Day 4 the final day of the 2014 NCIL Conference started with Concurrent Workshops covering multiple issues and educational outreach for participants. One session this year was of historic proportion NCIL’s Leadership Panel on IL’s Transition to HHS Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act Workshop. It is a great thing to have the ILA and to have Independent Living in the department that covers peoples lives from pre-natal to death (DHHS) rather than age five to eighteen (US Dept. of ED).
This panel was moderated by Maureen Ryan, Regional Representative Committee Chair and Kelly Buckland, Executive Director of NCIL; with two special guests Janet LaBreck Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) in the US Department of Education and Sharon Lewis Principal Deputy Administrator, Administration for Community Living (ACL) in the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). It was a lively conversation more than a presentation. The first part of the workshop was a great overview given by Ms. LaBreck and Lewis of what has been happening since President Obama signed the WIOA Act on July 22, 2014.
There has been good progress moving forward with both Departments learning about each other’s functions, staffs and setting forth with a strategic plan for next steps that is not only swift and effective but also inclusive of as many stakeholders as possible. The Administration is focused on working with NCIL and its members to make this a streamlined and efficient process. They both look forward to hearing from and working with all. Ms. LaBreck and Lewis spoke for about 30mins and left the remainder of the time about 45mins to listen to the audience. It was an informative and interactive session. NCIL members were actively involved throughout the workshop.
The next event for the day was the Legislative and Advocacy debriefing. Mark Derry NCIL’s Vice President was the moderator for this session. This is where the final report out of participants’ visits on the Hill are presented to membership. This year NCIL Conference members visited 49 Senate offices and 145 Representative offices. They discussed issues about the ABLE Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, Employment, ADA Notification legislation, Community Integration Act, The Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act and The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
After the report out the participants have an opportunity to speak about legislative issues of concern. The panel consists of the NCIL Chairs of the legislative committees from Transportation, PAS, and ADA/Civil Rights who provided information on the issues and advocacy campaign strategies for the next year. These relationships the participants have made with Congressional staff should not end here or today, they should reach out to these staffers monthly to get updates or provide them with information.
The next event was the signing of the long awaited MOU between NCIL and the American Red Cross. From the NCIL WhAM: The NCIL Board of Directors, with assistance from the Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee, has successfully negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding between NCIL and the American Red Cross (ARC). An official signing ceremony will take place during the NCIL Annual Conference on Thursday, July 31. However, the two entities have not waited for the MOU to become official before collaborating to assist individuals with disabilities immediately following a disaster.
To read the entire article go to:
The closing plenary was another highlight in the Conference. NCIL President Lou Ann Kibbee of Kansas moderated a discussion with Kathy Greenlee who serves in two roles in the Administration. She is the Administrator of the ACL and the Assistant Secretary for Aging in the US Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Greenlee discussed her strategic plan for the next steps and the implementation of the Independent Living Administration to the ACL. She talked about how much she has learned about the many different nuances and subject matters in the disability community. Her background is in the Aging population so transition for her had a totally different meaning than that of transition for youth with disabilities.
Ms. Greenlee presented a five point strategic plan that she will share with all. The topic areas are: Advocacy, Protection from abuse, Individuals Self Determination, Long Term Support and Services and Effective Responsive Management. She discussed her desire to include the youth in these conversations and have them as an integral part of the work plan for the implementation of these goals. Ms. Greenlee also discussed her commitment to the outreach and work on sex and sexual abuse of persons with disabilities. NCIL is the only disability rights advocacy organization involved in the legislation of violence and abuse. The Conference ended with a final goodbye from Lou Ann Kibbee the President of NCIL and see you next year!
That’s all for 2014 NCIL Conference – Dara Baldwin’s experience! It has been an honor serving as a NCIL Co-Chair of the ADA/Civil Rights Subcommittee!
Onto the next year of advocacy! Mike Bachhuber and I will remain as Co-Chairs of the ADA/Civil Rights Subcommittee and we look forward to a great advocacy year!
See you in 2015 for the 25th Anniversary of the ADA! Follow all the action on this year long celebration through my blog and others!
Thank you for reading and posting comments! Pass the word & get others to do the same!
Information from this post:
Make sure you see the other posts in this series – 2014 NCIL Conference Day 1 -4
To see pictures go to my Twitter feed & the pictures section of this blog!
Sharon Lewis: http://acl.gov/NewsRoom/NewsInfo/2013/2013_11_05.aspx
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA): http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/WIOA%20One%20Page%20Summary%20May%202014.pdf