Objective Statements

Employer Focused Employment

“To help employers provide peer to peer support in creating more disability friendly workplaces.”


“The statistics are numbing: 88% of working age adults who have a developmental disability are unemployed.”

- Alliance for Full Participation, “Real Jobs - It's Everyone's Business”, 2011

“In fact, only 14.1 percent of working age adults with intellectual disabilities have jobs in integrated non-facility situations.”

-Kiernan, Institute for Community Inclusion, Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston

The Council has a long history in disability employment, including work in entrepreneurship, the creation of Pennsylvania’s Business Leadership Network, and, more recently, attempts to transition services from congregate settings to customized employment. However, while we have seen successes on local and regional levels, especially with the move to an “Employment First” model, we are acutely aware that despite all our best efforts the employment rate for people with developmental disabilities remains lower than it was thirty years ago.   As we look at the statistical evidence it is clear that more fundamental or radical change might need to happen so that we can move forward with helping people with disabilities get jobs.

The Council has developed over the past decade a new approach to disability “problems” which is radically different and arises from the values in the front of this booklet. It combines our mandate to do Systems Change; our beliefs in changing things generically, and our belief that disability is a natural part of the community: not a deficit, just different.

We hold that, where the disability world meets with the generic world it should not always be the people with the disability who need to do the changing or accommodation.

In the case of disability employment, we wonder what would happen if we focused, not only on helping the person with a disability grow into a job, but instead helped employers recognize how they can help each other adapting their corporate culture in ways which might make workplaces more open to people with disabilities.

In this RFP we bring together our history of successful work with employers; our desire to work with private and public groups such as the Office of Developmental Programs and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (“Hiring People with Disabilities”, How to Guide 10/5/2013), and our developing beliefs about the targets of change.

Although there are pressures on employers to address disability employment (such as the “7% rule” for federal sub-contractors), it is our belief that positive and constructive work is possible with both government and private employers. It is our desire that this project should connect employers with a developed culture, record of workplace diversity and hiring people with disabilities. They should then serve as “mentors” with other employers who are interested or willing to change, but who do not have the resources or knowledge to do so. We prefer proposals which stress peer to peer employer education, working in conjunction with existing Business Round Tables, Chambers of Commerce and other appropriate groups.

We also ask that the successful applicant coordinate with the Council’s efforts to address Stigma, especially as it relates to the area of employment.

Lastly, we encourage proposers to consider that the Commonwealth is itself a major employer in Pennsylvania.

Required Activities

We require the following as components of your plan, but encourage your creativity in development of your overall model.

  1. Proposals should
  • Be demonstrably aimed at improving the employment rate of people with disabilities
  • Focus change efforts on employers, rather than on people with disabilities
  • Be consistent with the values outlined above and elsewhere in this RFP book
  • Be collaborative and non-adversarial in nature
  • As possible, engage the Commonwealth and its Civil Service System, in your project’s efforts
  • Reflect a clear understanding of the Council’s current strategy to address Stigma
  • Be supported by significant stakeholders in the disability employment field
  • Show clear, measurable outputs and outcomes
  1. Identify exemplary employers who build disability knowledge and culture into their hiring practices.
  1. Identify other employers who are interested in receiving supports from the peer to peer and project staff.
  1. Provide training and consultation to employers and their existing employees, ideally using a peer to peer or CEO to CEO model, using the “exemplary “employer as coaches and consultants.
  1. Reserve, as necessary, some of the available funds to support employers in their transition to a more disability diverse workplace.
  1. Tap into existing bodies of knowledge about corporate cultures, histories and models which can teach us about how to advance disability diversity.
  1. Create a knowledge base about effective means of moving employers (on a peer to peer basis) from a deficit to a diversity model of understanding disability.
  1. Demonstrate plans to create a sustainable learning community around these issues.
  1. Identify best practices and models of how corporate or institutional cultures can enhance or impede disability employment in particular, and diversity in general. Identify the factors that are important in those organizations which have created a culture in which disability diversity can thrive.

