In response to the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) recent Balancing Incentive Program (BIP) Transformation Fund, Aspire of WNY submitted a grant request to fund three strategic programs for individuals with developmental disabilities. In February, Aspire was awarded the funds to support these transformational programs focused on Employment, Self-Direction, and the Transition to Managed Care.
The Employment Program is designed to increase the number of individuals with developmental and other disabilities who are competitively employed or are participating in meaningful community activities. This will be accomplished by providing people currently enrolled in Day Habilitation opportunities to learn about working. These opportunities will include having personalized evaluations to assist in transitioning to more integrated, less restrictive services; learning from people who have disabilities and who are employed about their successes and their experiences; and providing opportunities for senior citizens who have intellectual disabilities to participate in integrated senior programs in the community.
Aspire’s approach to building a program that will have a positive and meaningful impact on increasing Self-Direction will center on the creation of a curriculum that can be shared among collaborating agencies that provide services for individuals with disabilities. This training will be designed to assist people who currently self-direct their own services or would like to begin the process. Individuals can also be linked with mentors who have gone through the process and will assist peers in being successful.
The final piece of Aspires Transformation Fund request addresses the challenges of transitioning to managed care. Aspire’s plan is to position the agency to receive Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) accreditation. In partnership with other WNY agencies, Aspire has started Personal Outcomes Measures (POMs) which is an interview process to assess how people receiving supports are experiencing quality and how the well the agency is providing supports.
Aspire President & CEO, Thomas Sy explained the impact of this funding, “Each of these projects are interdependent on our future support of services that focus on self-direction, “Employment First”, and quality. This funding allows us to build upon the principles that we have been implementing for many years.”
For the second year in a row, Aspire of WNY’s CEO, Thomas A. Sy has been named to the prestigious Business First Power 250 list. Each year, Buffalo’s Business First publishes a list of the men and women in Western New York who are considered to be the most influential. The voting group, made up of Business First reporters and editors, consider a number of factors in coming up with the list. Some of the factors include obvious considerations like number of employees and length of time in a position. Just as importantly, they take into account the amount of respect a person garners both within their company and in the community. Mr. Sy made the ranking at No. 224 and in a recent conversation deflected the credit back to the Aspire agency.
“While it feels very rewarding to receive the individual recognition of the Power 250,” Mr. Sy explained. “Much more important is the fact that being on the list shines a light on all of the great work the agency is doing.”