time of the day, especially in the evenings and on weekends. To see all those people using the trail, and then to receive this award, is very gratifying.”
LIFEWorks - Leveraging Internships For Employment - is a unique program that offers at least three paid internships to help individuals assess their career goals, with the ultimate goal of community employment at the end of the internships. LIFEWorks services include job coaching, job development and placement, and follow along services.
Coordinated by Fairfield DD's Community Employment Services, LIFEWorks is available after high school graduation for individuals 18 to 25 years of age.
Internship sites to date include Giant Eagle, Ohio University-Lancaster, Fairfield Outlet, the Pickerington Chamber of Commerce, and many others, and this is what they have to say about LIFEWorks:
You have been a Godsend! You've made it possible for us to get things done that we wouldn't be able to do with the labor dollars we have available! Thank you!!!
- Fairfield Outlet
Most of the interns and trainees came to the Campus to with skills that we value, so we've served as mentors...polishing skills, helping to build self-confidence. And while being part of this 'blossoming' process is rewarding, seeing them employed in the community or enrolled in classes, achieving their goals...is even better.
- Jenny LaRue, Ohio University - Lancaster
I'm not easily impressed, but you have impressed me! You are doing a great job!
- Steve Suchan, Giant Eagle - Lancaster
It feels so good to know I'm leaving the office in such good hands! I'm so glad we decided to try out this internship opportunity with the LIFEWorks program.
- Helen Mayle, President, Pickerington Chamber of Commerce.
LIFEWorks is a partnership between the Fairfield, Franklin, Hocking, Licking, and Union County Boards of Developmental Disabilities and the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission.
To discover the possibilities of LIFEWorks, contact Dianna Walters, Fairfield DD Community Employment Services Manager, by
or by telephone at 740.652.7230.
Project SEARCH is a business -led collaboration that enables young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration!
Project SEARCH is a one year, high school transition program which provides training and education leading to employment for individuals with disabilities. The program occurs on-site at a high status community business. Project SEARCH serves as a workforce alternative for students in their last year of high school. Three elective high school credits can be earned for successful completion of the Project SEARCH program. Each student applies to the program and is accepted through a selection committee process. Adults with disabilities may apply and be accepted if space is available. All students must be eligible for services with the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission to participate.
The cornerstone of Project SEARCH is total immersion in a large business. Each day, students report to the host business, learn employability skills in the classroom and job skills while participating in 3 – 4 internships/experiences during the year. If available, students utilize public transportation. Students participate in monthly progress meetings to define their career goal and plan necessary steps to achieve that goal.
Managers at the internship sites work with the Project SEARCH instructor and job coaches to support the students. Students get continual feedback from the internship manager, co-workers and Project SEARCH staff. Students end their day by reflection, problem solving, planning and journaling their key learnings. The ultimate goal upon program completion is competitive employment utilizing the skills learned on the internships and throughout the program.
Project SEARCH is a collaborative project of the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools, Fairfield Medical Center, and the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission.
TEN Process Description
Step 1: Commit to the process
A provider interested in beginning the recognized membership application process first studies TEN’s mission, vision and values to see whether they are a good fit. Then, to begin the application process, the applicant notifies the TEN contact person assigned to the county where the provider is seeking recognized membership of the intent to apply.
The local contact forwards the request to the local TEN group and arranges an introductory face-to-face meeting with the applicant representative to provide an overview of the process. The applicant and the local contact agree on a timeline for submitting an application, usually in 1-2 months.
Step 2: Prepare the application
The application has four parts:
The organizational profile: This profile is a straightforward description of services the applicant provides. The review process focuses primarily on services within the county, but multi-county providers also describe the overall agency structure to give a wider context.
Description of organizational processes: The applicant completes the self-study related to key processes and writes concise descriptions of processes. Processes are about HOW. The focus of these descriptions is not rule compliance. These descriptions help the review team determine how the applicant works toward high quality services that go above and beyond regulatory requirements.
