Dear Fellow Staff—
I want to begin by thanking each of you for following my direction in last week’s update and adhering to NCIA’s “Safe In All Settings” protocols this week! I am happy to report that we had NO new COVID-19 cases this week and anticipate that two of our houses will come off quarantine. That leaves one house, which we also hope will come off this week. So thank you and keep it up! The protocols really do work to keep you, your families and our individuals safe.
Our programs are continuing to be very busy, and our Youth In Transition School begins a new school year, albeit virtually, on Monday. Despite the pandemic, we have accepted a number of new referrals and our leadership team and staff have done an incredible job at putting together a curriculum and distance learning lesson plans for our students. NCIA purchased Chromebooks for every student to use in their home environment, and our teachers, classroom aides and social workers are all excited about returning to work and doing what they do best—educating and motivating our students. They recognize the challenges we are all facing, but are certainly up to the task!
Our Business Services Department, led by Vanessa Harrison, continues their great work. Despite being only five years old, they are now working on 18 contracts which total over $3 million dollars per year. We have maintained these contracts throughout this pandemic, and our work crews have diligently followed our protocols in the community.
Our HJH Vocational Training Centers also continue to grow. Our programs in Baltimore and Charlotte have received contract renewals for 2021, and we have been awarded additional contracts to expand and open up additional programs in Raleigh and Philadelphia. All told, we will train over 600 individuals next year. With a 70% employment rate for our graduates, that’s a lot of lives we are changing!
One of the challenges we are facing in our Adult Residential Services Department is our continuing development of a meaningful day program both for those individuals living in our homes and also those who live with other providers but were attending our Career Development Center. Our YIT School staff have been extremely helpful to our ARS leadership team in providing guidance. This reflects the benefit of NCIA operating diverse programs and working together to benefit all of our clients.
On the administrative front, open enrollment for our benefits ends this week, so make sure and sign up! We believe we have put together an excellent benefit package for our employees without a major increase in employee contribution. Please contact our HR Department with any questions.
I would like to close by congratulating a member of our Board of Directors, Andrew Hunt. Andy is a real estate builder and developer in Nottingham, England and has been on our Board of Directors for seven years. In addition to his real estate work, Andy is also one of the owners of the Wilds Lodge School, a private boarding school and educational program for special education students and students who are unable to reside in the community. His school recently won Boarding School of the year in all of the United Kingdom. The lead Judge of the competition said: “This is a small school making a large difference to the families it is working with. What staff do to support these children is not celebrated enough.” NCIA is honored to have Board members like Andy guiding us in our mission.
Hoping for a safe week. Keep up the great work!
With continuing gratitude—
Herb Hoelter, Co-Founder and CEO