The Six by '15 Campaign is a national effort to achieve and exceed six major goals in Employment, Community Living, Education, Transition, Healthy Living, and Early Childhood to improve the lives of persons with disabilities and their families across the country.
2015 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These anniversaries are the perfect opportunity for advocates across the country to get involved and continue manifesting the vision for America these groundbreaking policies put forward. The Six by '15 Campaign is intended to: "Honor the legacy of our past and help build a new future by joining our effort to achieve six national goals by the end of 2015."
As part of its endorsement, The Arc Maryland plans to advocate and contribute to each of the six goals as follows:
Six million working age adults with disabilities will be part of in the American workforce
In March of 2014, 4.67 million people with disabilities participated in the labor force nationwide. Currently, about 157,150 working age adults with disabilities are part of the workforce in Maryland, compared to 2,575,990 of those employed without disabilities. By the end of 2015, The Arc Maryland will advocate and educate employers in our communities to raise that number to at least 175,000. To that end, we will advocate to secure commitments from our state's new governor and at least one mayor or county executive to increase the diversity of their public sector workforces by hiring more workers with disabilities. In the Private Sector, we will seek commitments from CEOs and other employers in our communities to increase their companies’ efforts to recruit, hire and retain employees with disabilities.
At least six states will elect to implement the Community First Choice Option so that their Medicaid recipients with disabilities have access to long-term services and supports in the community
The Affordable Care Act included a new Medicaid option for states called Community First Choice. States that take up the option can provide home and community-based services without a waiver or waiting list and receive increased federal financial support for the services. By the end of 2015, we will advocate and collaborate with partner organizations to get approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to fully implement and expand awareness about the Community First Choice Option in Maryland.
At least six additional states have at least 60 percent of their students with disabilities graduating with a regular high school diploma
A high school diploma is the key to success in the modern economy. Maryland currently graduates 60% of its students with disabilities with regular diplomas, and we want to exceed this goal by reaching 70% in 2015. We will work together with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to help schools in our state graduate more students with disabilities on time with high school diplomas by the end of 2015.
At least six states commit to supporting successful and outcome-based programs and strategies for high school transition services and closing the labor force participation gaps for youth and young adults with disabilities
The Arc Maryland will commit to supporting internships, scholarships, and other evidence based services to help youth with disabilities to transition from high school into higher education and employment. We will accomplish this goal through collaboration and change in educational systems, vocational rehabilitation agencies, and state partnerships with the private sector. The Arc Maryland will collaborate with partner organizations to close gaps in state employment outcomes for youth with disabilities, and increase opportunities for internships by expanding evidence-based programs like Project SEARCH (which is currently provided by local chapters of The Arc throughout the state). We will also seek to increase formal partnerships between transition services and the private sector by building relationships with employers and creating opportunities for transitioning youth to find jobs they love that pay fair wages in their communities.
At least six states commit to including people with disabilities as an explicit target population in all state public health programs
In 2009 the New York State Department of Health Center for Community Health adopted a policy that all public health programs must explicitly include children and adults with disabilities and their families as a target population in health promotion efforts. As a result, all programs must discuss the importance of people with disabilities in the project and all applicants for grant funding must describe how they will include people with disabilities in their programs. New York was the first state to take on such a policy of deliberate inclusion and targeting of people with disabilities similar to other minority groups in health promotion and chronic disease management and prevention efforts. The Arc Maryland will advocate with the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to take this step in Maryland and build a more inclusive public health system in our state by the end of 2015.
At least six states increase by 15 percent the proportion of children ages 0-3 who receive recommended developmental screening
An estimated 17% of children in the US have a developmental or behavioral disability like intellectual disability or autism, but less than half of children with these disabilities are identified before starting school. Early identification connects children with disabilities to services so they can start school ready to learn. By the end of 2015, The Arc Maryland will work together with partner organizations to increase the current rate of developmental screening for children ages 0-3 by 15 percent.
The Arc Maryland is honored to be a part of the Six by '15 Campaign, and we look forward to celebrating the spirit of the 40th anniversary of IDEA and the 25th anniversary of the ADA in 2015 by getting involved with this national initiative, in line with our organization's mission to: "Work to create a world where children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities have and enjoy equal rights and opportunities."