Dear Fellow Staff—

It’s hard to believe, but we are eleven months into this deadly global pandemic and NCIA is still going strong. We are basically “holding our own” with COVID-19 virus. We have three houses still on “outbreak” status, but our staff are following our “Safe In All Settings” protocols and our individual incidents are still in the single digits. With a workforce of almost 500 people, this continues to make me hopeful our NCIA family will continue to endure and we will get through this crazy time together.

One of the other reasons I am hopeful is the incredible efforts by the staff in our Human Resources Department in getting our staff and individuals vaccinated. We had two more clinics this week at our Career Development Center, and an additional fifty people got their first dose of the vaccine. Between our clinics and the persistent efforts of our Adult Residential Services staff, we now have gotten over 300 individuals, staff and supporters vaccinated in the past month. And with the determination of our H/R leadership, there is hopefully more to come!

A number of our programs have had a busy week. Perhaps one of the busiest has been our Business Services crews. Our “A Team” snow removal crew has been in constant motion. Between the snow and the ice, they have been plowing and salting the entire week, and the weather predictions are for continued challenging conditions. Vanessa Harrison and her team have been relentless at fulfilling our contract work, as well as keeping the sidewalks at our homes safe. In fact, because of their excellent work, they have been asked to take on an additional fourteen commercial sites and two parking lots.  Keep it up!

Our Vocational Training Centers also had a busy week. In Baltimore, we have over 130 students enrolled for our next cohort and are going through orientation. In Charlotte, over 30 students graduated with their industry-recognized certifications in HVAC, automotive repair and commercial driver’s licenses. Graduates included one student in a wheelchair who had lost both his legs in an automobile accident who graduated from our automotive class and had obtained employment. Also, just prior to graduation day, five students from our CDL class passed their driving test and obtained their license. You can watch the graduation on you tube by clicking here.  https://youtu.be/3xFS5q4mB6M?t=14.

Stephen Cooke, who leads our Communication efforts, was also busy this week. He represented NCIA on a virtual Developmental Disability Day with the Maryland State Legislature. He is also leading the effort to update our Vocational Training Center website, as well as keeping our NCIA website current. Please forward our website to family and friends to show them the great work we are doing!  www.ncianet.org.

The compassion and commitment by our NCIA staff continue to make our programs exceptional. I am reminded of a quote by the poet, author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Keep up the great work, stay safe and keep wearing your masks.