Vocational Rehabilitation, Independent Living and Employment Resources

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Maine Resources

Alpha One

Alpha One, a Center for Independent Living, has enabled thousands of people with disabilities to live more fully and more independently in all aspects of their lives. Few Centers for Independent Living in the United States or other public or private agencies in Maine offer Alpha One’s variety and depth of independent living services.

Alpha One annually assists more than 4,000 people of all ages, including children and the elderly, with a range of disabilities: mobility impairments, traumatic brain injury, deafness, blindness, other vision and hearing impairments, developmental disabilities, mental illness, mental retardation, and AIDS. For more than two decades, Alpha One has been responsive to the needs of individuals with disabilities, initiating, advocating for, and implementing systems change to overcome the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from living independently.

Since 1978, Alpha One has stood at the forefront of the fight to establish and expand consumer-directed personal assistance, promoting this approach at the state and national level. Alpha One today manages three distinct consumer-directed personal assistance programs statewide, enabling more than 650 consumers to directly employ more than 2,100 personal care assistants, community-based, income-contingent loan programs for assistive technology.

Web: www.alphaonenow.com

C.A.R.E.S., Inc.

C.A.R.E.S., Inc. is a privately held company that has been in existence since 1988. C.A.R.E.S., Inc. has a proven track record in areas such as advocacy, case management, program evaluation and policy development. C.A.R.E.S., Inc. has administered the Client Assistance Program (CAP) since 1992.

Currently, C.A.R.E.S., Inc. administers three federally funded programs: The Client Assistance Program (CAP), the AT Loan Program (ATLP) and Independent Living Services (ILS) for veterans with disabilities through the Veteran’s Administration (VA) at Togus.

Web: www.caresinc.org

Employment for ME

Employment for ME provides one-stop access to a wealth of resources about work and disability — and the great value and opportunity that comes with a diverse workforce strategy that includes all workers, including those with disabilities. The information on this site is organized to help all people easily find information and helpful resources related to the employment of Maine citizens with disabilities.

This site is the joint efforts of many people — people with disabilities, business owners and managers, service providers, and others — who all know the importance of easy and efficient access to these resources.

The Employment for ME website was developed in collaboration between the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor and Muskie School of Public Service as part of the CHOICES CEO project funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

Web: www.employmentforme.org

Maine Association of People Supporting Employment First (Maine APSE)

Maine APSE is affiliated with the national APSE: The Network on Employment. The national APSE website has information on APSE Products and Publications, information on how to join APSE, and also many helpful links to national resources on employment for people experiencing disabilities.

Web: www.maineapse.org

Maine Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC)

The SILC is a federally mandated council under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Maine SILC advances independent living by engaging in or supporting research, publication, employment, community organizing, advocacy, and systems reform.

  • Work with the Director of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (as referred to in federal legislation), the Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and other councils if required to develop and sign the State Plan for Independent Living for the delivery of independent living services to people with disabilities;
  • Monitor, review, and evaluate the implementation of the State Plan and communicate with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) about activities that address the common needs of specific disability populations and issues under federal law.

Web: www.mainesilc.org

Maine State Rehabilitation Council (SRC)

The SRC was established in accordance to Federal Regulations governing the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and as amended of 1998.

Under these regulations, (Title I of the Rehabilitation Act), the SRC works in partnership with the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation to review, analyze and to advise the designated state agency regarding its performance in providing vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities.

Members of the Council are appointed by the Governor of the State of Maine after soliciting recommendation from the citizens of the State, representatives of organizations representing a broad range of individuals with disabilities and organizations interested in individuals with disabilities. To the extent possible, the membership shall reflect the cultural diversity of the State of Maine.

Roles and Responsibilities of Council

Review, analyze, and advice the designated State Unit regarding the performance of the State unit’s responsibilities pertaining to:

  1. Eligibility, including order of selection.
  2. Extent, scope and effectiveness of services provided.
  3. Functions performed by State agencies that affect the ability of individuals with disabilities in achieving employment outcomes.

Specific areas mentioned in the Federal Regulations:

  1. Consumer Satisfaction
  2. Comprehensive System of Professional Development (CSPD)
  3. Informed Consumer Choice
  4. State Plan
  5. Comprehensive Statewide Assessment
  6. Fair Hearing Board
  7. Records of Service (case file)

Web: www.mainesrc.org

State Resources

Maine Department of Labor (DoL)
Bureau of Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Ser­vices (BRS)

The BRS works to bring about full access to employment, independence and community integration for people with disabilities. Working with its partners in the Maine Department of Labor’s CareerCenter and the rehabilitation community, the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services works with persons with disabilities through its three primary service provision units:

Web: www.maine.gov/rehab/

Maine Department of Labor (DoL)

The Maine CareerCenter provides a variety of employment and training services at no charge for Maine workers and businesses. Whether you are looking to improve your job qualifications, explore a different profession, find a new career or hire an employee, the CareerCenter can help.

Web: www.mainecareercenter.com

National Resources

Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE)

APSE is the only national organization with an exclusive focus on integrated employment and career advancement opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  APSE is a growing national non-profit membership organization, founded in 1988 and is now known as Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst (APSE).

APSE has chapters in 35 states and the District of Columbia.  Our members come from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, as well as several foreign countries.

APSE’s HR Connect offers consultation services to help businesses reach out to and partner with one of the strongest labor and customer pools in the country:  the disability community.

APSE supports the only annual national conference focused solely on the advancement of integrated employment.

The APSE Goals:

  • Promote employment opportunities for all people, through local, regional, and national networks.
  • Help establish and expand equitable employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
  • Advocate with federal, state, and local legislators for legislation promoting integrated employment.
  • Work with federal, state, and local policy makers to increase funding for integrated employment.
  • Raise awareness within the business community as to the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities.
  • Advocate for social change to help those with severe disabilities achieve a lifestyle that approximates that of individuals without disabilities.

Web: www.apse.org

National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)

As a membership organization, NCIL’s mission is to advance independent living and the rights of people with disabilities through consumer-driven advocacy. NCIL envisions a world in which people with disabilities are valued equally and participate fully.

The National Council on Independent Living is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. Founded in 1982, NCIL represents thousands of organizations and individuals including: Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs), individuals with disabilities, and other organizations that advocate for the human and civil rights of people with disabilities throughout the United States.

An outcome of the national Disability Rights and Independent Living Movements, NCIL was founded to embody the values of disability culture and Independent Living philosophy, which creates a new social paradigm and emphasizes that people with disabilities are the best experts on their own needs, that they have crucial and valuable perspective to contribute to society, and are deserving of equal opportunity to decide how to live, work, and take part in their communities.

Since its inception, NCIL has carried out its mission by assisting member Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and SILCs in building their capacity to promote social change, eliminate disability-based discrimination, and create opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in the legislative process to affect change. In Maine, the CIL is Alpha One. NCIL promotes a national advocacy agenda set by its membership and provides input and testimony on national disability policy.

Web: www.ncil.org