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July 11,  2014

Project Search coming to Columbia! Would you like to be part of an international movement that is changing the face of employment for youth with developmental disabilities? 

Project SEARCH is a business-led collaboration that enables young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration! This one year, high school transition program provides training and education leading to employment for individuals with disabilities.  Project SEARCH programs occur on-site at host businesses. Each student applies to the program and is accepted through a selection committee process.  Student interns learn marketable and transferable job skills that will lead them to competitive, integrated employment.  There are 235 active Project SEARCH programs internationally with an average success rate of 68% job placement within three months of graduation.

The Arc of the Midlands in partnership with the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department and Lexington School District 1 has been awarded a grant through the South Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council to develop a Project Search site in the Columbia area.   We are currently seeking a large organization – such as bank, hospital, or university/technical school – to host the program.  If you have a recommendation or contact for a potential host site or are interested in serving as an advisory or committee member with the Columbia Project SEARCH program, please contact  

Congress Passes Bill Limiting Sheltered Workshop Eligibility
Article from Disability Scoop

A bill that would significantly limit young people with disabilities from entering sheltered workshop programs is headed to President Barack Obama’s desk.  The U.S. House of Representatives voted 415 to 6 Wednesday to approve the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Included in the bill are major changes to the path from school to work for those with disabilities.   Specifically, the measure would prohibit individuals age 24 and younger from working jobs that pay less than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour unless they first try vocational rehabilitation services, among other requirements.

What’s more, the legislation would require state vocational rehabilitation agencies to work with schools to provide “pre-employment transition services” to all students with disabilities. And, such agencies must allocate a minimum of 15 percent of their federal funding to help individuals with disabilities in transition under the measure.   While the bill mandates that most young people try competitive employment before they could work for less than minimum wage, there are exceptions for those deemed ineligible for vocational rehabilitation and to allow individuals already earning so-called subminimum wage to continue to do so.  The measure, which was approved by the U.S. Senate last month, is now on its way to the White House and Obama said he will sign it.  “This bipartisan compromise will help workers, including workers with disabilities, access employment, education, job-driven training and support services that give them the chance to advance their careers and secure the good jobs of the future,” Obama said in a statement.

The workforce bill is the product of years of negotiation on Capitol Hill and was approved with broad bipartisan support.   U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who spearheaded the components of the legislation specific to people with disabilities, called the changes “groundbreaking” and said they will “raise prospects and expectations for Americans with disabilities so that they receive the skills and training necessary to succeed in competitive, integrated employment.”   Nonetheless, the issue of submininum wage remains highly contentious within the disability community, with some advocates arguing the legislation does not go far enough while others say moving away from sheltered workshops may simply leave people with disabilities fewer options for meaningful daytime activity.

Sign-up for a Webinar Focusing on Victimized Children with I/DD

How would you help child victims with disabilities? What interview techniques could be improved upon when children with disabilities are being questioned? Join the MECP and The Arc’s National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability on Wednesday, July 16 for an informative webinar entitled “Protecting Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities”. Topics in this webinar will include types of violence, risk factors for violence and signs of possible victimization among children with disabilities. Register now to learn how to effectively serve child victims.

Home Training for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders   Jeff Noble is Founder and CEO of ‘Noble Initiatives 2014’, that through presentations and online applications,, provides hope and education to people caring for someone living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). He talks about his own career and life with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and about his becoming the foster parent of a young man with a FASD, and how this changed his own life. He discusses the challenges that FASD creates for family caregivers caring for children, teenagers, and adults. He explains how his training programs help family caregivers caring at home for family members overcome the challenges they experience with FASD their family members are living with. He says what more he would like to do and see done by healthcare and social systems to help in the training of family caregivers. He shares his message for family caregivers embedded in his slogan ‘FASD is forever, frustration is not’.  Access/Download Program

Other Arc Midlands Sponsored Programs:

Kick It Karate a free 12 week introductory white belt program for adults and children with special needs.
Mixed Greens is an awesome community gardens and projects group with fun and inclusive activities to be scheduled throughout the year
Walk with Ease – is about getting people in the community together to promote and increase physical activity and build new friendships. The program includes people with and without developmental and intellectual disabilities that walk with one another. It’s a great way for people to meet friends and stay active!  We offer structured 18 week programs onsite (schools and residential settings) and weekly Saturday walks.

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Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN)Recently Reviewed and/or Revised Directives and Policies:

  • 735-02-DD: Relatives Serving as Paid Providers of Respite Services
  • 700-06-DD: State Funded Case Management 
  • 100-30-DD: Eligibility Criteria, Screening, and Intake 
  • 736-01-DD: Relatives Serving as Paid Caregivers
  • 300-03-DD: Annual Certification of Electrical /Mechanical Systems
The Arc of the Midlands 218-B East Main Street, Lexington, South Carolina 29072
Phone: 803-693-5746  |  Contact Us