Thursday, February 16, 2012

No State Budget Cuts for Progress Inc.; New recipients Can Enroll in 2012-2013

DIDD's Commissioner Jim Henry announced great news for Progress Inc. and all statewide provider agencies that serve adults with intellectual disabilities earlier this month. Gov. Bill Haslam's recommended budget for the 2012-2013 will have NO budget cuts for the waiver program that makes it possible for Progress Inc. to serve more than 100 adults with intellectual disabilities everyday.

The budget also makes room for a growth of more than 100 new recipients in the state Home and Community Based waiver services program.

That announcement means that 105 out of the more than 6,000 people with intellectual disabilities that have been on the waiting list will have the chance to receive support at home, participate in daily activities and perhaps get a job through a provider agency like Progress Inc.

Commissioner Henry also announced a new employment initiative that would push agencies like Progress Inc. to have at least 20 percent employment rate for its clients by this fall. Progress is considered the standard agency to follow since we are already above 20 percent employment due to our employer partnerships that were the focus of a recent NewsChannel 5 story. (Click the link to view that video)

Progress Inc. client Bea working diligently at the Marriott Hotel- Courtesy of NewsChannel5.

Though this is a great announcement, Progress and other agencies still need much support from donors and advocates across the state.

Remember to continue to follow Pressing Forward With Progress for news and updates on the senior citizen and disability community.

Here's a roundup of Commissioner Henry's announcements:

§  DIDD Budget: Governor’s Recommended Fiscal Year 2012-2013 budget for DIDD is $206.5 million and includes the following:

*$4.5 million in recurring funds to continue the Family Support Program
*$6.7 million for projected growth of 105 people in Home and Community Based waiver services

Reductions to the Department’s base budget are $2.6 million. No reductions to waiver services or to provider reimbursements are included.

§ Employment Initiative:  Obtaining employment rates of at least 20% by Fall 2012.

Friday, February 3, 2012

PHOTOS: NewsChannel 5 covers story on Progress Inc.

NewsChannel 5 will feature a story on Friday evening's newscast about the importance of keeping people with disabilities employed. The Department of Labor released unemployment numbers this morning that showed unemployment for people with disabilities was 12.9 percent compared to 8.7 percent for the general population in January.

The numbers are still relatively high, but Progress is glad to have employers like the Marriott to support our clients and keep them employed. Bea Miller, who has been with our agency since 1993, will be the focus of tonight's story. She has worked for the Marriott in the laundry department for several years. She is a great example of how people with intellectual disabilities can be reliable, hardworking employees.

Below are a few photos from the video shoot at the Marriott this morning. The news story is expected to air during the 4 p.m., 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. newscast on Channel 5, so don't miss it.

Bea at the Airport Marriott. She will be on a NewsChannel 5 newscast about how Progress and Marriott help keep people with disabilities employed.

Joe works with Bea at the Marriott along with about three other Progress clients in a work enclave.

Susan Hutchison, Progress Inc. Associate Director of Day Services, being interviewed by NewsChannel 5 reporter Janet Kim at the Marriott.

Zach, an employee at the Marriott, shared his experience working with our clients in the laundry department.