CAP staff reached un-served and underserved individuals, including minority communities, through a combination of outreach; publication of online materials, videos, podcasts; and monitoring employment service providers.
CAP staff conducted outreach that was specifically targeted towards reaching historically un-served and underserved populations and minority communities. CAP staff worked with local community nonprofits, such as Centro de Trabajadores Unido en la Lucha (CTUL), to forge connections with diverse communities, and engage the historically underserved population of Latinx people with disabilities. CAP staff also conducted targeted outreach to homeless populations, providing training on disability rights in partnership with the local YMCA. CAP staff presented to families and guardians of diverse students with disabilities, and to law students, including law students of color.
In an effort to reach transition-age youth, CAP staff began the second phase of our “Into Adulthood” project. Into Adulthood is a multi-media project that includes information for youth about their rights with vocational rehabilitation, high school, post-secondary education, work, transportation, health insurance, and other benefits needed to work. After talking with youth and their families during outreach across Minnesota, CAP staff discovered that many youth and families do not know about their rights and the services that are available to them. The goal of the Into Adulthood project is to provide information about rights and services that youth need to transition to competitive, integrated employment and more independence.
CAP staff hope the Into Adulthood project will reach youth in a medium where they seek information, specifically on social media. During this fiscal year, CAP staff released four videos and a podcast. The Into Adulthood videos were well received. They reached around 5,700 people on Facebook and the videos were viewed around 240 times on YouTube. We also conducted outreach to share our extensive Into Adulthood Guide more widely, and highlighted the project during presentations.
One video featured a VR consumer, who is a transition-age college student, and a CAP staff member. The video focused on VR services to help with post-secondary funding and supports, and how CAP can help VR consumers. The second video featured a transition-age college student who discussed tips for post-secondary students to be successful in school and as they prepare for employment. The third video is a recording of a live stream that CAP did with SAWV Rise, a Hmong disability rights Facebook group based in Minnesota. CAP staff presented to SAWV members about our Into Adulthood Guide and project, and the video of the presentation is posted on our website. Finally, we created a video of our podcast, “Racial Disparities in School Discipline of Students with Disabilities,” to share the podcast more broadly with youth who access information through YouTube.
CAP staff also partnered with Jeff Thompson, the creator of the Blind Abilities podcast and former State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind chair, to record a podcast for transition youth. The podcast, “Racial Disparities in School Discipline of Students with Disabilities,” featured an interview with a Native American transition-age youth discussing her school experience with a CAP staff member, specifically how discipline at school interfered with her education. The podcast had 1,366 downloads and additional views on other platforms, such as 60 views on YouTube.
Additionally, CAP’s Into Adulthood website helped us share our guide, videos, podcasts and other resources. The Into Adulthood website had about 1000 page views this fiscal year. We have five versions of the Into Adulthood Guide on our website including a version with a fun, engaging design in English and accessible PDFs in English, Spanish, Hmong and Somali.
CAP staff continued its monitoring of facilities that provide employment services in Minnesota to assess how persons with the most severe disabilities were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and how employment services were being delivered during this phase of the pandemic. Some monitoring was done virtually and some was done in-person. The monitoring included a tour (or remote video tour) of each facility and interviews of facility supervisors, staff, and program participants. CAP staff found that many employment service providers had resumed in-person services, though the services were sometimes limited. Some providers continued to provide remote services to program participants who preferred remote employment services.
CAP staff also reviewed and updated all of our factsheets, available to the general public at LawHelpMN.org. These factsheets cover CAP services, eligibility for VRS and SSB services, scope of VR services, developing an Individualized Employment Plan, VR services for self-employment/small businesses, and appealing a VRS or SSB decision.
Persons of Color
CAP staff provided trainings, outreach, and expertise to diverse communities across the state of Minnesota. In fiscal year 2021, CAP staff conducted 5 targeted outreach activities for people of color. These engagements reached 153 individuals. CAP staff conducted outreach at Mitchell-Hamline School of Law, providing information on our Access to Justice program to a diverse student body. Other CAP staff partnered with a local Latinx nonprofit to provide training on employment rights and advocacy to Latinx people with disabilities.
In addition to our Into Adulthood project mentioned above, CAP staff partnered with a number of organizations that provide services to transition-aged students to provide presentations to youth and their families. CAP staff also presented on Transition-Aged Students outreach strategies to 105 participants at the NDRN National Conference.