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West Metro Community Action Team

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Statement of Purpose

The West Metro Community Action Team is in collaboration with RISE and Community Connections Partnership. We are day training and habilitation providers who provide services to people who have returned to the community from the Minnesota Regional Treatment Centers, many of whom require significant support. Although we have developed some opportunities for community employment, our success in developing independent customized employment options has been limited. With our partners and staff, we hope to strengthen and grow the focus of the service coordination around customized employment. In addition we will be inviting the residential providers who will provide expertise and input for the five individuals we have identified.

Our team represents an individual who owns his own business, DEED, ARC MN, ACT (Self Advocacy), Hennepin County Planners, Minneapolis Transition Plus, STAR Services and Cooperating Community Programs.

The team along with the Ramsey County Community Action Team participated in the Training “Foundation of Successful Customized Employment” by Bob Neimiec on March 29th. Our next meeting will be on April 14th where we will review our proposal, plan out our year, and discuss the plan for the five individuals we have chosen. The team members are excited to continue the process and look forward to additional trainings and technical assistance from MNTAT and Griffin-Hammis Associates LLC.

West Metro CAT Activities

December 6, 2010

In today’s meeting, we debriefed about the conference. We talked about what we learned, what areas went smoothly, and any areas of improvement. We proceeded to discuss any updates for our jobseekers. To wrap up the meeting, we talked about what 2011 will look like for our CAT.

November 15 & 16, 2010

The Anoka County CAT was participated in the Second Annual Disability & Employment Conference. We spoke at the conference, facilitated some table conversations, and participated in the Resource Area.

October 20, 2010

In today’s meeting, different team members voiced some of their confusions about the Discovery process. We also talked about different roles for the upcoming Second Annual Disability & Employment Conference; some of us will be presenting, facilitating, and in the Resource Area.

October 18, 2010

Today was the Community Action Team Summit. All of the Community Actions Teams were at the Summit. Tammara Geary flew in for the event.

September 20, 2010

Today was part II of the consultations, where we discussed the other two jobseekers.

September 13, 2010

Today was part I of the consultations. As a team, we thoroughly discussed two of the jobseekers and the themes that may suite them best.

August 2, 2010

Today we had training on Job Development & Negotiation.

July 19, 2010

In today’s meeting, we discussed the upcoming training on August 2nd that Tammara Geary will be in town for. We also discussed the CAT Summit that is coming up on October 18! We are all looking forward to it. After those updates, we reviewed updates about our jobseekers.

June 22

Today the West Metro team met with Bob Niemiec and went through a full day of training on Supported Employment and Systematic Instruction. Before the training Bob had members give updates on the discovery process with individuals. Two of the people had informational interviews with business owners. One individual went to a Computer Shop and talked with the owner. The other went to a local Barber. It was interesting to hear how the process worked and that each person’s experience was different. It was also interesting to hear how going through these informational interviews with people can provide more ideas and knowledge about a person that we didn’t necessarily know.

In the afternoon we had an opportunity to try to fold a T-Shirt in 2 seconds. We will be trying the systematic instructional approach later with bicycle brakes. Our next meeting will be on July 19th

June 16, 2010 - Conference Call

Bob, Mary and Lynn connected to review logistics for the next West Metro CAT Meeting on June 22nd. We will be getting training on Systematic Instruction techniques on that day. Mary and Lynn are working with our staff teams to identify “training consultants” who the group can work with in practicing the techniques.

June 2, 2010 - Training and Feedback with Cary Griffin and Bob Niemiec

Today the Ramsey and West Metro teams met together. We discussed the process of Interest-based negotiation. The West Metro Team members shared how the discovery process was going for the individuals we are working with. Cary and Bob’s perspectives and advice was helpful to the group. The West Metro team is working toward identifying the vocational themes as the next step in the process.

May 24, 2010 - Team Meeting

The entire team met to review the discovery process with the individuals in the teams. It was very inspiring to hear the stories of the individuals and the work that is being done to determine their strengths, skills and interests and to begin thinking about possible places in their communities where those skills can be used. All teams are working through the staging records and we’ll share this information with Cary Griffin at the June 2 meeting.

Group members discussed what we have learned so far in this process that will help us all moving forward. Following are some responses by members:

  • we are learning different ways to ask questions
  • inquiry is being done in a more conversational manner, much better information is shared in this way leading to increased discovery about the individuals
  • a question was raised about how to find interests when none seem apparent. Bob suggested focusing on the SKILLS, asking “What do you know how to do?” rather than “What do you like to do?”. Another suggestion was to discover about people in their own element, trust increases and people share more when they are comfortable and in their own environments.
  • another question was asked about how do you know how many observations to make in information gathering. Bob suggested the goal is to get to informational interviewing, and determining 20 places where people with similar themes work, so you need enough information through observation to be able to start identifying themes.
  • Several people discussed the challenge of the time involved in using this approach. Bob reminded the group that in some ways it is just a different use of time. One person at a time….If the average time a person spends in a day program is thirty years, and we can influence that by implementing the discovery process and helping one person at a time to get a job, the quality of life impact is huge. What if it works?? This issue is one that we will continue to grapple with as long as services are funded as group services (like DT&H). We need to advocate for increased use of supported employment funding.
  • We also discussed scheduling updates and assured we were all on track with meetings for the remainder of the year.

    April 29, 2010

    Bob Niemiec and Cary Griffin have met with each of the individuals and their staff who are included in the West Metro teams. Everyone was updated about the progress so far and Bob and Cary were able to provide support and positive feedback to the staff members working with the individuals.

    April 14, 2010 - Team Meeting

    The team met and identified the 6 individuals to go through the discovery process. The team also did scheduling of upcoming meetings and trainings for the next several months. Individual times will be set up with Bob for each individual to start the discovery process. This will take place in an environment that will be comfortable and non-threatening.

    April 6, 2010 - Conference Call

    Bob, Mary and Lynn touched base to go over the logistics for the April 14th meeting.

    March 29, 2010 - Foundations of Successful Customized Employment Training

    Our team participated in day-long training today. The training was well received and provided a solid basis of information about the discovery approach. The process focuses on using small, explorative steps to gather information about a person to develop themes that will give us new ways to think about a person and how they may be connected to a job. One of the challenges to the group was to stop thinking about the job or business. Think instead about the person and through the process, we will discover things we didn’t expect to find. A lot of discussion focused on that we will be a lot more successful working with small businesses. Small businesses already know how to be flexible and adapt around individual skills and strengths. In large corporations (where we typically have started in the past!) there are job descriptions and a lot of processes that can limit customization and flexibility.

    March 12, 2010

    Bob, Lynn and Mary reviewed the proposal that was submitted for consideration. The RISE and CCP proposal was accepted and we will be forming a West Metro Community Action Team!! We met to discuss next steps. We coordinated calendars and setting up first training. . We discussed the possibility of holding the first training with Ramsey CAT on the 29th of March. Bob talked us through the process of how to select the individuals we would work with.

    February 19, 2010

    Lynn Noren, Mary Anderson and Bob Niemiec met to discuss the possibility of RISE and CCP writing a proposal to be considered for a Community Action Team (CAT). Bob discussed with us the criteria for the MNTAT Community Action Teams and how and who to chose as interested stakeholders for our team. Lynn and Mary pooled their contacts and came up with a list of stakeholders that would enhance the CAT.

    The RFP process was going to be out in early March and it was determined that RISE and CCP would submit a proposal for consideration.