Region III CSPD Transition Committee Meeting 1.15.16 Attendance

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Region III CSPD Transition Committee Meeting 1.15.16 Attendance
Region III CSPD Transition Committee Meeting 1.15.16
Sue Anderson, Center for Children and Families; Alvin Buerkle, Sweet Grass
County High School; Megan Burns, Shepherd School; Max Copeland, Easter
Seals-Goodwill; Tiffany Costa, Montana Center for Inclusive Education (MCIE);
Stacy Faldetta, Center for Children and Families; Anna Gibbs, Montana
Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services (VRBS); Chelsie Guilford, Support
and Techniques for Empowering People (STEP); Amie Havner, Yellowstone
Youth Crisis Network; Tammy Hoar, Living Independently For Today and
Tomorrow (LIFFT); Libby Johnson, Red Lodge High School; John Keebler,
Billings Job Service; John Keener, MCIE; Shannon Merchen; Developmental
Disabilities Program (DDP); Debra Miller, MCIE; Brent Morris, (LIFFT); Monica
Pugh, Stillwater Sweet Grass Educational Cooperative (SSGEC); Marsha
Sampson, MCIE; Courtney Stamm, Center for Children and Families; Dusty Toth,
STEP; Karen Underwood, Yellowstone West Carbon County Special Services
Cooperative (YWCCSSC), and Tara Williamson, STEP.
Job Service: John Keebler
John Keebler, the Disability Consultant at Job Service, can assist youth with
information on the following topics:
Job Listings and Referrals
 Labor Market Information
 Resume, Cover Letter, and
 Career Exploration
Interview Assistance
 Job Search Assistance
 Community Resource Information
 Career Planning
 Americans with Disabilities Act
 Occupational Training
 Resource Library and Computers
 Child Care Information
 Copier, Fax, TTY Services
John shared information about the Apprenticeship and Training Program. The
contact for this program is Kathleen Hanley. She can be reached at 406- 655-6079.
Detailed information about the programs listed above can be found at Job Services
website. Job Service is hosting a Job Jamboree on March 9, 2016.
Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services (VRBS): Anna Gibbs
As the result of the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
(WIOA), The Disability and Employment and Transitions Division reorganized its
VRBS program. They eliminated the four geographic regions and replaced them
with a single statewide configuration. Blind and Low Vision Services continues in
its current structure. The reorganization included reassigning Regional
Administrators to central administration tasks that are statewide rather than
regional. Regional Administrators became Section Chiefs and lead specific critical
functions within the program such as business relations (Sally Sjaastad) transitions
for youth with disabilities (Tammy Hogan) quality improvement and rapid
engagement (Barb Schiedermayer), assistive technology, and administrative tasks
such as updating the Administrative Rules of Montana. Counselor Supervisors
assumed more administrative duties and less direct client services. A Bureau Chief
of Field Services supervises the Section Chiefs and Counselors and Counselor
Supervisors. Chanda Hermanson was hired as the Bureau Chief.
The WIOA made one hundred changes to the public vocational rehabilitation
program many of which are radical departures from past practices. For example,
VRBS is now mandated to spend 15% of program funding on Pre-Employment
Transition Services (Pre-ETS) for students with disabilities. VRBS is contracting
with the University of Montana Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (RIIC)
to provide technical assistance to schools on developing work plans for Pre-ETS
funding. Montana State University Billings (MSUB) MCIE is a partner in the
contract. If you have questions regarding this change, Mark Mahnke, Montana
Vocational Rehabilitation State Transitions Coordinator, can be contacted at
[email protected] or 406-666-7626 and Anna Gibbs, Billings Counselor
Supervisor, can be contacted, [email protected] or 406-655-7669.
Pre-Employment Transition Services Technical Assistance Center (Pre-ETS
TAC): Marsha Sampson
The Pre-ETS TAC is a statewide project established by VRBS. The Pre-ETS TAC
is funded to support VRBS counselors and school staff in providing quality preemployment transition services to students with disabilities. The project will
facilitate system change by researching and sharing innovative ideas, providing
technical assistance, and helping to forge collaborations focused on competitive
integrated employment. Debra Miller is the contact person for these services in the
following counties: Big Horn, Carbon, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Rosebud,
Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Treasure, and Wheatland. Mary Di Biase is the contact
person for Fergus, Judith Basin, and Petroleum counties.
Red Lodge Internship Program: Libby Johnson
Libby discussed implementing an internship program in Red Lodge High School
during fall 2015. Four students are currently enrolled in the program.
