It amazes me how people, programs, things develop. There are whole disciplines that study both organizational and human development and still it’s confusing. What confounds me is how differently things can develop even when they are in close proximity. If you heard my sister and me share stories from our childhood you would undoubtedly think we grew up in different families! I am taken aback that Washington and Oregon are so vastly different in our approach to individuals with disabilities working in integrated jobs in the community. So different that it was announced at a news conference Monday the U.S. Department of Justice has joined a class-action lawsuit filed last year by people with disabilities against Gov. John Kitzhaber and the State of Oregon. The suit demands changes to the sheltered workshop system in Oregon. Conversely, Washington is by far the national leader ensuring individuals who are developmentally disabled are working in jobs in the community. (See post on Wednesday, May 9, 2012).
How can it be that one state is getting sued by the Federal Government for providing sheltered services with no choice and the state that shares its border, economy, and lifestyle is receiving acclaim for individuals working in the community with a broad array of choices? I believe the difference is focus. My Uncle Art, who worked in the Washington DVR system, always told his staff to “keep your eye on the client”. His sage words were passed on down through the system and heeded by most. Fixing our focus on the person and what they want to do means not losing sight of the goal. Indeed, in my opinion, this is the key.
CEO Viewpoint is published by Jim Larson, CEO Morningside
This space is intended to share my thoughts and update the community on issues concerning Morningside and its clients as well sharing inspirational employment stories.
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