|Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities
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The Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD) makes investments with local and statewide agencies, organizations, and individuals to attain the performance targets in the Five-Year State Plan so people with developmental disabilities (DD) and their families can achieve independence, productivity, community integration, and inclusion in all facets of community life. ICDD promotes initiatives to coordinate services and supports, and provide assistance for individuals with DD and their families. This is done through 22 grant investments as well as staff activities.
ICDD supports self-advocates in finding their voices and advocating for their needs through funding of the Illinois Self-Advocacy Alliance. The Alliance is a network of self-advocates who, through local action, improve their lives, change local service practices, and make contributions to their communities. They also work together to promote statewide needed changes in disability policy and practices. The Alliance currently reaches 15+ counties statewide with 30 member groups and the expectation of having 40 member groups by the end of its project. The Alliance continues to participate regularly on state agency workgroups by which a group of self-advocates statewide engage in leadership opportunities as targeted by the project goal to have members serve on boards, commissions, councils, etc.
In 2021, the 15th Speak Up and Speak Out Summit (SUSO) grew in size and impact with close to 1,000 people with DD registered and over 600 attendees. This annual event provides education, training, and opportunity for individuals with intellectual and DD to discuss issues of importance in their lives. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SUSO takes place virtually and over a four-day period. The summit is facilitated by self-advocates for self-advocates and is comprised of state and national speakers, leadership development activities, and advocacy sessions, in addition to fun activities that show people with DD that they have a voice and choices in what they do with their lives.
The National Disability Institute (NDI) continues its mission to provide financial wellness training in Illinois. This initiative is training agencies and/or qualified individuals to conduct financial wellness training to be able to support people with DD in financial understanding and empowerment. So far, 90+ people from across the state have been trained to provide financial wellness training to people with DD and their families. By the end of this project, NDI will increase financial wellness capacity, measured by a minimum of 2,000 people with DD who will receive financial wellness training through financial education provided by a minimum of 90 master trainers statewide.
The two Competitive Pay and Meaningful Days in Chicago projects that are implemented by Envision Unlimited and Anixter Center continue to improve the employment outcomes of people with DD who are or were receiving subminimum wages. Both entities are supporting people with DD to expand and sustain effective skills. Priority areas consist of supporting integrated meaningful day activities, person-centered services, and networking with businesses.
In 2021, Envision was able to train staff across departments to address the agency’s limited capacity in the area of employment and are providing job development services to clients. Their Job Placement program has been able to place 27 people with DD in competitive integrated employment to date. Many of these workers require multiple placements due to poor work habits developed over years of “workshop” employment.
Anixter Center has reached out to several active 14c certificate holders with the goal of assessing their infrastructure and to present Anixter’s unique opportunity to support individuals in finding employment in the community. Anixter Center facilitated conversations with nine agencies to support them in implementing system change within the organization to increase access to competitive integrated employment for the people they serve. In 2021, Anixter Center increased their number of employer partners supporting disability hiring. OSI Group and Pride industries are leaning toward Model 3, providing support to employees who have disabilities and working with human resources to recruit talent who have disabilities.
The Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), in partnership with ICDD, continues to work with the State Employment Leadership Network (SELN) to assist Illinois in identifying ways to eliminate barriers to employment for people with DD. The SELN team provided the division with a report highlighting recommended focus areas on policy/systems for the DDD and DRS, and ICDD to discuss to establish an action plan. During this period, the SELN team met with leadership from DDD, DRS, and ICDD to continue the discussion about improved pathways to supported employment. One of the recommendations that came out of the report SELN generated for DDD was the need for a revamp of the in-person DRS presentation that is provided to people with DD who are currently working under 14c. DDD now leads the charge in monitoring progress made toward collaboration between DRS and DDD per the MOU that was generated.