Dear Fellow Staff,

It continues to be hard to believe, but NCIA has now come through week 18 of the COVID-19 pandemic. That is over four and a half months, and NCIA and all of our staff continue to make progress. We are now opening cautiously, conducting trainings following all safety protocols and having virtual meetings—even though we are in the same building. As we continue to move forward, remember that we got this far safely because we are following our “Safe In All Settings” campaign and by wearing our protective gear, washing our hands and practicing social distancing. We continue to have no clients or individuals who have tested positive this week—simply amazing!

Our programs continue to operate and develop new and innovative strategies for serving our clients during this unsettling time. We are truly fortunate to have programs that can learn from each other’s experiences. The distance learning strategy developed in our Vocational Training Centers helped lead the way for our Youth In Transition School students, which in turn assisted in the development of the daily home-bound activities for the individuals in our Adult Residential Services. Truly a total NCIA team approach!

The same coordination efforts applied to our graduation efforts. As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, our YIT School staff had drive-up ceremonies for our graduating students and their families; this week our first VTC completion ceremonies were held in Charlotte using our safety protocols and was live-streamed so everyone could participate. We especially wanted to recognize the tremendous efforts put in by these students to complete the certification requirements in their respective fields in the midst of a pandemic. If you want to view these ceremonies please contact Stephen Cooke, NCIA’s Marketing Communications Specialist.

NCIA’s entrepreneurial spirit is evident in both our administrative and program development efforts. While the COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered many social service agencies, we have continued to serve our individuals. The Business Services Team managed to win a large contract ($2.2 million) to provide custodial services to the brand new Catonsville District Court Complex scheduled to open right when the pandemic surfaced. The team is now operational and providing services to the Courthouse, providing new jobs to people with disabilities. Our H/R Department has developed new virtual training seminars, our Compliance Department has developed procedures which are being replicated by other programs and our Communication efforts are lauded by both our staff and other agencies. Please keep following our website for up-to-date information.

Moving forward, we are all hoping for continued progress in our battle against this virus, but we must understand that this race is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash. We need to pace ourselves and follow our game plan—enforce our protocols, respect each other’s safety and continue to do what we do best—maintain a commitment to all the individuals we serve.

As always, with continued gratitude,

Herb Hoelter

Chief Executive Officer