May 10, 2020

Dear Fellow Staff:

Another week of the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us and we continue to move forward and make progress. Our staff at all levels are doing a fantastic job, and each of our programs is following policies and procedures to keep both staff and individuals safe. And I am pleased to report it’s working! However, I do want to shout out a word of caution. With all the talk about re-opening and easing restrictions, we cannot let our guard down. This virus will still be around for months to come, so please keep following safety procedures, both at home and in the workplace.

In Adult Residential Services, as of today, our remaining two COVID homes have been evaluated by the Maryland Health Department and have been released from quarantine status. What a tribute to the staff who worked in these houses and followed all NCIA and CDC procedures to keep them safe. In case you have not seen them, our communications team has put a number of compliance videos on our website which are interesting and informative. Take a look! Additionally, supplies are finally starting to come in and we now have thermal scan (no contact) thermometers, full face protection, masks and gloves for all staff. In our total work force we have had six staff test positive. From a total work force of almost 500 employees, that is quite an accomplishment.

Our Business Services and Career Development Program continue to move forward. Our CDP team is developing interesting daily activities for our individuals and Business Services continues to keep dozens employed on a daily basis.

Our Youth In Transition School received the word this week that it will remain closed through the end of this school year, which is mid-June. We are working on plans to have a virtual graduation, and somehow recognize the ten graduates who will complete their studies this year.

NCIA’s Vocational Training Centers in Baltimore and Charlotte have developed incredible models of distance learning that may perhaps translate into new opportunities to train jail inmates who may be due for release in the near future, which could give them a leg up in finding employment when they return to the community. Additionally, our Baltimore VTC is piloting a limited “hands-on” training curriculum at our downtown location, using appropriate safety equipment and procedures.

Looking back at where we were nine weeks ago when we realized the potential impact of COVID-19, I am incredibly proud of our response and where we are today. Our staff and programs responded immediately, and the teamwork and efforts by all have been impressive. We kept 95% of our staff working, and we have worked tirelessly to ensure all of the individuals served by NCIA programs continued, albeit in a different environment. One of the main ingredients throughout our efforts has been the individual personal touches by our staff that makes every day special for our individuals. They know they are valued, and that our NCIA family truly cares about them. Keep it up!

With continued gratitude,

Herb Hoelter

Chief Executive Officer