Description of organizational results: The applicant indicates the outcomes of services in key areas. It is helpful to supply figures documenting success, such as the number of people who have a valued experience, or the number of hours of the valued experience.
Supporting documents to demonstrate rule compliance:
- Certification letter(s) from DODD;
- Past 2 semi-annual Major Unusual Incident (MUI) summaries prepared per DODD regulations;
- Past 6 months of Unusual Incident (UI) logs;
- Most recent Provider Compliance reviews for any services provided in counties in the TEN region;
- Most recent Medication Quality Assurance reviews at sites in the county of application;
- DODD notification of sanctions related to services in any county and any follow-up communication from DODD.
Step 3: Share the application with the local TEN group
The local TEN group identifies review team members who have the time and commitment to work with the applicant all the way through the review process. One review team member is designated as the facilitator for the review process. Review team members sign a Code of Conduct affirming their agreement to uphold standards of integrity, professional conduct, confidentiality and respect for intellectual property.
Once the application is complete, the review facilitator distributes it to other review team members and schedules a time for the review team and the applicant to meet.
While TEN strives for a review process that is fair and consistent, each applicant brings its own personality, approach and organizational culture. The review team considers the applicant’s uniqueness during the review process.
Step 4: Add information to the application as requested by the TEN review team
Even when it receives a complete application packet, the review team may have additional questions of the applicant. The review team may ask for additional clarification of information in the packet. The review team and the applicant agree on a timeline for presenting additional information. At that time, the review team and the applicant meet again to tie up loose ends.
Step 5: The TEN review team collects additional information
The local review team collects and reviews additional information specific to the TEN review process:
Stakeholder interviews: Review team members interview a number of family members, Individual Support Coordinators (ISCs) and other team members for individuals receiving services from the applicant, such as Adult Day Support providers who also serve individuals who receive Homemaker/Personal Care services. The purpose of these interviews is to identify any major “red flag” issues of concern.
Site visit observations: Review team members take an interactive approach to site visits that is distinct and different from a compliance approach. The focus is on quality of services and quality of life, not on rule adherence. Team members, whenever possible, make site visits in pairs. During site visits team members ask questions that give information not available from any other source.
Step 6: Come to agreement about recognized membership and develop a consensus report
The local review team makes a recommendation to the local TEN group and to the larger Excellence Network about whether to grant recognized member status. The local TEN group and The Excellence Network review the recommendation to make sure that standards are consistent across applications.
The review team facilitator prepares a summary report addressing the applicant’s accomplishments and opportunities for improvement. The report is not complete until the local review team and the applicant agree that it accurately reflects both accomplishments and opportunities.
Step 7: Develop a plan for performance improvement
An important part of recognized membership is continuous quality improvement on the part of the recognized member. The report gives the applicant valuable information about opportunities for improvement. The recognized member takes this feedback and develops a plan for performance improvement over the coming year.
Step 8: Work on performance improvement
Part of the responsibility of the local TEN group and of The Excellence Network generally is to support continuous quality improvement by all participants. TEN is a resource to help recognized members identify training and technical assistance designed to address identified opportunities for improvement. TEN occasionally organizes collaborative, performance-based training that distributes training costs over a larger group to bring the costs down for all.
Step 9: Share updates with the local TEN group
The recognized member and the local TEN group agree on a schedule for reporting on progress toward the performance improvement plan. These reports serve a dual purpose. They ensure progress by all recognized members, and they spur conversation among the local TEN group. TEN members often find that others in the group have great ideas, and that conversations within the local TEN group represent an important vehicle for innovation.
Recognized membership stays in effect as long as the local group is satisfied with the member’s progress toward performance improvement goals. A change in a provider’s legal status could affect TEN recognized member status. If a provider gains or loses certification for a service or changes ownership, it is important to let the local TEN group know right away.
Step 10: Rework and improve the application (only if recognized membership was not granted at step 6)
Once an applicant completes performance improvement efforts designed to address concerns identified in the review process, the next step is to revise the application to reflect improvements and resubmit it to the local TEN group.