Partners include:
 Montana Center for Inclusive Education (MSUB)
 Disability Support Services (MSUB)
 Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services (VRBS)
 Red Lodge High School
 Community organizations
Students and parents are pleased with the program.
E-mentoring Program: John Keener
In conjunction with the Red Lodge Internship Program and Shepherd High School,
the Montana Center on Inclusive Education is providing a mentoring relationship
for the students with disabilities considering transitioning into higher education
with current college students with disabilities. The primary communication
between the mentor and the mentee will be through Weebly with occasional faceto-face meetings incorporated into the program. This will provide high school
students with disabilities an opportunity to meet a successful student with a
disability in the college setting.
LIFTT Regional Transition Coordinator: Brent Morris
Brent updated the council on regional activities. He arranged six job coaching
experiences for students with disabilities. The Montana Career Information System
(MCIS) is now available at the LIFTT office. He discussed visiting schools to
inform them about the soft skills training that LIFTT provides to students with
disabilities. LIFTT will host a soft skills training on March 1, 2016 from 1:00 P.M.
to 5:00 P.M. at MSUB College of Education (COE) in room 122. Brent introduced
the new Executive Director of LIFTT, Tammy Hoar.
Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountains Peer Connections Project:
Max Copeland
This project is offered to transition age students with High Functioning Autism
(HFA). It gives the students an opportunity to participate in a variety of work
experiences that will guide them toward higher education and employment goals
through work based learning experiences, counseling and post-secondary
opportunities, workplace readiness training, and self-advocacy training. The nineweek program combines real, comprehensive job experience with one-on-one
assessment and coaching. Peer Connections also assists students with basic social
and job skills that help the students maintain a job on their own. The project has
signed a contract with VRBS to provide this service for VR clients.
Center for Children and Families/LEAD Program: Courtney Stamm, Sue
Anderson, and Stacy Faldetta
LEAD (Launch, Emerge, Achieve, Decide) is a collaborative program that includes
treatment and support for adolescents and young adults between the ages of 14 and
24 who have recently started experiencing unusual behaviors that are not easily
explained. They may have recently had unusual thoughts and behaviors, hearing or
seeing things that others don’t, or disorganized thinking for over a week, but less
than one year. Participants must be willing to work with a diverse team of health
care professionals. LEAD takes a person-centered and strength-based approach
which makes good use of evidence-based strategies. LEAD helps youth recognize
and achieve their goals and desires.
Stacy Faldetta, an employee of the Center for Children and Families, previously
was a community organizer for political groups. She agreed to present on
community organization at our next Transition meeting on May 13, 2016.
Support and Techniques for Empowering People (STEP): Dusty Toth
STEP has a new after school program for middle school students. The program is
from 5:30 P.M. to 7:30 P.M. and is held at 841 Parkhill Drive. The focus is on
identifying skills and talents that may be valued by others. They encourage
students to volunteer and explore pre-employment options that could lead to
fulfilling work after high school. The program also explores leisure and
recreational pastimes. In addition, it addresses personal well-being and gaining
independence by expanding skills in all area of life.
Yellowstone Youth Crisis Network: Amy Havner
In the 2015 Montana Legislature, there was strong bipartisan support of innovative
ideas for better mental health. Among several bills approved by the House, one
specifically focused on youth. It is a modest proposal to appropriate $1.2 million
over the biennium to continue four pilot projects to serve youth and their families
in crisis.
In the Billings area, the Yellowstone Youth Crisis Network has brought more than
a dozen public and private organizations together to improve immediate response
to youth crises and alleviate the need for placing youth in hospitals, treatment
centers, or detention.
Data from the Montana Children’s Mental Health Bureau illustrates the need for
 In January, 53 Montana youth were in out-of-state mental health treatment
centers at an average cost of $400 per day and an average time in treatment
of 292 days.
 Additionally, 125 youth were placed, at state expense, in Montana treatment
centers with an average cost of $304 per day and an average stay of 116
Some of these youth were placed in high-end care before receiving services in their
community. Early intervention with community care is less costly, and much better
for the youth because the teen stays at home or at least nearby. There’s less
education disruption and family can be more involved in treatment.
Tumbleweed, Youth Dynamics, Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch, the county
Youth Services Center, District Court Youth Services, NAMI, RiverStone Health
and Billings Public Schools are among the organizations represented on the 15member steering committee.
Amy is the liaison with families and community partners and she provides short
term case management. The crisis line number is 406-200 0559. Amy’s office is
located at the Lincoln Center and she can be reached at 406-281-0595 or
[email protected]
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