Maine's CHOICES CEO Project
About the Project
Visualize a future in which workers with disabilities are employed in jobs that meet their personal and financial needs. A future in which Maine's employers have access to a wider pool of reliable and talented workers. A future in which the community expects that people with disabilities can and will participate in the workforce to the greatest extent possible.
This is what the Maine CHOICES CEO Project is about.
Who Is Involved
Our work is done within a coalition of businesses and organizations, from the public and private sectors, who are committed to the goal of maximizing employment opportunities for Maine's workers with disabilities. Coalition members include the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, Maine's Working Together business network, the Maine Jobs Council, the Commission on Disability and Employment, and many interested individuals with and without disabilities. For a full listing see Project Partners.
Coalition members spent the first year of this project leaning about the concerns and experiences of employers, service agencies and people with disabilities. The result was Working Together, a strategic plan for maximizing employment for people with disabilities. This plan will guide the activities of this project in the coming years.
Key initiatives include:
- Employer outreach and engagement.
- Maine state government as a model employer for people with disabilities.
- Support for young people with disabilities who are transitioning from school to work.
- Improved vocational rehabilitation services.
- Expanded work incentives planning and assistance.
- Enhanced data collection pertaining to workers with disabilities and ensure that relevant data can be easily shared among service providers.
- Improved Work Incentives for People with Disabilities Who Receive Benefits, Especially "MaineCare (Medicaid) Option for Workers with Disabilities"
Funding for the CHOICES CEO Project is provided by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as a Medicaid Infrastructure Grant (MIG). The MIG program supports efforts to help people with disabilities secure and sustain competitive employment in integrated settings. The Maine MIG project has been in operation since 2000.
Working Together Joins the US Business Leadership Network (BLN)
Maine’s Working Together business-to-business network joined the US Business Leadership Network (BLN) in December 2008. The USBLN is the only national disability organization led by business for business. It was established to promote best practices in hiring, retaining, and marketing to people with disabilities.
Improving the Workforce System:
A Continuing Discussion about the New Ticket to Work Act
The CHOICES CEO project is continuing its work with the newest rollout of the national Ticket to Work Act. Information on project activities can be found at the Maine Ticket to Work web site. Other helpful information can be found in a series of articles in the project newsletter... visit the ticket article archive here.
Engaging Workers with Disabilities:
Students in Southern Maine Take Part in Disability Mentoring Day
CHOICES CEO has helped to support Maine's Disability Mentoring Day (DMD). DMD is a nationally celebrated event that is part of Disability Awareness Month. In southern Maine, October 15, 2008 was proclaimed DMD by the mayor of Portland and events were held at the University of Southern Maine's Glickman Library. Read more information here.