The Arc of Clarke County, Inc would like to share some of the great things happening for the organization. We strive to be at the forefront of our field and to provide quality services to the people we support in Clarke County. Two major accomplishments have to do with employment opportunities for those we support.

ODEP (Office of Disability Employment Policy) has been working with selected agencies within the state on Employment First. This is a program designed to move organizations into the next realm of services. Employment is possible for everyone that desires to work whether they have a disability or not. This program is working on first getting people supported out in the community instead of a day program segregated from everyone else. This opportunity and choice are being provided through the Medicaid waiver “Community Experience” services.

In Community Experience, instead of coming to the day program the person is picked up from home by a staff and participates in the life of their community and then goes home. This gets the person into the community full time. The thought is that if the person is out in the community, they will make meaningful connections that will lead to volunteer and job opportunities. Relationships can also build social capital and employment opportunities for the people we support. This starts with Community Experience. TACC currently has eight individuals actually using this service. Our goal is to have everyone on board for this service by 2022.

Tom Wilds is a Subject Matter Expert on Employment First and is working with ODEP to go out and guide programs that were selected for the Employment First transitional process. TACC is starting our second selection in this program. Our on-site visit for our initial self-analysis of our programs was completed on May 2, 2019. After his visit and reviewing our self-analysis, he had the following words; “Bottom line, I think you’ve done a great job. Just keep moving forward. I think you’ve done so well I recommended to the Commissioner and her staff to come see the services you provide in the community. You’ve accomplished more than any of my providers in Alabama. Your leadership has been a model others should see and duplicate.”

The Arc of Clarke County has also partnered with The Arc of the United States and The US Census Bureau. The census project is designed to actually hire people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as fingerprint operators. This can open door for other job opportunities within the Census Bureau. The Arc of Clarke County has been designated as a site to perform fingerprints to clear applicants for employment with the census.

TACC is supporting a site at which four of the people supported will be training and then work for the US Census Bureau in vetting the potential employees for the upcoming 2020 census. TACC is excited to see people supported getting valuable on-the-job experience with the Census Bureau. This is all in an effort to promote employment and for other employers to see in our local community what the people we support have to offer. TACC is proud of these accomplishments and will continue to be moving forward with Community Experience and finding jobs for those we serve.