The Excellence Network
The Excellence Network (TEN) is dedicated to revolutionizing the culture of service delivery in Ohio. The purpose of The Excellence Network is "igniting and fueling a passion for living life to the fullest through learning, innovation and collaboration." TEN cultivates competent, passionate, well–trained and experienced service providers capable of promoting optimal health, well-being and community life among the people they serve. TEN also builds and promotes a consistent approach to services throughout the local and regional developmental disabilities system.
The Excellence Network is an initiative of four county boards of developmental disabilities – Fairfield, Hocking, Licking and Perry – and the Mid-East Ohio Regional Council of Governments (MEORC), a COG serving the four counties and 14 others. TEN began with an idea put forward by John Pekar, Superintendent of the Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The essence of the idea was that TEN would work with providers to improve service quality beyond what is required for compliance with administrative rules, and that individuals and families could rely on a provider’s participation in TEN as a sign of quality.
Building a system based on internal motivation, as envisioned by The Excellence Network, requires alternatives to the forms of power inherent in a regulatory system. We must together co-create an excellent system.
The Excellence Network is committed to answering these daunting questions and challenges by supporting and providing guidance to local TEN groups. It serves as the sounding board for new ideas that arise through the work of the local group.
Role of the local TEN group
Each local TEN group promotes The Excellence Network’s mission, vision, and values within its county system. The group includes providers and other stakeholders with a direct interest in better service quality. Each local TEN group works independently in keeping with the mission, vision and values established by TEN.
Recognized membership is awarded to a provider that successfully completes the application and review process with its local TEN group. The review process is an opportunity to learn together, exchange information in a climate of collaboration, and promote innovation in services. Its purpose is to create honest dialogue about the applicant's accomplishments and opportunities for improvement.
Goals for the recognized membership review process include:
- Produce an unbiased assessment of where providers stand;
- Determine and document service quality;
- Produce information understood and valued by family members;
- Maintain a high standard that providers do not yet achieve but are willing to work toward;
- Operate in accordance with TEN principles of innovation, collaboration and learning.
The review team does not expect perfection. Successful applicants do:
Commit to the mission, vision and values of The Excellence Network;
Agree to share information about processes and results with the local TEN review team;
Commit to ongoing quality improvement.
Recognized membership is one factor to consider when selecting a provider. It is not a substitute for the judgment of individuals and their allies about the best fit of a provider with customers’ requirements.
Recognized membership is valid only in the county where the review takes place. If the applicant wishes to have recognized status in more than one TEN county, the applicant submits an application in each county. Some information will apply across county lines. Local county TEN groups may decide to combine their work for a review extending to multiple counties.
For a description of the process to become a member of The Excellence Network, please click TEN Process Description.
Please click below to access documents that further explain The Excellence Network:
Ticket to Work
Ticket to Work helps people with disabilities who want to work, access employment, vocational rehabilitation (VR), and other support services from a variety of sources. Individuals enrolled in a Social Security Disability program receive a “ticket” they can use for services from an Employment Network. The Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities recently became an Employment Network. This provides funding to assist individuals with getting and keeping meaningful employment.
University-Based Post-Secondary Opportunities
Fairfield DD and the Ohio University Lancaster Campus are teaming to develop a campus-based post-secondary opportunity for individuals with developmental disabilities. This new venture will focus on providing individuals a campus-based post-secondary experience, including social education, life and job skills, community connections, and building social confidence. Individuals completing this post-secondary experience will receive a certificate of competency in a given career area and/or an Associate's Degree.
Representatives from Fairfield DD, OU-L, and community business partners, including local chambers of commerce, are currently working to bring this exciting new opportunity to fruition. The current timetable for rollout is 2012.
We Go To Work
We Go to Work enhances employment options for persons with developmental disabilities. The Fairfield County Board of Developmental Disabilities offers Community-Based Assessments that lead to a more focused and informed job search. Individuals participate in a two-week paid assessment in a community employment site, based on the individuals' interests. A job coach works with the individual on a variety of career interest assessments that inform future employment decisions. A team meeting at the end of the assessment period gives the individual an opportunity to consider next steps.