Message from the Executive Director, Dr. Deb Message from the Executive Director, Dr. Deb Schott sa,

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  • Message from the Executive Director, Dr. Deb Schott

    Thank you all for your efforts over the past year which has led to many successes. We are

    truly honored to be working for such an important mission.

    Fiscal year 14 did have many challenges. The history making winter put a heavy strain on re-

    sources both in staff and in utilities as well as snow removal. Added to the strains was the

    change in service reimbursement from funders implemented on July 1, 2013. Most rates

    moved from hourly to fifteen minute which resulted in no coverage for all of the documenta-

    tion time. A change in reimbursement method may see small however it can have a huge im-

    pact over time. We faced these challenges positively and continued to move forward with cre-

    ating community integrated employment opportunities and sustainability for the organization.

    Given the tough economic environment and the serious challenges we faced during the year

    it can be easy to lose sight of all the positive work completed and the significant strides we

    made as an organization. The Spectrum Network is a much stronger and more flexible organ-

    ization than we were three years ago. Each year we adapt and strengthen our core while

    keeping our vision on creating independence and community integration. Earl Nightingale

    said “all you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination”.

    We are following that map to a new tomorrow through our many program of integration in-

    cluding the newest project, the Decorah Spectrum Thrift Store. Demonstrating equal employ-

    ment for all makes TSN a model for others to follow. It is, as Iowa APSE so aptly stated, time

    for a “climate change”! We are making great strides moving to community integration includ-

    ing community employment.

    With the assistance of local employers and community members we can reach new heights

    with employment for all. Our community and the world is a better place when we all can con-

    tribute and have the self-fulfillment that work, pride in our accomplishments, and independ-

    ence brings. We first announced a three-phase business plan in fiscal year 13 and realized

    the first phase of that plan with the opening of Spectrum Thrift Store here in Decorah in the

    spring of 2014. With the opening of this store we were able to create six new integrated com-

    munity jobs and continue to recruit more staff as the business is growing rapidly! Community

    members are very supportive, which we truly appreciate, both with donations and with shop-

    ping. We have something for everyone so please be sure to check out both of our thrift stores.

    The overwhelming support for our mission through the Thrift Stores and donations of all kinds

    is heartwarming. We know that we make a difference in the lives of so many individuals and

    would like to continue to expand in support of many more. As we look ahead to the upcoming

    year and beyond we have more visions to follow which will provide additional community em-

    ployment opportunities as well as tie into the local food imitative and the local community.

    Phase two & three of the plan is for food aggregation (washing, slicing, dicing, flash freezing,

    storing, etc.) and then a commercial grade kitchen. The commercial kitchen would be availa-

    ble for lease to individuals to prepare large batches of items, whether it is baked goods, sal-

  • Message from the Executive Director, Dr. Deb Schott

    sa, or other types of items. Having the ability to do 32 quarts at a time would significantly in-

    crease the marketability of their product. With assistance through a capital campaign we will be

    able to move forward with these two phases which will again create more integrated community

    employment opportunities.

    Quality is a key component of all of our work which provides us with a solid base. When you do

    things the right way and for the right reasons everything works better and evolves to higher

    grounds. We look forward to the future envisioning our community embracing fully integrated

    workforces and opportunities for employment for anyone and everyone. Join us in our quest for

    independence for all!

    Sincerely, Deb Schott, Ph.D., Executive Director

    Programs & Services

    The Job Skills Training department currently provides services to 45+ individuals who have barriers

    to employment. The training they receive is based on the needs of each individual by identifying

    areas of vocational strength as well as areas where limitations may exist. Training provides “real

    world” experience by teaching how to work with a supervisor, interact with coworkers, complete as-

    signed tasks, follow a schedule and many other skills that are needed to become a successful em-

    ployee in the community.

    Day Habilitation services help people achieve satisfying and rewarding relationships and connections

    within their community. Services are flexible and can be provided in any location outside of a per-

    son’s home including locations within the community where a person wants to learn new skills. Day

    Habilitation is person-centered and focuses on helping individuals increase their independence in

    day to day, non-vocational, personal skills. Day Habilitation gives people more choices over daily

    activities and grants opportunities to develop new interests, develop communication and interper-

    sonal skills, and reach personal goals while becoming more involved within the community.

    Supported Community Living is a service provided in a person’s home or community. Each client

    works on individualized goals one-on-one with a staff member. The goals are driven by each individ-

    ual depending on needs and what someone may want to learn; including things like how to plan and

    follow a budget, balance a checkbook, plan and prepare meals, shopping, personal hygiene, making

    new friends, learning how to be safe in the community and more.

    The Community Employment department provides varying support to help Individuals reach their

    goal of finding a meaningful job. We assist in determining interests, identifying strengths, resume

    writing and interviewing as apart of the job development process; onto orientation, transportation,

    learning efficiency, accuracy and communication as apart of our supports to assist with maintaining

    current employment. Our Employment Specialists provide support and educate at varying levels to

    allow anyone who wants to work, the option to do so and thrive.

  • Outcomes Summary

    Outcomes provide us with essential information to build a better, stronger organization. Part

    of assessing our work are surveys providing feedback from consumers. Using this infor-

    mation, we measured our performance against key organizational goals for the fiscal year.

    Community Employment Services:

    1. Goal: To expand our Supported Employment Services by two activities/programs.

    Result: Achieved goal. We have added two activities/programs to expand our

    Supported Employment Services.

     Implemented an employment interest intake form every time a client starts job devel-

    opment services to better identify interests, skills and career exploration.

     Added Work Adjustment Training to assist individuals in understanding their current

    work habits and evaluating what behaviors could be enhanced.

    2. Goal: To receive at least six new referrals to Supported Employment Services.

    Result: Exceeded goal! Eleven individuals were referred to TSN Supported Employment


    3. Goal: To successfully transition three current clients from Job Skills Training (Prevoc.) to

    Supported Employment Services.

    Result: Achieved goal - Three clients added Supported Employment services that had

    previously only been in Job Skills Training (Prevocational) Services.

    Job Skills Training:

    1. Goal: Develop new work flow for training floor to encourage efficient operations.

    Result: Achieved goal. Restructured JST work area into cells to simulate efficient factory

    operations and enhance work outcomes.

    2. Goal: Add employment services to at least three JST enclave clients to enhance commu-

    nity integration.

    Result: Achieved goal.

  • Outcomes Summary

    Community Life Services:

    Day Services:

    1. Goal: Maintain at least 95% of Day Service clients participating in two or more wellness

    activities each month.

    Result: Met average of 92% - harsh winter conditions impacted – met goal 11 out of 12


    Corrective Action: Continue to focus on the importance of wellness and education on

    healthy living. Increase program expectations for healthy living and wellness.

    2. Goal: Maintain at least 75% of Day Service clients participate in a community based ac-

    tivity each month to increase community integration.

    Result: Met 10 of 12 months. Met average of 83%

    Corrective Action: Continue to recognize the significance of integration and assist clients

    and staff to strive to try new things and learn more about the importance of