Vol. 20 No. 2
To enhance their ability to reach all persons in need of their services and in an effort to tailor their programs for all members of the community, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), Statewide Employment Services Department (SES) is presenting a new program called "Project Outreach." The purpose of this department is to recognize ways to improve services to people with severe disabilities who are underserved or unserved by MRC. There is more public awareness of some forms of disability than of others. The Americans with Disabilities Act has raised the understanding of the sorts of accommodations required by persons with needs for physical access. However, many other disabilities are less understood. These include , for example, people with Cerebral Palsy, Tourettes Syndrome, Autism, and the deaf and hard of hearing. These "low incidence" populations deserve the opportunity to exercise their right to choose, obtain, and retain meaningful community based employment and receive long term supports as needed and to be paid in accordance with their skills and abilities.
Project Outreach is designed to reach those who have not traditionally been accommodated, to promote awareness and empowerment of people with severe disabilities, and to assist them in fulfilling their employment and independent living goals. This includes promoting choice among; supported employment, competitive employment, living alone, living with PCA assistance, group homes, or other appropriate solutions.
A task force consisting of MRC consumers, counselors, representatives of United Cerebral Palsy, and assistive technology experts has been created to support the project. Funding for Project Outreach comes from MRC's SES Department and the Consumer Involvement Department of the Independent Living Division.
Project Outreach seeks to assist individuals looking for information for themselves, a family member or friend who may need help with their living or working situation; employers interested in capable and productive workers; and professionals wanting to learn more about the barriers facing individuals with "low incidence" disabilities.
For more information about Project Outreach, or to offer your suggestions on innovative ways to serve particular populations, you may contact the project's coordinator, Kimberly Downing. Ms. Downing is hard of hearing so choose one of the following ways to contact her. TTY at 617-204-3701, e-mail: Kimberly.Downing@MRC.ma.us; or mail at Kimberly Downing, Project Outreach, MRC, 27 Wormwood Street, Suite 600, Boston, MA 02210
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