242117 Creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities in healthcare: The Bristol Employment Collaborative (BEC)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Alexis Henry, ScD, OTR/L , Center for Health Policy and Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Shrewsbury, MA
Aniko Laszlo, MBA, MA , Center for Health Policy and Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Shrewsbury, MA
Monika Mitra, PhD , Center for Health Policy and Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Shrewsbury, MA
People with disabilities typically have lower levels of education than those without disabilities, and disruptions in education due to disability are common. Along with many others, this factor may contribute to the lower workforce participation of people with disabilities compared to people without disabilities. Additional education and training may be key to enhancing employment opportunities and outcomes for many people with disabilities. Increasingly, vocational rehabilitation providers are taking dual-customer, “demand side” approaches to services that match job development and training efforts with employer needs for skilled workers. Despite the recent economic downturn, the health care industry is projected to grow in the coming decade. In particular, there will be a significant need for skilled direct care workers, including personal assistance services (PAS) workers. Working with a group of stakeholders, the Bristol Employment Collaborative (BEC) in Massachusetts developed an innovative program designed to address both the employment needs of people with disabilities and the shortage for PAS workers. In collaboration with the local community college, the BEC developed a 120-hour educational program to train people with disabilities interested in health careers to provide consumer-directed PAS (CD-PAS). A CD-PAS training curriculum, emphasizing the philosophy of the Independent Living movement, was created and “wraparound” supported education and employment services were provided to students enrolled in the program. The first class of students graduated in December 2010; graduates are now seeking jobs as PAS workers. The lessons learned from this innovative, dually-focused project, including the potential for broader national replication will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to: 1) discuss the projected need for personal assistance services (PAS) workers in the coming decade; 2) describe the unique features of BEC's program to train people with disabilities to provide consumer-directed PAS

Keywords: Peer Education, Personal Assistance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I co-lead the team overseeing the development of the Bristol Employment Collaborative
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.