This morning, Betsy DeVos was nominated as Secretary of Education under President Donald Trump. This nomination will move to Congress for approval in the coming weeks. While DeVos was met with harsh criticism in recent weeks from Democrats and special needs advocates, “deep opposition from special education advocates was not enough to prevent President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Education from moving forward.” (Disability Scoop, January 31, 2017).
Gaining much attention is DeVos’s public position on Individuals with Disabilities Act and her belief that it should be run state-by-state, moving from the current national standardization. Following is a history of IDEA, what the law actually entails, and what it means to people with disabilities.
In 1967, almost 200,000 individuals with significant disabilities were living in state institutions. Before the passing of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) of 1975, people with disabilities were likely to have inequitable opportunities in life. State institutions provided only minimal clothing, food, and shelter; furthermore, people with disabilities were merely accommodated rather than assessed and educated.
Northwest Center Partners with Tech Neighbor to Establish National Model of Inclusion
By Sarah Rothman
Director, Project Inclusion
Being located in one of the quickest-growing tech centers in the world, Northwest Center cherishes the opportunity to partner with our forward-thinking neighbors. Our employment team is proud to be working on a sustainable, long-term relationship with one of the largest tech companies in Seattle. Building off of a pilot program in 2015, the long-term objective of the partnership with Northwest Center is to attract and retain a part-time driven and diverse workforce. By developing an inclusive, broad staffing network, we are placing people with disabilities who are looking for part-time opportunities in independent, competitive employment.
Expanding Inclusive Work Environments Across County Lines
By Taryn Farley
Manager, Employment Services
2016 was a year of growth throughout all Northwest Center departments. Taryn Farley and Alex Diseth, the Community Employment Services Managers, assumed full leadership of the job development team in August with goals geared towards long-term growth. Both managers have worked at Northwest Center for nearly five years and have experience in the disability field beyond their tenure at Northwest Center. Taryn and Alex have their eyes set on staff retention through quality training aimed towards getting more people into jobs!
With new leadership and a growing team, we are poised to increase our existing services in King County and are now certified to expand our services statewide. Our first order of business is to begin expansion into the adjacent counties of Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap. Expansion efforts have already begun in Snohomish County, with relationships being built out of the Lynnwood Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Office.
Celebrating a Year of Inclusive Work
By Lindsay MacCary
Looking back on 2016, the School-to-Work team is proud to reflect upon a successful year! In 2016 our team of four employment consultants served 22 students from schools spanning King County, all the while diligently collaborating with students, teachers, families and other members of support networks on the journey to best understand students’ strengths, interests and support needs.
Northwest Center Kids in 2016
By Laura Kneedler
Vice President, Northwest Center Kids
This time of year is our favorite – not only can we share our appreciation with our loyal audience, we get to fill you in on the exciting progress we made this past year!
We’re so grateful to be a part of all families involved with Northwest Center Kids, and through our Early Intervention and Early Learning programs we were able to serve nearly 600 children and families in 2016.
By Ty Taylor
President and CEO, Interim
Happy New Year! As Northwest Center closed out 2016 and as 2017 begins, it seems like a great time to reflect on what we have accomplished, the journey we have taken, and the plans we have for an exciting, bright future ahead.
I would like to start by telling you how much I appreciate each customer, client and employee of Northwest Center and that I recognize we would not be where we are today without the contributions made by each of you. Thank you.
Last year was a year of growth, change and transition. With the help of our stellar employees, we are making great strides in achieving our goal to transform our service offerings and increase our reach in the community. Northwest Center values our 50 years of relationships with customers, and are excited and humbled to continue advancing our standard of excellence to unreached customers.
I know that because of the efforts of a phenomenal team we thrived in 2016. We want 2017 to be even more successful for the company and for you. It is an incredible feeling to know that when I go out to clients – both existing and potential, there is no way I can oversell the competency and commitment of our team to maintaining the mission of Northwest Center.
My thanks to everyone for your contributions in 2016. I hope you will look to 2017 as brightly as we do.
Thank you for all you do for Northwest Center.
By Jennifer Owen
With heavy hearts we share the news that Evelyn Chapman passed away on November 19th, 2016. While her achievements were many, we are forever grateful for her efforts in co-founding Northwest Center.
Passionate about human rights, Evelyn fought valiantly for those with disabilities—especially motivated to champion the rights of her son Coolidge after he was refused equal education in Seattle Public Schools. Evelyn became involved with Northwest Center in the 1960’s, forming an inclusive schooling system.
Help to support local non-profits this winter by donating new or gently worn sweaters, coats and cold-weather gear to KCTS 9’s 20th annual Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive. January 13 - February 12, 2017. Donated items will benefit Northwest Center, Wellspring Family Services, and Queen Anne Helpline.
Look for the Sweater Drive collection bins at all PCC Natural Markets locations, Sound Credit Union’s location in Western Washington; or drop your items off at KCTS 9's Seattle Center studio.
Uber is also making it easy to donate to the sweater drive with the touch of a button. On Saturday, February 11, Uber users can log-in and request ‘Donate’ at the bottom of the screen. A driver will pick up the donated clothing and deliver it directly to a local donation center – for free!
“All of us, at some time or other, need help,” said Fred Rogers. “Whether we’re giving or receiving a sweater, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world.”
Be sure to follow @nwcenter and @KCTS9 on Facebook and Twitter for updates!
Last year’s drive collected hundreds of sweaters for individuals in Western Washington.
Learn more at: www.kcts9.org
Disney films have become a staple of our childhoods, acting as cultural symbols both adults and children can identify with and use to relate to one another. Recently, Disney is using their international clout to embark on a noble mission of bringing disabilities into the limelight. Between Disney’s 2015 blockbuster ‘Inside Out’ and this year’s ‘Finding Dory,’ the topic of disability is becoming more accessible to a larger audience, including younger children; and when 12.5% of individuals in the US struggle with some type of disability, Disney’s move towards socially-conscious themes benefits advocacy groups like Northwest Center.
Northwest Center is passionate about equal rights, anti-ableism, and full inclusion for people with disabilities. Thank you for reading.