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Welcome to the Massachusetts Employment First E-Newsletter

June 2014
In This Issue

Transportation: One Person at a Time

Even the best job matches won't succeed if the job seeker doesn't have a way to get to work. So service planning should always include transportation, even if an individual is just beginning to consider community-based employment.

 

In fact, it is never to early to:

  • Assess travel skills and develop plans for increasing independence
  • Get a special needs transit pass, or apply for Para transit services
  • Assess and address other community safety skills, such as the ability to use a cell phone

Make sure that transportation is a part of each stage of the person-centered career planning process. This should include a thorough scan of all the transportation resources in the community, not just those used by individuals with disabilities.  

 

Each person has specific needs, preferences, and networks that should guide the development of transportation options. The person-centered approach we use for career planning applies to transportation as well.

Creative Ways to Get Around

  • Brainstorm with family members, the professional team, local employers, and other team members for creative ideas. They may be familiar with community resources that you don't know about.
  • Consider independent travel. Travel training is an effective way to increase self-sufficiency and to enhance life choices. The widespread use of cell phones and GPS technology are helping to allay many concerns about independent travel.
  • Look into community shuttles, such as shuttle services for senior citizens, hospitals, or colleges. Find out where they go and whether anyone can access them. Some larger corporations also provide transportation for their employees.
  • Focus the job match close to home. Could the person bike or walk to work?
  • Does the person have access to a vehicle or could they purchase one? If so, support them to find a driver.
  • Negotiate an arrangement with a local cab or transportation company.
  • Use Social Security Work Incentives (PASS, IRWE, Blind Work Expenses) to cover transportation expenses. Contact your local BenePlan or Project IMPACT benefits planner for more information.
     
Collaborate! Link up with other groups in your area that focus on advocacy and transportation. And check out the Community Transportation Association of America, Easter Seals Project Action, and United We Ride.

Bookmark These Travel Resources!

  • The MBTA offers a system orientation to the fixed route network of buses and trainings.
  • MassDOT has awarded funding to the Kennedy Center to provide travel training workshops in Massachusetts. These workshops will be open to travel trainers and to staff of organizations that are developing a travel training program. Employees of transit authorities and social service agencies, as well as educators, are eligible. To learn more and to help MassDOT choose workshop locations, please fill out this survey. 
  • Travel trainers and other interested in travel instruction in Massachusetts may want to participate in the Massachusetts Travel Instruction Network, an informal network that includes an email discussion group and in-person meetings. Participants use the network to share information and best practices, brainstorm solutions to challenges, and learn about resources around the state. To learn more or join, please email hstmobility@state.ma.us.
  • Sign up for the MASSMOBILITY newsletter. It contains info on community transportation, human service transportation, and mobility management in Massachusetts.

Upcoming Events

Transition to Community-Based Work and Non-Work Services: What Does It Mean to You? June 24, 9-4 in Worcester

Implementation of the MA Blueprint for Success will involve transitions for staff who have typically provided services in center-based environments. This introductory training provides center-based staff with an overview of the emerging service environment as it relates to the ongoing transformation to competitive work and community activity, and the implications for their work. Register today!

 

Work and Social Security Benefits: An Overview

BenePlan offers a two-hour overview of the impact of work on Social Security benefits, work incentives, and health insurance options. Check out the Work Without Limits calendar for a session at a Career Center near you.

Stay in Touch!

If you didn't receive this e-newsletter directly and you'd like to subscribe, please go to: http://employmentfirstma.org/signup. Remember to add ici@umb.edu to your contacts to make sure that each issue makes it to your inbox.