A public forum on improving independent living and employment services for Minnesotans with disabilities was held on Sept. 24th in St Cloud. The event included panel discussions and time for public comment about unmet needs and satisfaction with current services.
Building a Partnership—Minnesota Centers for Independent Living and the Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Program was the most-debated topic of the day. David Hancox, director of the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL), participated in the lively discussion. After the forum, Hancox stated.
“I believe the collaboration between MCIL and RS (Rehabilitative Services) is going very well. We have served a significant number of individuals, been readily available to RS counselors and consumers on a daily basis, developed a project-specific website that has proved to be a valuable addition to our strategy and succeeded in achieving the expectations of the RAMs [Regional Area Managers], the RS counselors, and the goals/objectives set forth in our proposal. I think it has been very successful so far, and we look forward to continuing our efforts.”
Hancox continued, “Per the other CILs (Centers for Independent Living) across Minnesota , I think you would hear similar expressions of success. It is important, however, to note that each of the CILs developed an individualized proposal with their individual RAMs that would best meet the local needs. So, there are wide variations in the projects…but each is reaching additional individuals with disabilities and succeeding in addressing RS and IL (Independent Living) simultaneously. As a result we are seeing new levels of cooperation and collaboration between IL and RS. That should be celebrated…Overall, I think the statewide effort has been successful to date.”
Editor’s note: This article is an update on a story that ran in the September Issue of Access Press: Finding gainful employment.