Expected Outcomes

  1. A defined number of exemplary employers will be recruited as peer “mentors”.
  2. A defined number of training and networking opportunities for employers and their staffs will be created.
  3. A defined number of employees with disabilities will be successfully and sustainably hired who would not have been hired without this intervention.
  4. The peer to peer support network created will be sustained beyond the period of this grant.
  5. Those measures which you present as the best ways to support the fundamental usefulness of your work

Note please that the Council realizes that it is often difficult to demonstrate direct or timely connections between systems change work and work that effects people in the real world. If necessary we will accept “outputs” rather than true “outcomes” statements. However these must be supported by a narrative or logic model demonstrating their connection to final outcomes.

RFP#: 5-14

Planned Allocation: One Project @ $90,000 per year for up to three years.

Preproposal Conference Date: Monday, July 14, 2014 @ 1:30 PM


Due Date for Proposals: Thursday, August 7, 2014

Staff: Graham Mulholland


Meeting Coordination

“To support and fund a variety of meetings among Council members, people with developmental disabilities and other Pennsylvanians for the purpose of enhancing the independence, productivity, integration and inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life.”


As part of the State Plan, the Council determined that it will enter into and support dialogues with other groups on topics of current importance in the field of disability services. The Council believes this to be a first step towards creating responsive systems. By meeting and discussing common concerns, partnerships may be forged and solutions found that will enhance the independence, productivity, integration and inclusion of all citizens in the Commonwealth, including those with developmental disabilities.

Under this RFP, the Council will fund one project to coordinate the regular and special meetings that bring people together to discuss current disability issues. In addition to statewide and local issues this project will work with the national Developmental Disability Organizations on issues that affect all DD Councils.

Note: For the purpose of this RFP, “meeting” is a general term intended to include business events, gatherings, round table discussions, conferences and retreats. The Council is a statewide organization, and its meetings will occur in various parts of the Commonwealth, as considered necessary by the Council.

Required Activities

1. Arrange and coordinate all assigned aspects of a specified set of meetings. This would include securing appropriate and accessible meeting rooms and facilities, audio visual, meal service as necessary and overnight accommodations convenient to the meeting site.

2. Work with the Council on all necessary arrangements.

3. Provide all necessary meeting materials and follow-up information in accessible formats. Such formatting should be based on participant needs or requests, and might include sign language interpretation, Braille, disk, large print, audio-visual aids or other technological assistance.

4. Arrange for fees, honoraria, lodging, meals and assistance with appropriate and accessible transportation for speakers, facilitators, consultants and/or guests. All such arrangements should adhere to the Commonwealth’s regulations pertaining to travel. Travel arrangements for regular Council and Committee members will continue to be handled directly through the Council’s office and will not be the responsibility of the Grantee.

5. It is projected that in the initial three year period of this grant, the following meeting arrangements will be required. Additional meetings and changes to this list are possible and would be negotiated with the Grantee.   The budget guidelines are approximate and based on the previous experiences of the Council. They are provided to give proposers guidance in preparing their budget.

The Grantee will be responsible for making all required payments and/or billing in a timely manner for meetings as noted above.

A.  Developmental Disabilities Council Quarterly Meetings: Four per year.

Length: 2 Days

Attendance: 40-50 people.

Estimated Costs: $9,000 per meeting

B.   Annual Council Planning Meeting: One per year.

Attendance: 55 - 65 people

Length: 2 ½ days (weekend)

Estimated Cost: $14,000 per retreat

C.  Other meeting on Disability topics of current interest: Three per year.

Attendance: 30-40 people

Length: 1- 2 days

Estimated Cost: $3,000 per conference

D.  National issues

Information and Technical Assistance Conference (ITACC) $7,000

National Fall Conference $7,000

Other National conference $3,000

E.  Supports: $5000

Expected Outcomes

  1. Council/Committee members and others who attend Council sponsored meetings and events will express increasing levels of satisfaction with meeting arrangements, meals, meeting materials, etc.

RFP#: 6-14

Proposed Allocation: One Project @ $115,000 per year for up to five years

Preproposal Conference Date: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 @ 11:00 A.M.


Due Date for Proposals: February 11, 2015

Staff: Sandra Amador Dusek