October 4, 2020

Dear Fellow Staff—

Our streak continues! Our fourth straight week of no COVID-19 cases among our staff or individuals! You are all doing a phenomenal job of keeping yourselves, your families and our individuals virus-free. Congratulations and keep it up!

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This year is also the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). The theme for the month is Increasing Access and Opportunity.

NCIA, through our Business Services Department, is a shining example of employment for adults with disabilities. We have over 15 contracts and employ almost 100 individuals with disabilities on a regular basis. I am pleased to announce that we renewed two contracts this past week. The first was a janitorial contract for the MTA Point Breeze location which was renewed for $1.3 million over three years; the second was a maintenance contract for the Hickey School for five years and $780,000. Additionally, BSD received a perfect performance rating for the first quarter for our work at the new Catonsville Courthouse. We are certainly fulfilling the commitment of “Access and Opportunity” and are truly fortunate to have such a dedicated and committed staff.

Speaking of dedicated staff, this week we announced the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Hance as our Director of Clinical Services. Jennifer has worked for the past four years providing services to our Youth In Transition School, and in her expanded role, she will oversee the clinical services for all of our programs. It is NCIA’s goal to continue to expand the level and scope of clinical services for our individuals.

With that in mind, we are opening a new service in the coming month. We are opening a Behavioral Respite House to provide intensive therapeutic services on a temporary basis for DDA individuals who are undergoing a crisis that prevents them from remaining in their existing environment. Staff are being trained in Trauma Informed Care and other behavioral interventions to ensure we have the capacity to work with these vulnerable individuals. This home will be staff intensive and we are actively looking for Behavioral Support Technicians to work in this house.

We continue to look at options for re-opening our Youth In Transition School, but continue to face the same impediments. For an excellent analysis of those issues, please look at the op-ed published by a Baltimore County special education teacher in the Baltimore Sun on October 3. It highlights the myriad of difficulties in re-opening a building. In the interim, our staff are doing a fantastic job at distance learning.

On the H/R side, we have completed Open Enrollment with new benefit enhancements offered to employees. We encourage staff to take advantage of the benefits we offer, and keep up their participation in our 403(b) retirement plan.

Finally, we are opening two additional HJH Vocational Training Centers in the coming months in Raleigh and Philadelphia. We will be recruiting staff for both of those locations, so let us know if you have any leads for us!

Winston Churchill once said: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Our NCIA staff practice that adage on a daily basis, by giving the individuals in all of our programs a chance at a better life. Thank You for that.

Stay safe, and continue to follow our “Safe In All Settings” protocols. They really are working!

With continued gratitude,

Herb Hoelter, CEO